Fast but unlucky in Saturday’s qualifying at Mid-Ohio, Cooper MacNeil was 12th fastest in the Scuderia Corsa entry on Saturday, the sole Ferrari competing in Sunday’s Sports Car Challenge.
MacNeil turned a best lap of 1:29.777-seconds in the No. 63 WeatherTech Ferrari 488 GT3 during the 15-minute qualifying session. Toni Vilander will co-drive in the fourth round of the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, the third race of the season for the GT Daytona class.
“It’s a shame, because I hit traffic on my fastest lap,” MacNeil said. “We would have been in the top five. Also, I was on a good lap early on that would also have been good enough for top five, and I got to the finish line just as the red flag came out – which unfortunately negated that lap.”
The weekend has so far proved to be a challenge to engineers and drivers in equal measure, as weather conditions have been changing throughout the weekend with unseasonably cold temperatures along with varying precipitation. Friday’s two practice sessions were held in wet or drying conditions, with the Saturday morning practice held in chilly 46-degree conditions that left several slick patches on the track.
Then, unexpected rain prior to qualifying left several wet patches on the circuit although the track continued to dry from lap to lap as the session ran on.
“It was a tricky session for us,” MacNeil said. “The track kept changing, and then we had that red flag. But we’ve got a good race car underneath us. The WeatherTech Scuderia Corsa guys have been working hard all weekend. The car’s in one piece, and we’ve got a strong race car for tomorrow. We’ll be trying pretty darn hard to move up.”
The event is also the debut of the IMSA Sprint Cup, a new championship for drivers and teams in the seven races of two hours, 40 minutes and shorter in duration. MacNeil is looking forward to that new challenge.
“I think having the Sprint Cup as an additional championship is great,” MacNeil said. “It makes a pretty deep field even deeper. It’s positive; it lowers the budget for certain teams that are looking forward to running fewer races. I’m looking forward to running Detroit (which is considered an exhibition event for the overall GTD championship). It’s a fun place to go to, and it’s good racing for a street course. I’ll be at all the races this year.”
Sunday’s Sports Car Challenge will be televised live on NBCSN, beginning at 1:30 p.m. ET.