WeatherTech Porsche Taking Sebring Momentum to Long Beach
TAVARES, Fla. - Cooper MacNeil and Jeroen Bleekemolen are taking the momentum of last month's Sebring win to the American Le Mans Series (ALMS) presented by Tequila Patron Long Beach Grand Prix, April 19-20.
The team will be going from the wide open spaces of Sebring to the tight, concrete-lined confines of the Long Beach Grand Prix circuit. The mindset is still the same. Win. MacNeil (Hinsdale, ILL) and Bleekemolen (Monte Carlo) have both tasted success at Long Beach. Bleekemolen won the GTC race in 2011 and MacNeil finished second in GTC last year. The duo lead the GTC championship based upon their Sebring win last month.
"Last year was my first time at Long Beach and it was fantastic," MacNeil said. "My first time ever on the track was on Friday during that torrential downpour. Hopefully we avoid that weather this year. The race is pretty short at just two hours, so it will be flat out the whole time, just as Sebring was. These Porsches are so good and so reliable that we have no choice, but to run flat out the whole time during each race, because they simply won't break."
The University of Colorado at Boulder student knows qualifying will be important.
"The key is to not hit anything. There is a lot of concrete at street circuits, and Long Beach is no exception. Qualifying will be important and I have no doubt that we will be at the top with Jeroen at the wheel."
Bleekemolen has a winning history at Long Beach in GTC.
"Winning the race in 2011 brings back some nice memories," Bleekemolen said. "We had such a great weekend, taking the pole position, fastest race lap and the win. It's one of the races you really have high on your list to win. To win, you must aim for a perfect weekend. The competition is tough this year, so any mistake can cost you a victory. It's only a two hour race and overtaking is hard, so qualifying is very important. We will also need to have our pit stops and strategy spot on. The track can bite you pretty easy with the walls, so you also have to stay out of trouble. I love racing between the barriers, so this is definitely one of my favorite races of the year."
The Dutch driver will be in sprint mode at Long Beach.
"As the race is short, we will have to push from the word go. No compromises, flat out racing for two hours. It's hard to overtake there, so you need to try to take the lead from the beginning. Then you can control it -- if you have the right strategy."
Alex Job has the WeatherTech team off to a strong start.
"We have a lot of team momentum coming off of our win at Sebring," Job said. "We go from one of the fastest tracks to one of the slowest. Jeroen and Cooper both have miles at Long Beach and both have stood on the podium. The GTC Class is so tight, that you cannot afford one mistake. It will be very competitive this weekend, especially with the race being only two hours long."
The Tequila Patron Long Beach Grand Prix will run April 19-20. The television broadcast will air April 21 at 1:00 p.m. EDT on ABC. Live streaming of the race will run April 20 starting at 7:15 p.m. on ESPN3.com with live streaming of qualifying running April 19 at 8 p.m. EDT on ESPN3.com.
Alex Job Racing is one of the most successful teams in sports car racing with 69 wins (since 1995); including two Rolex 24 GT Class wins in 1999 and 2013. This record is supported by 48 pole positions and 106 podium finishes. The team has won four championships (GTC 2012, GT in 2004, 2003 and 2002) complimented by their two GT class wins at Le Mans. The team also boasts nine Sebring 12-hour wins.
The ALMS GTC category is specific to one of the most popular factory produced racing cars in the world, the Porsche 911 GT3 Cup. Developed for Porsche's one-make series around the world, the new version of the Porsche 911 GT3 Cup is based on the road-going 911 GT3 RS. The power unit featured in the new 911 GT3 Cup is largely identical to the production engine of the 911 GT3 RS with the same output of 450 bhp and the same maximum engine speed of 8,500 rpm.