MONTEREY, Calif. (May 11, 2013) - Cooper MacNeil and Jeroen Bleekemolen finished third in GTC in today's running of the American Le Mans Grand Prix of Monterey at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca.
MacNeil (Hinsdale, ILL) had the wheel of the No. 22 WeatherTech Porsche for the start of the four hour race. The University of Colorado at Boulder student put in a fast first stint handing the black and white Porsche over to Bleekemolen (Monte Carlo) on lap 60 in the lead in GTC. Bleekemolen proceeded to run at the front during the last hour and thirty minutes of the race. In the last pit stop the team had a right front lug nut hang up, costing valuable time. With 20 laps remaining, Bleekemolen radioed the crew about something amiss on the left front of the WeatherTech Porsche. The problem forced him to slow giving up second position and eventually settling for third.
"At the beginning of my stint the car was very strong," Bleekemolen said. "Early on Cooper and I were able to lead a lot of laps and we looked really good for the win. Near the end of the race I picked up a problem, I don't know what it was, but I just couldn't push like the rest of the race. I had to take it a little easy. On the last restart, with just one lap remaining it was crazy. Everyone was battling and we were able to keep third position. Which with the car we had at that time, makes this a good points day."
MacNeil started the WeatherTech Porsche and led a lot of laps today.
"My stint was good," MacNeil said. "I was in the car just short of two hours. The WeatherTech Porsche was really good for me. The handling was there and the tires stayed under me the whole time. I handed the car over to Jeroen in the lead and he had something go wrong late in the race. Even with the problem he had, we still finished in third place, which will be key when the end of the season points are totaled. I am now going to focus on Le Mans in the Larbre Corvette."
Alex Job, team owner, will take the points today.
"Jeroen and Cooper both did a great job all day," Job said. "They both led a lot of laps and it looked like we had the car to beat. Late in the race we had a lug nut hang up that cost us some track position and then something happened on the left front of the car and Jeroen couldn't push the pace. Everything considered I think we are happy with a third place finish today."
MacNeil will turn his focus to the 24 Hours of Le Mans. He will be driving the No. 70 Larbre Competition Corvette C6.R at the twice around the clock event June 22-23.
The American Le Mans Series will take its annual break for competitors running at Le Mans and return to action July 5-6 at Lime Rock Park in Connecticut.
The Grand Prix of Monterey at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca television broadcast will air tomorrow, May12, at 4:00 pm EDT on ESPN 2.
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.