Cooper MacNeil (Hinsdale, Ill), Julien Andlauer (France), and Thomas Merrill (Salinas, Calif.) are currently running in fifth in the No. 79 WeatherTech Racing Porsche 911 RSR LMGTE Am car in the 24 Hours of Le Mans at the 16 hour mark.
At two-thirds distance of the race, the drivers have remained focused and are still running at the front of the ultra-competitive LMGTE Am field. The nighttime proved to be very smooth for the crew and car. There was a lot of green drive time without slow zones that allowed the three WeatherTech Racing drivers to focus on producing consistent lap times and keep the No. 79 WeatherTech Racing Porsche RSR at the front of the LMGTE Am field with eight hours remaining. The team suffered some unfortunate timing with Slow Zones (caution periods on the track) that put them down the order.
“The WeatherTech Porsche is still very good,” Andlauer said. “We now need to match the pace at the front. We tried something on the tires, that is working, but just missing a little performance in the night. We just need to keep doing our jobs and continue with our strong pace and focus.”
Merrill put in another strong double stint at night then back in for sunrise.
“That was a more difficult run for me,” Merrill said. “The dew hit the track with reduced grip compared to the heat of the day. We were a little low on our tire pressures, so I really had to work the car and the tires to keep temperature in them. When the temperature falls you also pick-up a lot of rubber debris, so keeping the tires clean and hot was the key. The car is handling amazing, so the next time I get in it I think we are going to be dialed in.”
MacNeil got in for his second stint at 2 a.m. local time and again as the sun had just risen over the 8.5-mile circuit.
“The night stint was tough,” MacNeil said. “The temperature went from 80 to 55. That affects the tires, and you have to do extra work to keep them up to maximum operating temperature. I did a double stint in the very late night and got back in this morning. So, I drove when the sun went down and when it came back up. We got unlucky with some of the Slow Zones, but we are fighting our way back to the lead. We are still running strong and have eight or so hours to go and we are in the top five.”
The checkered flag for the 24 Hours of Le Mans will drop at 4:00 CET this afternoon.
Source. Kyle Chura/WeatherTech Racing