Daytona Beach, Fla. (Jan. 29, 2022) - WeatherTech Racing’s three entries are running strong in the WeatherTech SportsCar Championship Rolex 24 At Daytona.
The No. 79 WeatherTech Racing Porsche GT3 R spent time in the lead in the first three hours of the race with Alessio Picariello behind the wheel. The young Belgian had to serve two penalties, a drive through penalty for incident responsibility and another for failing to stop at the end of pit lane with a red light on. Following the stop plus 60-second penalty, he had trouble restarting the No. 79 Porsche further exacerbating the penalty time. The Proton Competition team had to take the car to the garage to fix an electrical issue sending the car down the standings some 50 laps.
“The car was running well,” Picariello said. “Unfortunately, we were a little unlucky with that yellow. We had to make an emergency pit stop and then do a drive through as a result. Apparently, the red light was on at the end of pit lane, but there were cars going so I followed the cue which gave us another penalty. When I came in for the penalty, the car would not start. It is a pity. We were running well. The car is running again. We will see what we can do.”
Cooper MacNeil has completed his required drive time, two-hours-and-fifteen-minutes, in the No. 97 WeatherTech Racing Mercedes-AMG GT3. He will now move over to the No. 79 WeatherTech Racing Porsche 911 GT3 R and start the clock on the drive time in that car.
“My job is done in the Mercedes-AMG GT3, everything went according to plan,” MacNeil said. “It was really busy and a bit dangerous out there, but I kept our WeatherTech Racing Mercedes of Billings car clean and now I’m moving onto the Porsche.”
In the No. 97 WeatherTech Racing Mercedes-AMG GT3, Cooper MacNeil, Maro Engel, Jules Gounon, and Daniel Juncadella are currently running fourth.
“It was pretty crazy out there, especially after the restarts,” Engel said. “The WeatherTech Racing Mercedes-AMG GT3 is running really strong. We are circulating, making laps. We will fine tune the car through the night to be ready for the fight in the morning.”
In the No. 15 WeatherTech Racing Mercedes-AMG GT3 with Mercedes Billings of Montana support, the team of Dirk Müller, Patrick Assenheimer, and Austin Cindric have been running in the top five the first quarter of the race.
“It was fun trying to chase down this guy (pointing to Mathieu Jaminet, No. 2 Porsche),” Cindric said. “I just spent an entire stint trying to catch up to him and I just shook his hand and introduced myself. It’s kind of one of those melting pot races. The LMP3 cars make our racing extremely challenging because they stack up the GT3 cars behind them. They have good drivers and sometimes you have them backed up in the runoff. The draft seems to be coming into play here more than I remember in a GT car, maybe it is the cooler temperatures. It's been fun. I was able to keep the car in the top five during my stint, so a good start for us.”
WeatherTech Racing Rolex 24 driver lineup:
No. 79 WeatherTech Racing Porsche 911 GT3 R will be Cooper MacNeil (Hinsdale, Ill), Julien Andlauer (France), Matteo Cairoli (Italy), and Alessio Picariello (Belgium)
No. 97 WeatherTech Racing Mercedes-AMG GT3 Cooper MacNeil (Hinsdale, Ill), Maro Engel (Germany), Jules Gounon (France), and Daniel Juncadella (Spain)
No. 15 WeatherTech Racing with Mercedes of Billings (Montana) Mercedes-AMG GT3 Dirk Müller (Germany), Patrick Assenheimer (Germany), and Austin Cindric (Mooresville, N.C.)
The 2022 IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship Rolex 24 Hour At Daytona will take the green flag at 1:40 p.m. ET, Saturday, January 29.