Cooper MacNeil (Hinsdale, Ill.) will join Porsche Factory drivers Laurens Vanthoor (Belgium) and Earl Bamber (New Zealand) for the 24 Hours of Le Mans to run Aug. 21-22 at the Circuit de la Sarthe in Le Mans, France.
The duo brings a wealth of Le Mans experience with Bamber having five starts, three podiums, and two overall LMP1 wins for Porsche in 2015 and 2017. Vanthoor boasts five starts and a GTE PRO win in a Porsche in 2018. MacNeil will make his eighth start and has two third-place finishes at the twice-around-the-clock race in France.
“I really like our lineup for Le Mans,” MacNeil said. “We have, what I would call, a mature Le Mans lineup. Between the three of us, we have 17 starts at Le Mans. That is a lot of miles and experience around that place. The WeatherTech Racing Porsche 911 RSR has been strong in IMSA with our win at Sebring as well as two good performances in the European Le Mans Series highlighted by a fourth place two weeks ago at Paul Ricard. The Proton Competition guys know the track and race really well in France. I am looking forward to running my eighth Le Mans.”
Bamber missed Le Mans in 2020 but is ready to return to one of his favourite circuits.
“I am really excited to head back to Le Mans this year,” Bamber said. “After missing the event in 2020, I can’t wait to get back to one of my favorite tracks in the world. I am also looking forward to joining Cooper and Laurens for the event. I have followed Cooper for years in the IMSA Championship and to see him get his first overall GTLM victory at the Sebring 12 hours this year was awesome. I hope we can achieve similar things this year at Le Mans. Porsche has always been strong at Le Mans and with the support that Porsche AG brings I am sure we will have a strong package for the race.”
Vanthoor is looking forward to the biggest race of the year.
“Le Mans is always the highlight of the year as it is the biggest race we have on the calendar,” Vanthoor said. “I have a lot of experience driving with Earl over the years. I haven’t teamed up with Cooper yet, but I’ve seen him race and have heard a lot of good things about him. With the 911 RSR, we had our first race with the new car there last year and we had some small new car type issues. I expect this year it will be very good based upon what we learned from 2020. The car has been really strong in the WEC this season. I think we have a good chance to do something really nice in the race. I am looking forward to working with Cooper, Earl, and the Proton Competition guys to hopefully get a trophy.”
The Le Mans weekend will kickoff with scrutineering at the track Aug. 13-14, with the cars hitting the track for test day on Sunday, Aug. 15. Free practice and qualifying will run on Wednesday, Aug. 18, with more free practice and the Hyperpole session on Thursday. The race will start on Saturday, Aug. 21 at 4 p.m. CET.
Next on the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship schedule is the Sahlen’s Six Hours of The Glen, June 24-27.
Source. Kyle Chura/WeatherTech Racing