WATKINS GLEN, N.Y. (July 2, 2017) – WeatherTech Racing drivers Cooper MacNeil (Hinsdale, Ill.), Gunnar Jeannette (Salt Lake City, Utah) and Shane van Gisbergen (New Zealand) finished fourth in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship GTD class for Sunday’s Sahlen’s Six Hours of The Glen at Watkins Glen International.
MacNeil started from the eighth row on the GTD grid and early on he knew the car was not handling well. He reported the car being loose. Unfortunately, this condition put the No. 50 WeatherTech Mercedes-AMG GT3 down a lap early into the six hour race. On lap 28, MacNeil brought the Mercedes to pit lane for fuel, tires and that’s when Jeannette took over.
“Early on, the car was pretty bad,” MacNeil said. “It was super loose when I was in the car.”
Jeannette spent most of his first two stints fighting to get the lap back. He finally got it back following a wave around after the race’s second caution. This put him on the lead lap to start his third consecutive stint. Not only did he get the team’s lap back, but from there, he drove the No. 50 Mercedes into the top 10 before handing it over to van Gisbergen.
“For Cooper’s start, the car was pretty nasty,” Jeannette said. “We were just holding onto it [the car] hoping the track would get better and help us out. And, it did. The longer the track continued to rubber in, the better it got for us.
“I got our lap back and we were in 10th. The car was getting better and better. At that point, I knew that maybe we didn’t have a shot to win. In terms of ultimate speed, we were still more than half a second off the fastest lap time. But, the car was pretty good. The guys did everything right in the pits. The rain held out.”
“When Gunnar got in, he also said the car was loose,” MacNeil said. “I’m glad our feedback matched. Then, the car got better as the temperatures fell off and the car came to us.”
On lap 102, van Gisbergen started his triple stint in 10th place with just under three hours remaining. Late in the race, he pushed the WeatherTech Mercedes to its absolute limits, running some of the fastest lap times of the day. This put him fourth with about 10 minutes remaining and with a legitimate shot at a podium finish. In fact, he had the third place car in his sights, just a little more than one second in front of him. Unfortunately, he simply ran out of time and finished fourth.
“It was good,” van Gisbergen said of his triple stint. “That was the best the car was all weekend. It got better and better every stint I did. And, I got more comfortable. I’m pretty happy with what we got [fourth].”
“Shane did a pretty darn good job there at the end,” MacNeil said. “He ran clean, consistent laps. After starting 15th and finishing fourth, it feels good. I wish we were on the podium. But, this is my best finish at the Six Hours of The Glen. So, I’ll take it.
“Our finish is good for Mercedes. Obviously, Gunnar and I are not in it in terms of drivers’ points. But, if we can help out Mercedes, it’s good for the whole team.”
“Obviously, the 33 car had a couple of issues and the 75 car wasn’t really out there fighting for anything either,” Jeanette said. “So, it was nice for us to be out there flying the Mercedes-AMG flag and to get them some solid manufacturer’s points.”
Canadian Tire Motorsports Park is the next stop on the IMSA WeatherTech Sports Car Championship schedule and the Mobil 1 Sportscar Grand Prix July 7 – 9.