Le Mans, France (June 18, 2017) – WeatherTech Racing drivers Cooper MacNeil (Hinsdale, Ill.), Bill Sweedler (Westport, Ct.) and Townsend Bell (San Luis Obispo, Calif.) are running fifth GTE-Am 12 hours into the 24 Hours of Le Mans at the Circuit de le Sarthe.
As night fell at 10:45 CET, Sweedler pitted the No. 62 WeatherTech Racing Ferrari 488 GTE-Am and Bell took over. The rhythm of the drivers is being interrupted by several slow zones, which require a speed of just 80km (50 mph). At night the WeatherTech Racing drivers are doing triple stints to maximize track time and allow the co-drivers to get maximum rest. Just past midnight, Bell had to pit out of sequence for a tire going down. The team made quick work to get him back into the fray, only to have the races first full course safety car period begin. Just before the half race distance MacNeil took over for a planned triple stint with the car running strong in fifth position.
“I had the stint that took us into dusk,” Sweedler said. “I was going to do a triple, but I just didn’t have the tires to do a full three runs. We are in the top five. We need to keep it clean. We need to go into the morning with all of the wings and splitters on the car and we will be looking good for a chance to fight once the sun comes up.”
“It is tough with the safety car,” Bell said. “The tires just pick-up some much stuff. I had a vibration that took a long time to get rid of, then you add fuel when you are triple stinting tires and that makes the car a handful. I was battling with the No. 55 car and I had a clean run on him and he closed the door and we had a little contact. Cooper is in the car now and so far no big problems.”
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 is airing 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:
Saturday, June 17
3:00: 2017 Le Mans 24 Hours start
Sunday, June 18
3:00: 2017 Le Mans 24 Hours finish