Cooper MacNeil turned in the third-fastest lap in Saturday’s qualifying for the Monterey SportsCar Championships at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca. The result is the best of the season for MacNeil so far as he prepares for Sunday’s live NBC broadcast of the nearly three-hour sprint race staged on the fabled Monterey peninsula track.
MacNeil ran a best lap of 1:25.063-seconds in the No. 63 Scuderia Corsa WeatherTech Ferrari 488 GT3 that will be co-driven by Toni Vilander.
MacNeil briefly held the pole following his second lap, before going even faster on his fourth lap, coming up just 0.055-seconds shy of the pole. MacNeil was ranked second when a red flag following an incident used up the final nine minutes of the session.
IMSA allowed the competitors an additional 4:05-seconds to reach the required 10 minutes of green flag running time. While the white Ferrari remained in the pits, another competitor won the pole on his final lap of the extra time to drop MacNeil to third, 0.156-seconds back.
“Best qualifying effort for the team this year,” said MacNeil, who celebrated a birthday earlier this week. “I am glad that I was the one to be able to get that for the team. The Scuderia Corsa guys have been working so hard, I rewarded them with a trip to tech. We are starting from a podium position in third. We have a lot of good potential for tomorrow. We decided to save the tires for the race, which is why we didn’t go back out in the final minutes. I agree with the engineers decision to save the rubber. It is going to be a hot one. The track temp will be high, but the Michelin tires have been holding up for us. I am going to try and keep the car upfront, out of trouble and turn it over to Toni in a good position so he can go for the win.”
Sunday’s two-hour, 40-minute race will be televised live on NBC, beginning at 3 p.m. ET.