Cooper MacNeil and Toni Vilander fought to an 11th-place finish for Scuderia Corsa Ferrari in Saturday’s Northeast Grand Prix at Lime Rock Park.
MacNeil was running seventh in the No. 63 WeatherTech Ferrari 488 GT3 at his first pit stop. Unable to upshift, MacNeil struggled in second gear for a full lap before pitting again and handing the car over to Vilander. The Scuderia Corsa crew corrected the problem by changing the steering wheel and restarting the on-board computer, but Vilander returned to the race with an insurmountable two-lap deficit.
“This weekend the car took a bit of work,” MacNeil said. “The Scuderia Corsa crew made a few changes before qualifying that gave me a bit more speed. There was only two-tenths of a second between me and pole, which shows how fierce the competition is in GTD. There was that little bit of a gap and I was still eighth. The start of the race was good. The car felt strong. 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,” MacNeil said. “We had good tire life and brought it home clean which is what mattered.”
Despite temperatures climbing into the high 90s, the two-hour, 40-minute race ran start to finish under the green flag.“
It was a rough race,” Vilander said. “We had troubles during Cooper’s stint that set us back two laps. We didn’t get any yellow caution periods, so we were stuck there to the finish. The heat was intense making it a long stint for me.“
Let’s get to Road America and see what we can do.”
The next stop for the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship will be at Road America in Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin on Sunday, August 4th.
“I can’t wait to get to Road America, it’s my home race,” MacNeil said. “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.”