From left, Daniel Juncadella, Jules Gounon, Cooper MacNeil, and Maro Engel.
Daytona Beach, Fla. (Jan. 29, 2023) - WeatherTech Racing won the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship Rolex 24 At Daytona GTD Pro Class today at Daytona International Speedway.
Drivers Cooper MacNeil (Hinsdale, Ill.), Jules Gounon (France), Daniel Juncadella (Spain), and Maro Engel (Germany) drove the No. 79 WeatherTech Racing Mercedes-AMG GT3 with Mercedes-Benz of Billings, Montana support to a near perfect win today.
The only real setback for the team were two pit lane penalties for spinning the rear tires while in the air and running over an air hose. The WeatherTech Racing/Proton Competition team had strong strategy and pit work to keep the Mercedes-AMG GT3 on the track and running perfectly.
For MacNeil it was his 13th run at the twice-around-the-clock classic.
“Wow! Just wow,” MacNeil said. “Before this race, my greatest accomplishment in racing was finishing second at Le Mans last year. To finish my career in IMSA with a win at Daytona, you can’t ask for more. I couldn’t have done it without my dad (David MacNeil), WeatherTech and Christian Ried and his Proton team. Mercedes gave us three of their best drivers. They build a great car that was fast and fair today. It was us, Corvette, and Lexus for the last fourth of the race. You have to have all of the elements to win here, car, drivers, support, teamwork and fast drivers. We had all of that today.”
Gounon knows it takes a total team effort.
“To win for David and Cooper and WeatherTech is a privilege,” Gounon said. “I think it was Cooper’s last race in IMSA, so this is a proper send off. You need to be the best on the track and in the pits to win this race and we were over the 24 hours. Cooper, Maro, and Dani all drove great, and I had a good day myself. I think tonight we can celebrate with something nice on our wrist.”
Juncadella likes the win and the points for the rest of the season.
“I can hardly believe it,” Juncadella said. “We went through so many emotions during the race. To start the year like this with a bang is great! I am very happy for Proton with their win in P2 as well. I am thankful to the MacNeil family for a great effort and support. I love racing here and starting the year like this is great. We scored all the points available today, the six hour, 12, and 18 endurance points and the overall win. Just great!”
Engel closed out the day on the track battling the best of Corvette and Lexus.
“I am just so happy,” Engel said. “Huge thank you my awesome teammates Cooper, Jules, and Dani, they did an awesome job today. The whole WeatherTech Racing/Proton team, together with Mercedes, gave us all of the tools to win today. At the end it was a dog fight out there, especially with those yellows which is what you don’t want to see when you are leading. We did it! Big thank you to Cooper, David and everyone at WeatherTech.”
For the WeatherTech brand it is their second Rolex 24 win, winning in 2013 with the Audi R8 and Alex Job Racing. The WeatherTech Racing Mercedes-AMG GT3 completed 729 laps (2,595 miles) and Gounon set fastest race lap in GTD Pro with a time of 1:45.451.
The IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship will travel to Sebring International Raceway for the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring, March 15-18.