Braselton, Ga., (October 12, 2019) - WeatherTech Racing drivers Cooper MacNeil (Hinsdale, Ill.), Toni Vilander (Kankaanpää, Finland), and Jeff Westphal (San Mateo, Calif.) drove to a fifth-place finish in today's running of the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship Motul Petit Le Mans to end the season.
Westphal took the start in the No. 63 WeatherTech Ferrari for the 10-hour race and was able to come around for lap two in second position. MacNeil took over from Westphal and with strong pit work from the Scuderia Corsa team MacNeil exited the pits and put the black-and-white Ferrari into the GTD Class lead during his first stint.
Vilander took over from MacNeil and at the three-hour mark of the race the Finn was coming into the downhill 10A turn and was blocked by the No. 29 Audi resulting in contact and right front damage to the WeatherTech Ferrari. Vilander had a target on his back as 20-minutes later he was driven off by the No. 33 Mercedes, resulting in the 33 being issued a penalty as well. Keeping his concentration Vilander was able to drive the car to the lead four-and-a-half hours into the race. All three drivers led laps in the first four hours of the race.
As the Scuderia Corsa team looked to the end, Vilander took over with 50-minutes remaining running in the top five. Ten minutes later, once again, the Finn had on track contact, sending him off the track at the exit Turn 10a stalling the WeatherTech Ferrari. The incident put the team back to sixth place. Vilander was able to improve one more position and bring the WeatherTech Racing Ferrari home in fifth.
"We were in a position to hunt the whole 10 hours," Vilander said. "We won the first four hours. We were outside the top three with the 33 car. I was side-by-side with the Acura in 10a and we had contact, they were a lap down. I went off and we went a lap down. The restart was crazy, I was mixed in with some DPi cars and got hit some more by cars from the other classes. I didn't give up so we finished P5. The guys did a great job, Jeff and Cooper and the entire crew. We started the season tough with my big mistake at Daytona and we got stronger as the season went on with five podium finishes."
"I feel good about the majority of the season," MacNeil said. "It went as a race season goes, you have some highs and some lows and everything in between. The Scuderia Corsa guys persevered all season. They put in the work to compete at the front of the field in this competitive GTD championship. It is too bad we weren't able to finish the last race on the podium. We ran fast all day and were in contention for a podium up until the last 40-minutes. I feel good about my track record here at Michelin Raceway, we won the race last year. We will be looking to comeback even stronger next year."
"The four races were a blast," Westphal said. "To help Cooper and Toni along with Dominik at the long races in the WeatherTech Ferrari was fantastic. The car was strong all year and being back with my old racing family was a pleasure. It was great to work with everyone from Scuderia Corsa and see some familiar places. The tracks for the long races are so iconic and are some of my favorites, so it's great to be a part of the program."
The team finished the season with podium finishes at Sebring, Le Mans, Watkins Glen, Virginia International Raceway and WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca.
The 2020 IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship season will start with the traditional Roar Before the 24 test at Daytona International Speedway January 3-5.