BOWMANVILLE, Ontario, Canada (July 8, 2017) – WeatherTech Racing drivers Cooper MacNeil and Gunnar Jeannette
will start from the sixth row in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship GTD class for Sunday’s Mobil 1 SportsCar Grand Prix at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park.
Under partly cloudy skies and temperatures near 70 degrees, MacNeil qualified the No. 50 WeatherTech Racing Mercedes-AMG GT3 11th after turning a lap of 1:17.959 around the 2.459-mile, 10-turn undulating road course.
“A huge thank you and hats off to the Riley crew guys – not only the No. 50 guys, but the No. 33 guys who stayed late last night fixing the car from the wreck yesterday,” MacNeil said. “They did a pretty darn good job to get us out for the last practice this morning. Gunnar started and unfortunately we had a couple of red flags so I only got 13 timed laps before I had to qualify the car. Qualifying was decent. I pushed the car as hard as I thought I could take. We ended up doing OK. It was a respectable time based on not having much of a practice so far this weekend.
“Tomorrow looks like a rain race. So that means qualifying really doesn’t mean anything. It’s just about making it through Turns 1 and 2, and then staying clean for the entire race. If the rain comes, great. If not, then we’ll have a good clean race in the dry.”
The Riley Motorsports crew worked through the night and into the early morning hours to repair the heavily damaged No. 50 Mercedes in an effort to get it ready for this morning’s 9 a.m. practice and subsequent qualifying. The crash damage was sustained after the No. 26 Prototype Challenge car making side-to-side contact with the right side of the No. 50 WeatherTech Mercedes in Turn 8 during Friday morning’s first practice session. The contact forced the No. 50 to slide along the tire wall and spin before coming to rest nose first into the tire wall. The Mercedes sustained significant damage that brought out the red flag and ended the team’s day. Jeannette, who was driving at the time, got out of the car under his own power.
“It was definitely a late night,” said Greg Jones, Riley Motorsports team manager. “It was a big effort by everybody. We got it [the car] out for this morning’s session. We didn’t miss any time there, so that was good. Sometimes we’re used to doing the ‘all nighter’ thing with the 24 hour races and stuff like that. But, this is a little different because it was constant work [from yesterday’s practice through today’s qualifying]. Then this morning, they [the crew] had to go right back at it [practice #3]. It’s not 24 hours. It’s going to be more like 36 hours – getting the car ready for qualifying today and the race prep that we have to do for tomorrow’s event to make sure we have a good quality car.
“Cooper just did qualifying and he says the car is good. So we’re happy with that. Now, we’ll go and see what we can do for the race.”
“All of the Riley crew members are freaking rock stars – both on the 50 and the 33,” Jeannette said. “When the 33 crew was done [with their car last night], they came over and helped us. A huge thank you to Riley Motorsports to get us at WeatherTech back out there. The car is pretty decent today. We missed a little bit of this morning’s practice with a brake issue that we found when we first went out. The guys got it figured out. I just wanted to do some laps and make sure everything was OK with the car. I also wanted to make sure Cooper got to drive it because he didn’t get any seat time yesterday.
“Cooper got up to speed really quick. He had a really good qualifying effort. All three Mercedes-AMGs are within three tenths of a second.”
The Mobil 1 Sports Car Grand Prix green flag waves at 12:05 p.m. (EDT) Sunday, July 9. Race fans can watch all of the live racing action beginning at noon on FS1.