TAVARES, Fla. (Sept. 30, 2015) - Cooper MacNeil, Leh Keen and Andrew Davis are ready for the TUDOR United SportsCar Championship season finale Petit Le Mans to run at Road Atlanta Saturday, Oct. 3.
MacNeil (Hinsdale, Ill.), Keen (Charleston, S.C.) and Davis (Atlanta) are poised to finish the TUDOR Championship season on the GTD podium at this weekend's 10-hour Petit Le Mans classic. The trio, with New Zealander, Shane van Gisbergen finished second in the opening race of the season at Daytona. Going through a tough year trying to get the Porsche 911 GT America to compete with the latest FIA GT3 cars in the TUDOOR GTD field proved a handful. The trio hopes that 10-hours of racing and the Alex Job Racing knack for managing long distance races will work to their favor on Saturday.
"We are going into Petit looking for a win," MacNeil said. "We have had a pretty tough year by our standards, so a strong run this weekend will send us into the off season and into the new Porsche GT3 car with a lot of motivation for Daytona in four-months. Petit is 10-hours and a lot can happen. We finished second there a couple of years ago, so the three of us are now looking for the top step. We finished second at Daytona in January, I would like to bookend the season standing on the top of the GTD podium. If we can do that we have a possibility of finishing in the top three in season ending points."
Keen wants to close out the year on a high note.
"We are going to Petit with a bit of a 'nothing to lose' attitude," Keen said. "We aren't really in the championship hunt anymore, but a really good race could get us into the top three for the end of the season. So really just going 'all in' for a win at Petit. Road Atlanta is very high speed with walls always lurking. The Esses and Turn 12 are extremely treacherous and tricky. There is also some lower speed stuff that you have to deal with too. It's one of my favorite tracks in the country and it's my home track. I have had some strong runs at Petit with Alex Job. And the best we have finished together is second. So really trying to one better ourselves from that run. It's the last race of the season and we would like to end on a good note. We have rung everything out of a GT3 Cup car and we are really ready for the big upgrade to the GT3R next year."
Davis is ready for his home race.
"I'm very excited to be rejoining Cooper and Leh once again in the No. 22 AJR WeatherTech Racing Porsche," Davis said. "On a personal level, it's always special to race in front of my home crowd at Road Atlanta. Petit Le Mans is a very challenging race, and I'm very fortunate to have quite a bit of past experience at the event. I'm looking forward to using that experience to help the team finish out the season on top of the podium. Driving a Porsche 911 around Road Atlanta is a special experience. The long back straight certainly allows us to stretch the legs of the 4.0 liter engine, but the car also performs well in the fast sweeping corners. Both Porsche and Alex Job Racing have seen success at Road Atlanta, and I'm confident that we will optimize the set-up of our Porsche GT America and have a great handling race car. The race is 10-hours and can be a grueling event. The track conditions change quite a bit throughout the race, and wet weather often plays a major role. Traffic is intense as closing speeds can make things very difficult, especially at night. We will need to focus on mistake free stints, and keeping the car in good form for the battle in the waning hours of the race. In 2001, I scored my first professional podium with a second place finish in LMP 675 driving for Archangel Motorsports."
Alex Job, team owner, knows how to navigate long races.
"Petit Le Mans is a tough race," Job said. "A lot can happen around the 2.5-mile, 12-turn Road Atlanta circuit and usually does. Strategy plays a strong role, but we will need to get to the darkness on the lead lap and then we will go to work on strategy. Cooper, Leh and Andrew are motivated to do one better than Daytona, our best finish this year, this weekend."
The TUDOR Championship Petit Le Mans from Road Atlanta will be televised on Fox Sports 2 from 11 a.m. to 12 p.m. ET, on IMSA.com from 12 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. and back to Fox Sports 2 from 2:30 p.m. to 7 p.m. Back to IMSA.com for an hour then back to Fox Sports 2 for the finish from 8:20 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. Qualifying on Friday can be viewed at IMSA.com starting at 2:30 p.m. on Friday.