Le Mans, France (June 15, 2017) – WeatherTech Racing drivers Cooper MacNeil (Hinsdale, Ill.), Bill Sweedler (Westport, Ct.) and Townsend Bell (San Luis Obispo, Calif.) will start the 24 Hours of Le Mans from third in GTE-Am Saturday at the Circuit de le Sarthe.
Once again the No. 62 WeatherTech Racing Ferrari 488 GTE-Am ran flawlessly for four hours of practice this evening. MacNeil set a personal best lap time of 3:59.0 in the car prepared by Scuderia Corsa in the early going. Bell got in the car second and quickly set the qualifying mark for the team with a run of 3:54.576 at 9:20 p.m. CET around the 38-turn, 8.4-mile circuit. After a 30-minute break, the action on the track resumed with Bell back behind the wheel when he put in a lap time of 3:53.3 that had the team on the provisional pole position for the final session. Although it didn’t hold up and the team will start third, it is the best starting position for all three drivers in their Le Mans history.
“Qualifying went well,” Bell said. “We made our first change to the car to make it go quicker and that is exactly what it did tonight. It improved the balance and that made a small improvement, but around this long track that makes a big difference. Bill and Cooper did some strong laps and are comfortable in the car, which is what is important. To be starting third and the fastest Ferrari says a lot about our effort here this week.”
“Qualifying was good,” MacNeil said. “We are the fastest Ferrari like we were at the test. We are third in GTE-Am, a few tenths off of P1 is great. It is always good to be starting up front. That shows we have a solid pace. I ran the fastest lap I have run here in the four years I have raced at Le Mans so that makes me happy. We have the car, now we need a perfect trip.”
“The WeatherTech Racing team is really working well together,” Sweedler said. “Townsend put in a great lap in qualifying to put us up in third position. This is the best starting position we have ever had in three years racing here. Cooper and I had some strong laps tonight as well. This is the best position we have been in three years with all three guys ready to go. The driver parade is tomorrow and then it is game time on Saturday. We are ready!”
The WeatherTech Racing Ferrari will return to the track tomorrow at 6 CET for the second official practice for the 24 Hours of Le Mans to run June 17-18. The race starts Saturday, June 17 and air on Fox Sports 1 and FOX Sports 2 (all times ET): FS1: 8:30 a.m. to 10:00 a.m., FS2: 1:00 p.m. to 1:30 a.m., (June 18) FS1: 1:00 a.m. to 9:30 a.m. (June 18),
2017 Le Mans 24 Hours Schedule:
Friday, June 16
5:30–7:00: Drivers’ Parade – Le Mans downtown
Saturday, June 17
9:00 – 9:45: Warm-Up
3:00: 2017 Le Mans 24 Hours start
Sunday, June 18
3:00: 2017 Le Mans 24 Hours finish