Cooper MacNeil, Leh Keen, Louis-Philippe Dumoulin, Shane van Gisbergen and Shane Lewis will start the No. 22 WeatherTech Racing GTD Class Porsche 911 GT America from the eighth row for the TUDOR United SportsCar Championship 52nd running of the Rolex 24 Hour At Daytona Jan. 25-26.
Keen (Charleston, S.C.) had the wheel of the white and black WeatherTech Porsche for the 15-minute qualifying session. The onslaught of new machinery and the new rules for the inaugural TUDOR Championship race has a very competitive field of very different cars. Keen put down a lap of 1:47.647 (119.056 mph) that will have the WeatherTech Racing team starting from the eighth row in GTD.
“We had a slow start to the day,” Keen said. “We had some electrical gremlins in the first practice. The second session of the day, Shane Lewis did some laps and went fast right off of the bat. A great job by the new addition to the team. I got two laps in today before qualifying. The car felt good like it did at the Roar test. Any other day a 47.6 is pretty good lap time here at Daytona. In the Porsche world, it looks like we are doing pretty good. Some of these GTD cars are just rockets. With qualifying over we can focus on the race. That is where this team really shines. We will be going for two wins in a row at Daytona for the WeatherTech brand.”
MacNeil will run some quality laps in the night session starting at 6 p.m.
“I will get my laps in tonight,” MacNeil said. “This morning we had a few electrical issues which stopped the motor at 6500 rpms. That slowed us down, so we had to come in and fix it. We were second quick in the afternoon session. I am looking forward to running some good laps tonight.”
Newcomer Lewis (Jupiter, Fla.) is pleased with his first run in the car.
“It was great to finally get behind the wheel,” Lewis said. “You study the video and the data and it is great to get in the car and do some laps. Until you actually drive the car, you really don’t know what you have. I have a lot to learn about the car, but I got in the 49s right away which I am happy with today.
Alex Job, team owner, had his team diagnosing the No. 22 WeatherTech Porsche early in the day.
“After a really good test, we went out in the first session and had an electrical issue,” Job said. “The team did a great job to find the problem and fix it. We returned in the second session and were second quick. Qualifying was another story. Leh put in a good lap, but there are some very fast cars in the GTD field. With top drivers and all new cars, the Porsches have some work to do. We are now focused on setting-up a good race car and planning our strategy for 24 hours of racing.”
The team of Cooper MacNeil (Hinsdale, Ill), Shane Lewis (Jupiter, Fla.), Leh Keen (Charleston, SC), Louis-Phillpe (LP) Dumoulin (Trois-Rivieres, Quebec, Canada) and Australian V8 Supercars driver Van Gisbergen (Auckland, New Zealand) are ready for a very competitive Rolex 24 At Daytona.
The new TUDOR United SportsCar Championship Rolex 24 Hour at Daytona will be broadcast live on FOX from 2 to 4 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 25. Coverage will continued on FOX Sports 2 live from 4 to 9 p.m. Overnight streaming will start at 9 p.m. on IMSA.com and continue to 7 a.m. Sunday, Jan. 26. FOX Sports 1 will air the final hours of the race beginning at 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. MRN Radio will broadcast the Rolex 24 in its entirety on IMSA.com, MRN.com, and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio (Channel 90). WNDB-AM 1150 is the local radio affiliate.
The TUDOR United SportsCar Championship GTD (GT Daytona) Class is made up of some the world’s most sophisticated cars, including the Porsche 911 GT America, Ferrari 458, Aston Martin, BMW Z4, Viper SRT and Audi R8. All GTD Class cars run on the spec Continental tire.