DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (Jan. 28, 2017) – WeatherTech Racing drivers Cooper MacNeil (Hinsdale, Ill.), Gunnar Jeannette (Salt Lake City, Utah), Shane van Gisbergen (New Zealand), and Thomas Jaeger (Germany) are currently running first in the GTD class at the 55th IMSA WeatherTech Sports Car Championship Rolex 24 At Daytona.
MacNeil had the controls of the No. 50 WeatherTeach Racing Mercedes-AMG GT3 to start the twice around the clock race. He started 24th on the GTD class grid and put in a solid double stint. In fact, he picked up 10 spots in first hour and a half of the race before handing the car over to teammate Jeannette.
“Things were pretty hectic out there,” MacNeil said. “But, it was good, tough, hard racing. These guys were pushing it right from the beginning. It’s good for the show. I had a clean stint. The car ran great. We didn’t have any issues. Overall, we moved up pretty well to start the race, but we still have a long way to go.”
Under caution on lap 56, Jeannette got in for what would be a double stint. Five laps after the race went green, he had the No. 50 WeatherTech machine firmly in the top five. But, he wasn’t done. He consistently continued to record fast lap times, which found the No. 50 Mercedes second in the GTD class just 100 laps into the race.
The race’s third full course caution came out on lap 103 for a crash involving the No. 8 PC car and No. 73 Porsche heading into the bus stop. Four laps later, Jeannette came to the pits for tires, fuel and a driver change. That’s when Jaeger got in.
“We had a solid stint there,” Jeannette said. “We just sort of consistently moved up. I had a great couple of restarts. Our car is strong. About half of the GTD field pulls away from us in a straight line. It’s kind of frustrating because you can actually get stuck behind cars that you are faster than. But, you can’t do anything because they pull out 10 lengths on you on the straights. We sort of knew that coming in with the change in the regs. So far our Mercedes-AMG GT3 is running great. Everyone on the crew is giving us good pit stops and we’re moving forward.”
On lap 107, Jaeger left pit lane and spent his entire stint pushing the No. 50 Mercedes-AMG GT3 to its limits because he had constant pressure from behind, while staying within striking distant of the GTD race lead. He was running second in class when he handed the reigns over to van Gisbergen on lap 133.
“I had to fight pretty hard because I had pressure from behind,” Jaeger said of his stint. “Also, some [slower] guys did not give way so I lost quite a lot of time. I had to go offline sometimes [to get around them]. I ruined my tires a little bit. The car was difficult to drive in the end. We’re lacking a lot of top speed, but we’re good at the exit of the corners so we can make a little bit of a gap and then survive on the straights. The car runs fine so far. So, hopefully, we can stay somewhere in the top three.”
Race fans can catch all of the door-to-door racing action FOX Sports 2 until 10 p.m. (ET) and then again from 11 p.m. (ET) to 1 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 29. Race coverage will continues on FOX Sports 1 at 1 p.m. through the end of the race.
The 55th Rolex 24 At Daytona gets underway at 2:30 p.m. (ET) Saturday, Jan. 28, with pre-race coverage on FOX starting at 2 p.m. (ET). FOX will carrying the first two and a half hours of the race before switching over to FOX Sports 2 from 5 to 10 p.m. (ET) and then again from 11 p.m. (ET) to 1 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 29. Race coverage will continue on FOX Sports 1 at 1 p.m. through the end of the race.
For more information on WeatherTech Racing, including race recaps, photos and team gear, please visit the newly designed team site at www.WeatherTechRacing.com.
For more information on WeatherTech Racing, including race recaps, photos and team gear, please visit the newly designed team site at www.WeatherTechRacing.com. The new team site can now be accessed on any device and is quicker, easier to navigate and features extensive photo galleries, videos, team updates and more.