LONG BEACH, Calif. (April 7, 2017) – WeatherTech Racing drivers Cooper MacNeil (Hinsdale, Ill.) and Gunnar Jeannette (Salt Lake City, Utah) will start from the sixth row in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship GTD class for the BUBBA burger Sports Car Grand Prix at Long Beach.
MacNeil had the controls of the No. 50 WeatherTech Racing Mercedes-AMG GT3 for today’s late afternoon
15-minute qualifying session. Early in the session, he was in the top five on the speed charts. And, as the session wore on, he got faster. In fact, he set his fastest lap time of 1:20.363 on the final lap of the session.
“Normally as qualifying goes on, the track, the car, and the tires get hotter and more worn, and you usually go slower,” MacNeil said. “I didn’t have much practice this morning. I’ve had about 20 minutes [of total practice time] before I went qualifying. I’ve been here [at Long Beach] before, but I’m still learning how this car reacts to this track. So, I did the best I could with that learning curve in mind. I just kept pushing it more with each lap – methodically – because I didn’t want to push too hard in one corner, lose the car and crash, and then create unnecessary work for the guys.”
MacNeil like how the Mercedes-AMG GT3 performed in qualifying despite only having about 20 minutes of practice time today.
“I’m happy with how the Mercedes performed in qualifying today,” MacNeil said. “It handled really well and drove really smoothly. It did everything I wanted it to do. The Mercedes is adaptable to anything. It’s such a good car. It really does whatever we want it to do.”
“I think qualifying went well,” Jeannette said. “Cooper didn’t get a ton of time in the car in the first practice session. He went more than a second faster [in qualifying] than he did in the last practice session. So, I think he did a really great job. The GTD field is really strong. We’ll see how the race shakes out. Our Mercedes-AMG GT3 is in a really good place. I’m pretty happy with it. So, I think you’ll see us moving forward.”
Live race coverage of the IMSA WeatherTech Sports Car Championship Bubba burger Sports Car Grand Prix at Long Beach starts at 4 p.m. (ET) Saturday, April 8.