Cooper MacNeil (Hinsdale, Ill.), Alessandro Balzan (Italy), and Jeff Westphal (San Mateo, Calif.) won the GTD Class in today’s running of the IMSA WeatherTech Championship Motul Petit Le Mans at Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta.
At the drop of the green Westphal drove the No. 63 WeatherTech Racing Ferrari 488 Evo into the GTD lead. From that point forward, save for getting hit by the Mazda DPi twice, the WeatherTech Racing trio ran solid stints keeping the red, white, and blue Ferrari in the top five all race.
WeatherTech racing drivers MacNeil, Westphal, and Balzan all put in fast stints to keep the Scuderia Corsa prepared Ferrari at the front. It wasn’t without some drama. Three hours in MacNeil was in the car and when he had side-to-side contact with the No. 77 Mazda DPi. The damage was minimal except for a slightly askew steering wheel. The second time, Balzan was hit by the same car three hours later. Again, no significant damage and they didn’t have to pit out of sequence. At the end it was Westphal who made the last pass within the last hour of the race to bring the WeatherTech Ferrari home for the win.
“It is was a real team effort today,” Westphal said. “Cooper and Ale did a great job all race keeping the car at front of the field. I just happened to be the one that closed it out at the end. The Scuderia Corsa guys had the WeatherTech Ferrari hooked-up at the end. They put the car into a window where it would be good when it got cold at night. The colder it got, the better the car got. It was a pleasure to drive. A great win for the team!”
“The team gave me the tool, a great car to fight with and that is what I did,” MacNeil said. “Hats off to the team for working hard all weekend. We thought we would be good off of the trailer because we had a good car for the six-hour last month. Boy were we wrong. We had to work on it. The Scuderia Corsa guys didn’t complain about anything we wanted them to do, which was a fair amount of work. Thanks to them for keeping at it and working hard. It was up to us to execute as well as them to perform on pit stops. We had some contact with some prototypes, but that is multi-class racing so that kind of thing happens. I am pretty stoked to get my second Petit Le Mans win.”
“I would like to dedicate the win to Nina my girlfriend, her dad passed away a few months ago,” Balzan said. “I am so grateful for David and Cooper MacNeil of WeatherTech to put me back in the car. It is my 40th birthday today, so that is a nice gift. This is one of the few endurance race wins that I was missing. An amazing job by the Scuderia Corsa team to work on the set-up since free practice one. The car was amazing. We kept the rear tires on it, and it was a great run and a great win!”
The IMSA WeatherTech Championship with travel to WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca for the penultimate round of the season to run October 30-November 1.