LE MANS, France - WeatherTech Racing drivers Leh Keen (Charleston, S.C.) and Marc Miller (Holland, Mi.) had their 2016 Le Mans 24 Hours come to an end at the four-and-a-half mark.
The duo of Keen and Miller were ready to run the full 24 Hours of Le Mans as a duo in the No. 89 WeatherTech Racing Porsche 911 RSR LM GTE AM car when team regular Cooper MacNeil (Hinsdale, Ill) became ill. Keen started the race under rainy conditions and the race under a full course caution. Through strategic teamwork with engineer Greg Fordahl and the Dempsey-Proton team they pitted Keen as the rain stopped for Michelin slicks and went back out in drying conditions. Keen was able to drive to the front of the LM GTE AM field and lead the race. Three hours into the event, he handed the WeatherTech Porsche over to Miller for his first stint. On lap 50 Miller encountered oil at the entrance of the Dunlop Curves and hit the wall. The damage to the Porsche RSR was too severe to continue.
"I can't me more disappointed," Miller said. "The WeatherTech Porsche was great. It was the best we had it running all week. I was just settling into rhythm and I was getting comfortable. A Porsche was dumping radiator fluid on the track. It is a fifth gear down to fourth. The car went away so fast. Once you go through fluid you are not stopping. I did everything I could really to try and get the car back to the pits. I took parts off the car and put it inside the car. I know the fans in that corner saw how hard the WeatherTech drivers all work. I feel bad for everyone."
"I have been around racing for a long time and yet this was a crazy weekend," Keen said. "To have a tough race at the biggest sports car event in the world is crazy. Cooper getting sick, we went through a tough day on Wednesday getting the car set-up and then deciding to do the race with just two drivers. I was in for about three-hours at the start and was able to lead the race and I was having a good time. The car was handling good and was comfortable to drive. I got out of the car, got some food and was ready to get back in again. Then Cooper came in and said Marc just crashed. I couldn't believe it. Another car dumped fluid into Turn 1 and Marc couldn't do anything. It was another punch thrown at us this weekend and unfortunately it was the knock-out punch. It was awesome to be with WeatherTech here at Le Mans. Even after the crash, we came together as a group and there was disappointment, but also some laughter. They know what racing is about and these things happen. It is tough when we put our hearts into the effort."
The WeatherTech Racing team will return to IMSA WeatherTech competition at Watkins Glen for the Shalen's Six Hours of The Glen in two weeks, June 30 - July 3.
The 84th edition of the 24 Hours of Le Mans will take the green flag at 3 p.m. CEST (9 a.m. ET) on Saturday.
The race will be broadcast on Fox Sports 1 starting at 8:30 a.m. and going to 2 p.m. Transitioning to FS2 from 2 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. Back on FS2 from 6 p.m. to 6:30 p.m., FS2 7 p.m. to 7:30 p.m., FS2 10:30 p.m. to 2:30 a.m. and on Sunday, June 19, FS1: 2:30 a.m. to the finish.
For more information on WeatherTech Racing, including race recaps, photos and team gear, please visit the newly designed team site at www.WeatherTechRacing.com. The new team site can now be accessed on any device and is quicker, easier to navigate and features extensive photo galleries, videos, team updates and more.
WeatherTech, headquartered in Bolingbrook, Illinois, has long been recognized by the discerning automotive enthusiast as a supplier of accessories of unparalleled quality. Best known for its WeatherTech DigitalFit® FloorLiners™ and commitment to all-American manufacturing, the company supplies products to many automobile manufacturers as an original equipment supplier. More information can be viewed at www.weathertech.com.