Le Mans, France, (June 11, 2022) – Cooper MacNeil (Hinsdale, Ill), Julien Andlauer (France), and Thomas Merrill (Salinas, Calif.) are currently running in first place in the No. 79 WeatherTech Racing Porsche 911 RSR LMGTE Am car eight hours into the 24 Hours of Le Mans.
Andlauer had the wheel for the start of the twice-around-the-clock classic race. Starting from his tenth-place qualifying position he was smooth and calculated in his triple stint. The Frenchman drove the red, white, and blue Porsche to the lead. He made a great pass heading into the second section of the Indianapolis Curves 80-minutes into the race to lead the LMGTE Am Class.
“I did a triple-stint and it was good,” Andlauer said. “I think it was what we needed, get out in the front, and create a little gap. Especially tire wise, we took a little different approach than the others, but it was great. The WeatherTech Porsche is running strong. We haven’t experienced this much heat yet this week, it’s like 80ºF right now. I am happy with the balance after all of our work in practice. Now we know what we need to do. Keep going with the good pace and stay out of trouble.”
About the pass, “it was already three or four corners that I tried to overtake for the lead, normally you don’t take any risk with someone who is faster than you. But I had to pass him so as not to lose too much time.”
Andlauer handed off to Merrill who took his first laps at Le Mans in race conditions.
“It was everything I hoped it would it be for my first race laps at Le Mans,” Merrill said. “Doesn’t get any better than jumping into a car in the lead your first stint at Le Mans. The WeatherTech Porsche felt great. The Proton guys have been doing a really great job. The car is consistent, more so than it was in practice. The crew is doing a great job on pit stops. Julien had a strong stint that first run to get us in the lead.”
Merrill gave the WeatherTech Porsche over to MacNeil who took it into the night.
“It was a little tough out there with the traffic at times,” MacNeil said. “The WeatherTech Porsche is running strong. We are in the lead, but there is 17 hours to go. We are running perfectly with no real issues so far. Julien and Thomas are doing great, and the team is performing in the pits.”
The checkered flag for the 24 Hours of Le Mans will drop at 4:00 CET tomorrow.