Bolingbrook, ILL., (Jan. 24, 2017) - WeatherTech Racing drivers Cooper MacNeil (Hinsdale, Ill.), Gunnar Jeannette (Salt Lake City, Utah), Shane van Gisbergen (New Zealand), and Thomas Jäger (Germany) are confident that the No. 50 WeatherTech Racing Mercedes-AMG GT3 is the best tool for the job for this weekend's 55th running of the Rolex 24 Hour At Daytona.
The team was handed a balance of performance (B.O.P.) adjustment following the Roar Before the 24 test three weeks ago. The air to the V8 engine will be restricted by 1.5mm. This will certainly affect the top speed of the black and white Mercedes on the high-banks of the World Center of Racing.
"This will be the first race for our brand new Mercedes-AMG GT3 on U.S. soil in IMSA competition and on Continental tires," MacNeil said. "It will be a long and tough race, but I know our Mercedes will be very strong. We have had three successful tests at Daytona with the new car and have learned a lot. The Riley guys have been working flat-out to get the car dialed in and I am grateful for all of their hard work. IMSA has changed the minimum drive time rule for us by adding one hour, totaling five now. I'm excited to do one more stint in the car than I did last year because the Mercedes is so nice to drive. I can't wait to see the green flag fly on Saturday."
"I'm hoping we'll be in decent shape for the 24 Hour," Jeannette said. "We just got handed a 1.5mm smaller restrictor which is something we haven't run yet so that's obviously less than ideal for our first race, but I know our team and drivers will be up to the task. I'm certainly looking forward to the great competition in GTD this year with 27 cars on the grid. A 24-hour race is always hard on you both physically and mentally. With four drivers it's a bit easier than at Le Mans with only three, but you still never feel like you've gotten enough rest between stints. By the end of the race you're normally pretty beat up. Especially since Daytona is the first race of the season, you don't have the chance to fine tune your seating position to make it 100% comfortable yet. By the end of this race you always know what you want to change! Hopefully it's made easier with a new Rolex our wrist. For the last week I've been helping out with Michelin's new Pilot Sport 4S launch out in Palm Springs. It's been great to be a part of the event and drive cars like the Mercedes AMG GTS, the road-going version of our AMG GT3."
"It is difficult to judge, at the moment, how the Mercedes will fare at Daytona as there was a B.O.P. change this week," Jäger said. "With the latest changes we might have a lack of top speed and it will be difficult to overtake. However, the Mercedes-AMG GT3 is a very reliable endurance car and that´s why I am optimistic for the race. After my drive time I like to use the rest time for recovery, drink, eat, relax and sleep to be in good shape for the next stint."
"The WeatherTech Mercedes has been solid in testing," van Gisbergen said. "The car is very reliable and easy to drive. All four drivers are similar in speed and this is a big thing for us to have a consistent race pace. I have studied last year's race and I'm feeling good heading into the race this year. It will be my fourth Daytona 24, so I have some experience at the race now and I know how to approach the weekend. As a driver it's hard to get enough rest throughout the 24-hours. Mainly because you want to know how your car is going while you're not in it. For me 24-hour racing is quite enjoyable, working as a team over such a long period. Never has ther been a smooth 24-hours. Something always happens, but we have a great team to overcome just about anything."
IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship 55th Rolex 24 At Daytona broadcast schedule (All Times Eastern):
FOX - LIVE - Saturday, Jan. 28 - 2 pm to 5 pm. (Race starts at 2:30 p.m.)
FS2 - LIVE - Saturday, Jan. 28 - 5 pm to 10 pm.
FS2 - LIVE - Saturday, Jan. 28 - 11 pm to 12:30 pm Sunday, Jan. 29.
FS1 - LIVE - Sunday, Jan. 29 - 12:30 pm to 3:00 pm.
FOX Sports GO - LIVE - 2 pm Saturday, Jan. 28 to 3 pm Sunday, Jan. 29.
IMSA.com - LIVE - Saturday, Jan. 28, 2:30 pm - Sunday, Jan. 29, 2:30 pm (*Outside the United States only)