WeatherTech Porsche On Pole in GTC at Long Beach
LONG BEACH, Calif. (April 19, 2013) - Cooper MacNeil and Jeroen Bleekemolen will start from pole position in GTC for this weekend's American Le Mans Series (ALMS) presented by Tequila Patron Long Beach Grand Prix to run tomorrow, April 20.
In today's first, and only, practice session, Bleekemolen (Monte Carlo) put in a lap time of 1:23.039 to pace the GTC field. The Dutchman, combined with co-driver MacNeil (Hinsdale, ILL), worked with the Alex Job Racing (AJR) team to hit the set up of the WeatherTech Porsche just right on a green track to be number one on the GTC time sheet this morning.
In qualifying, Bleekemolen took to the track with an improved set up on the car. He kept the Alex Job crew and Long Beach crowd entertained when he took pole position at the last possible moment of GTC qualifying, posting a flying lap of 1:22.850.
"Like Sebring we were P1 from the beginning of practice this morning," Bleekemolen said. "We made a couple of changes between practice and qualifying. It seemed to work. I really didn't get it right at the beginning of qualifying. I made a couple of mistakes. I pushed too hard and then I calmed it down and it worked out perfect for the pole. We have a really good car for the race. The track will be a bit of unknown tomorrow evening. The Indy cars will put down more rubber as will the rest of the cars racing this weekend. It is the same for everyone. We look very strong for the race."
Teammate MacNeil got right up to speed in short order in the morning practice.
"I did about 45 minutes in the car this morning with no issues," MacNeil said. "I went pretty quick and I was really happy with the way the car handled. I got out of the car a little early, because I had a lot of confidence in the whole package. Jeroen put in a big qualifying effort to put the WeatherTech Porsche on the pole. He kept us in suspense until the last possible lap to put the time in for the top position. We have a great starting position for what is always a tough street fight here at Long Beach."
Alex Job, team owner, is pleased with the speed of the WeatherTech Porsche.
"We were fast right off of the truck," Job said. "The track was a little green as we were the first ones out for the weekend at 7:30 a.m. this morning. Jeroen and Cooper did a great job dialing the car in as the air temperature began to rise. Jeroen put in a fast practice lap and we were able to back it up in qualifying. At this track, starting up front is important."
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.