Keen posts quickest GTD time of weekend
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (Jan. 10, 2016) - Cooper MacNeil, David MacNeil, Leh Keen, Shane van Gisbergen and Gunnar Jeannette all turned maximum laps behind the wheel of the No. 22 WeatherTech Racing Porsche at the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship Roar Before the 24 test at Daytona International Speedway this weekend.
The series held their annual Roar test under changing conditions with mist, fog and some sun in preparation for the 50th running of the Rolex 24 Hour At Daytona, January 30-31. The all-new WeatherTech Racing Porsche missed some of the very first on-track session on Friday, but ran flawlessly the rest of the weekend, including posting the fastest time in class of 1:47.852 by Keen. David MacNeil (Hinsdale, Ill), Cooper MacNeil (Hinsdale, Ill), Keen (Charleston, S.C.) and Jeannette (Salt Lake City, Ut) all gave glowing reviews of the new race car.
"It took us some time to get the new Porsche set-up and up to speed, but once we did, the Alex Job Racing (AJR) guys kept us up at the front," Cooper MacNeil said. "We had the fastest GTD time of the whole weekend, so we feel pretty good about the car. As always at this level of racing, the competition is tight and any single car could win the race. We'll have to do what AJR does best and keep our nose clean throughout the entire race and we will have a great shot at the win."
"We had a nice weekend to start the season in the WeatherTech GT3R," Keen said. "The first day we worked out some kinks. The second day we got the car sorted and then the third day we were all set to go. We learned a lot about the new Porsche on the banking and how to get it dialed in on the oval spec Continental tires. The car is really a treat to drive compared to what we have raced the past two years. The stability in the brake zones and high-speed downforce is a nice improvement. We are really loving our new GT3R. The GTD class is the most impressive it has ever been. The car count is big and every car is a contender, plus there is a lot of new cars from many different manufactures. All with big wide carbon fenders and huge aero packages. The cars look cool, sound cool and are fun to drive. So you will see a lot of good racing this year."
"At 56 years old, I am humbled and honored to participate as a driver in what I consider to be one of the most important and prestigious sports car races in the world and certainly the most important one in the United States," David MacNeil said. "The other great thing is I get to co-drive with my 23 year old son Cooper who is a Daytona veteran that finished second in 2015. The Porsche GT3R is an amazing race car and my hat is off to Porsche for engineering such a fast and stable car that is a pure joy to drive at high speed. My street Porsche GT3RS shares so much DNA with the GT3R, that the experience is actually quite similar. I now believe this is why the street GT3RS is in such high demand as it is the 'real deal' and that is what sports car purists want. Combine those elements with the leadership of Alex Job, race car engineering from Greg Fordahl and the support we are receiving under the leadership of Jens Walther at Porsche Motorsport North America, I feel we have a really good chance of improving our finishing position by at least one place this year. We were fast at the test so I am really looking forward to the 24."
"The new Weathertech GT3R is a nice step up from last year," van Gisbergen said. "This weekend has just been about systems checks and getting all of us drivers familiar and comfortable for the race. The car has a lot of potential and I think it will be good in the race. The car has been quick this weekend at the Roar and the last two year I've been with AJR the team and car performance during the race has been great. Looking forward to going one better than 2015!"
Alex Job, team owner, leaves Daytona optimistic.
"It is nice to pull out of the track knowing we have a fast new car," Job said. "How fast? I think we have to wait and see what qualifying at the end of the month brings. Everyone cycled through the car and was able to get quality time behind the wheel. David, Cooper, Leh, Shane and Gunnar all gave rave reviews of the car. We are in full preparation mode for the end of the month."
The IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship for 2016 will take to the track for the Roar Before the 24, Jan. 9-11 and then lineup for the 50th running of the Rolex 24 Hour At Daytona Jan. 29-31.
For more information on WeatherTech Racing, including race recaps, photos and team gear, please visit the official team site at www.WeatherTechRacing.com.
The IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship GTD (GT Daytona) Class is made up of some the world's most sophisticated cars, including the Porsche 911 GT3R, Ferrari 488, Lamborghini Huracan, Aston Martin, BMW M6, Viper SRT and Audi R8. All GTD Class cars run on the spec Continental tire.