MacNeil, Keen, Davis and van Gisbergen ready to go
TAVERES, Fla. - WeatherTech Racing is ready to take on the TUDOR United SportsCar Championship series first race on the calendar, the 53rd running of the Rolex 24 Hours At Daytona, Jan 22-25.
The team comprised of Cooper MacNeil (Hinsdale, Ill), Leh Keen (Charleston, SC), Andrew Davis (Athens, Ga) and Shane van Gisbergen (Auckland, New Zealand) were all able to get maximum seat time behind the wheel of the No. 22 WeatherTech Racing Porsche at the official Roar Before the 24 test two weeks ago. The team posted a fast lap of 1:47.581 that had them in the top five at the end of the weekend in the ultra-competitive GTD field.
"I think our main competition for this year's 24 hour will be the Viper and the Aston," MacNeil said. "They both showed good speed at the test and they are well driven, so they'll be quick. During the race I focus on rest and hydration as it is extremely important to ensure we are 100% for the next stint. Our WeatherTech Porsche showed good speed at the test and we have a great driver lineup so I think we should be in the hunt."
Keen knows the key to a good run at Daytona comes down to team work and car prep.
"It's that time of the year," Keen said. "Starting the season with the biggest race of the year. It's always difficult to stay relaxed the weeks before the 24. So I really can't wait to get down to Daytona and get the weekend started. We don't truly know what everyone has for speed until the race gets started. But what we do know is there will be a lot of fast cars, including us. We really have a great driver lineup with a comfortable and fast WeatherTech Porsche. We have so many things going for us for the race. Shane, Andrew, Cooper and I all really trust each other with the car and have complete confidence so the vibe is really great amongst the team. We also have a good time behind the scenes just hanging out. Another key to the 24 is, of course, great car prep. And we no doubt have that with the best in the business Alex Job Racing. So we are really the most well rounded team going into the race with the right package to win. During the race, sleep is key for me. I like to relax as much as I can until I am in the car. So I will actually start resting after my first stint early into the race."
Davis likes the combination of his co-drivers and the Alex Job Racing team.
"The GTD field is deep with talented drivers and competitive cars for this year's Rolex 24 at Daytona," Davis said. "I'm not convinced that every manufacturer showed their true strength at the test, so I think a lot remains to be seen for the race weekend. Porsche always shows well at this classic event, and it's certainly confidence inspiring to head into battle with a proven winner. This will be my 14th time competing at Daytona. Over the years, I've certainly learned a lot about what it takes to perform at my best. Proper nutrition and hydration is a must during this grueling event. In addition, to providing your body with that energy, it's paramount to get some rest in between stints. This can be difficult with the excitement surrounding such a great event. I'm really feeling confident about the strength of our No. 22 WeatherTech Porsche. We have a fantastic team of guys keeping things together on the car, and our driver lineup is very strong. This team knows how to get the job done, so we need to keep our heads down and stick to the race plan."
Van Gisbergen likes the driver lineup and the feel of the WeatherTech Porsche.
"Daytona has lots of fast cars with good drivers," van Gisbergen said. "The Vipers looked really strong at the test, but you never know until the race. The Porsche feels good, even better than last year, so looking forward to getting amongst it during the race. During the race I focus on getting lots of hydration. Last year I was quite excited and nervous during the race as it was my first 24 hour run, so I didn't sleep much. This year will probably be the same. Along with the general reliability and speed of the Porsche, I feel the driver lineup we have is a big strength. All four of us were feeling fast, comfortable and consistent at the test, so that's going to help us come the weekend."
Team owner Alex Job knows the GTD class is the toughest in the race.
"We went through every nut and bolt on the No. 22 WeatherTech Porsche" Job said. "The GTD field is stacked with good cars, good teams and strong driver lineups. I think come Sunday afternoon we are going to see several cars on the lead lap battling for the win. The Vipers showed a lot of speed at the test and the Audi and Aston are run by good teams that have won endurance races. We are ready, but have our work cut out for us."
The TUDOR United SportsCar Championship Rolex 24 At Daytona will run Jan. 22-25. The start of the race will be broadcast on, Jan. 24 on FOX starting at 2:00 pm and continuing on the network until 4:00 pm ET. FOX Sports 2 will take over from 4:00 - 8:00 pm. Then over to FOX Sports 1 8:00 - 10:00 pm. From 10:00 pm - 7 am it will stream live at IMSA.com and return to FOX Sports 1 for the finish from 7:00 am - 2:30 pm. IMSA Radio will carry the entire broadcast, link at IMSA.com.
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.
Alex Job Racing is one of the most successful teams in sports car racing with 70 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 five championships (GTC 2013, 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.