MacNeil Fastest in Ferrari Challenge Qualifying
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (Jan. 25, 2018) – WeatherTech Racing drivers Cooper MacNeil (Hinsdale, Ill.), Alessandro Balzan (Italy), Gunnar Jeannette (Salt Lake City), and Jeff Segal (Miami) will start from the third row in the GTD class for this weekend’s IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship Rolex 24 At Daytona International Speedway.
Balzan was behind the wheel of the No. 63 WeatherTech Racing Ferrari 488 GT3 for the 15-minute GTD qualifying session. Early in the session, he set the GTD pace and was atop the speed charts. But, the GTD class is ultra-competitive again this year and Balzan had to battle to keep the No. 63 Ferrari in the top five. His fifth circuit around the 3.56-mile speedway road course was his fastest with a 1:47.055 – good enough for fifth on the GTD grid.
“We are coming out from the first free practice where we struggled,” Balzan said. “The track conditions have changed and the team and drivers are working hard. The Scuderia Corsa guys are doing a great job to get us going in the right direction. I was able to qualify the car fifth, there is more in it that we can get out. But, a top five is a good result from where we started the day. Qualifying was like another practice, we focused on the car and getting it comfortable for the race. We are headed in the right direction, but there is a long way to go.”
“There are three Ferrari’s in the top five,” MacNeil said. “That is pretty good. A good effort by Alessandro and the team. We had some minor issues with the WeatherTech Ferrari that the team worked through and we got it faster for qualifying. We are upfront for the start that helps to get us out of potential back of the pack problems at the start, which is good. I am looking forward to the race on Saturday.”
Twenty minutes before this afternoon’s IMSA WeatherTech GTD qualifying, MacNeil had the controls of the No. 63 WeatherTech Racing Ferrari 488 GT3 for Ferrari Challenge qualifying, where he was the pole winner with a time of 1:46.902.
“I am doing Ferrari Challenge as well this weekend,” MacNeil said. “More laps is always good. But, even though both Ferrari’s say 488 on them, the IMSA Ferrari is different from the Ferrari Challenge Ferrari. I was able to get the pole for the Ferrari Challenge race, so I am looking forward to that race Saturday as well.”
The green flag drops on the 56th Rolex 24 At Daytona at 2:40 p.m. (ET). Race coverage begins at 2 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 27 on FOX.
Rolex 24 Hour At Daytona broadcast schedule:
Sat. Jan. 27: FOX, 2-5 p.m. FS2 5-10 p.m.; FSGO 10-11 p.m.; FS1 11 p.m.-1 a.m.
Sun. Jan 28: FSGO 1 a.m.-8 a.m.; FS2 8 a.m.-10:30 a.m.; FS1 1 10:30 a.m.-3 p.m.
For more information on WeatherTech Racing, including race recaps, photos and team gear, please visit the team site at www.WeatherTechRacing.com.