MONTEREY, Calif. (Sept. 24, 2017) – WeatherTech Racing drivers Cooper MacNeil (Hinsdale, Ill.) and Gunnar Jeannette (Salt Lake City, Utah) finished sixth in the GTD class in Sunday’s IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship Continental Monterey Grand Prix at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca.
MacNeil started 10th on the GTD grid in the No. 50 WeatherTech Porsche and was able to pick up a few spots shortly after the green flag dropped. In fact, he continued to push hard throughout his 36-lap stint. He ran lap times equal to the GTD class leaders. This allowed him to come into the pits in fourth before handing the No. 50 Porsche over to Jeannette.
“I had a decent stint,” MacNeil said. “Unfortunately, I made a mistake when I came into the pits. I just overshot the box by about three feet and that cost us some time.”
Once the car got pushed back, Jeannette got in and returned to the track in 14th place after taking four tires and fuel. He spent most of this first stint trying to regain some of the spots the team lost on the pit stop miscue. He did pick up two spots before coming in for his next pit stop.
From that point, the team’s strategy was to go into fuel and tire saving mode. The team hoped it would pay off late in the race when other teams had to stop for a splash of fuel. Throughout Jeanette’s second stint, he did just that. He carefully managed his lap times in fuel and tire saving mode, while picking up a few spots early in his second stint. Over the final 30 minutes of the race, he gained three more spots when cars came in for fuel and finished sixth – just barely missing the top five.
“Unfortunately, we had a bad first pit stop because we couldn’t get plugged in and we had to move the car [back],” Jeannette said. “So we lost a bit of time and some spots for that. But, that’s the way racing goes.
“Joerg [Bergmeister] and I were nose to tail. We were both in fuel save mode. We were caught in a traffic scenario where everyone was log jammed behind the Lexus. In traffic, he [Bergmeister] snuck through and I just got stuck behind the Lexus for a long time. I was finally able to pass him. But, at that point, we had lost so much time that he [Bergmeister] checked out, which is a bummer.
“My whole last stint, we were saving fuel, saving tires, saving fuel, saving tires, trying to make fuel numbers. It’s good that we ended up jumping a few cars that came in to do a splash at the end. But unfortunately, we just lost too much [ground] early on in the stint. The guys did an awesome job continuing to improve the WeatherTech Porsche throughout the weekend and it was a really good race car.”
“Gunnar drove a great race,” MacNeil said. “Now we’ve got a long race ahead of us for the 10 hours at Petit. I’m really looking forward to Petit.”
The IMSA WeatherTech Sports Car Championship season finale is in two weeks at Road Atlanta for the Motul Petit Le Mans Oct. 1-4.