WeatherTech Racing drivers Cooper MacNeil (Hinsdale, Ill.), Toni Vilander (Kankaanpää, Finland), and Jeff Westphal (San Mateo, Calif.) were classified ninth at the finish of today’s running of the IMSA WeatherTech Championship TireRack.com Grand Prix at Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta.
The team rebounded from a tough day yesterday with the Scuderia Corsa crew working through the tuning issues on the WeatherTech Racing Ferrari 488 Evo.
Westphal took the start of the six-hour race and was challenged at the beginning with an incident on the front straight as he took the green flag. He was able to get through without damage to the car. He drove the red, white and blue WeatherTech Racing Ferrari into the top three by the end of his stint. MacNeil and Vilander put in strong stints to keep the car in the top five. With just 15-minutes remaining Vilander had an incident going through the fast Esses and went off track hitting an Acura DPi. The damage to the car was too much for the Finn to bring it back to pit lane. The team was classified in ninth place.
“Even though we were noticeably down on overall pace, especially on the straights we were in a good position for the finish,” Vilander said. “In my last stint I had some handling issues and then coming through the fast Esses things got crazy in a group of DPi cars and I went off. It is a tough end of the day when it looked like we were going to have a top five finish and then to end up parked and getting towed back is tough. The Scuderia Corsa crew worked hard on the WeatherTech Ferrari and they deserved a better result.”
“It was looking like we overcame our difficult day on Friday,” MacNeil said. “The Scuderia Corsa guys worked hard and we had a good handling car for the race. I had a couple of good stints, no real drama. Jeff and Toni did strong runs as well and I thought we had a solid top five run going. Then the incident in the Esses. I guess you just chalk that up to that’s racing. Now we need to get ready for Le Mans in two weeks.”
“The No. 63 WeatherTech Racing Ferrari was handling really, really well today,” Westphal said. “That’s probably the best balance I’ve ever had in the car. We were just really hurting in straight line speed. It was pretty apparent from the start of the weekend that we didn’t have the pace on the straightaway. In the race it was extremely challenging because everyone could just pull out and drive around us and even in a draft, we couldn’t do anything with it. We executed well and I’m proud of the team for taking the car that probably shouldn’t have been able to finish fourth and driving it up there until we got taken out.”
The team will now focus its efforts on the 24 Hours of Le Mans to run September 19-20. The IMSA WeatherTech Championship will return to competition at the Mid-Ohio SportsCar Course September 25-27.
Source. Kyle Chura/WeatherTech Racing