LAKEVILLE, Conn. (July 21, 2019) – Scuderia Corsa faced off against high heat at Lime Rock Park finishing just outside the top 10 in the Northeast Grand Prix with the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship.
Driver Toni Vilander crossed the finish line 11th in the GT Daytona Class after the two hour and 40-minute sprint race stayed green through its entirety in temperatures well over 100 degrees Fahrenheit. Vilander was in pursuit of a caution that would allow the team strategic freedom to advance past the competition. He drove a clean and clear race for the entirety of his stint.
Cooper MacNeil began the Northeast Grand Prix with enthusiasm and competitive lap times. He engaged in tight battles as he fought for a front of field advantage in traffic. However, he would have to pit early due to a technical issue. The extended pit stop sealing the team’s fate on the seven turn, 1.5-mile course.
For MacNeil the progress made over the weekend has him eager for the next race.
“This weekend the car took a bit of work,” MacNeil said. “The crew made a few changes before qualifying that gave me a bit more speed. There were only two tenths of a second between me and pole which shows how fierce the competition is in GTD. There was that little of a gap and I was still eighth. The start of the race was good. The car felt strong and like I could battle. Then about halfway through my stint the RPM’s spiked and wouldn’t go down because I was stuck in second gear.
“The crew did a great job of getting a new steering wheel to me because that seemed to be the issue. It took two ignition cycles for the new wheel to talk to the car which caused us to lose two laps. Although the car was fine after that without a yellow, we had no way to make up our laps. We had good tire life and brought it home clean which is what mattered. I can’t wait to get to Road America, it’s my home race. We’ll have a lot of friends and employees there so I think it will be great. The team did a great job this weekend and we’re ready to keep pushing.”
For Vilander today was a testament to Scuderia Corsa’s ability to quickly react to on track issues and get the car back in race.
“It was a rough race,” Vilander said. “We had troubles in Cooper’s stint that set us back two laps. Without a yellow we could not make it up. The heat was intense making it a long stint for me. Thank you to Scuderia Corsa and WeatherTech for getting the car back on track so quickly, it shows we are strong on both the track and in the pits. Let’s get to Road America and see what we can do there.”
For Team Owner Giacomo Mattioli Lime Rock Park will serve as a push in determination for the final rounds.
“The crew executed well when it mattered most,” Mattioli said. “In racing many elements are not in your control but a strong team can react and resolve quickly. I believe Scuderia Corsa showed that today. Cooper and Toni kept their heads down and pushed through the end. Now, we turn our attention to Road America and the end of the season.”
Today’s race airs on NBCSN at 9:30 p.m. EDT. The next race for the No. 63 WeatherTech Ferrari GT3 488 is August 2-4 at Road America in Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin. It will be yet another installment of the WeatherTech Sprint Cup, but this time on the longest track the series faces this year at 4 miles. The IMSA Road Race Showcase takes place Sunday, August 4 on NBCSN.