Ferrari is looking to improve from a second-place finish in the most recent WeatherTech SportsCar Championship event when it goes for the victory in the IMSA Road Race Showcase this weekend at Road America.
Cooper MacNeil and Toni Vilander came up only 1.51-seconds short at the checkered flag two weekends ago at Sebring International Raceway in the No. 63 Scuderia Corsa WeatherTech Ferrari 488 GT3 EVO 2020. This weekend they return to the historic four-mile Wisconsin circuit for a two-hour, 40 minute race, the fourth round of the 2020 IMSA season.
Both drivers turned in stellar performances at Sebring in a truncated event that saw most of the action jammed into one day. Vilander opened the day by leading the second – and final – practice. MacNeil then qualified third, and ran in podium contention throughout his early-evening stint before turning the car over to Vilander.
The veteran led 15 laps before his final pit stop – spending extra time on pit road to ensure a full fuel load – and then charged in the closing laps, nearly running down the eventual winner.
MacNeil is coming off another standout performance in the Ferrari Challenge North America weekend at Indianapolis Motor Speedway as he looks forward to the return to Road America.
“I grew up going to Road America, watching my dad race,” MacNeil said. “My first laps there were in 2009. I love Road America, I am also a share holder in the track. It has been a while since I’ve won there in 2012. We have a lot of momentum coming off of the last couple weeks, P2 at Sebring and a couple of wins at Indy last weekend. We’ve had a BoP hit, which is unfortunate. It gives us a little more fire in our belly to get back to the top step of the podium this weekend.”
Driving for Ferrari of Westlake, MacNeil won two poles and swept both weekend races at the famed Brickyard, winning by respective margins of 17.906- and 23.322-seconds. After three weekends, MacNeil has won all six races and has opened up a commanding 46-point lead in the Ferrari Challenge championship standings.
The Road America schedule allows a little more breathing room than the hectic Sebring schedule. Following a 4:35 p.m. (all times CT) one-hour opening practice on Friday evening, Saturday has final practice beginning at 8:55 a.m., with a 15-minute GT Daytona qualifying session at 1:50 p.m. The IMSA Road Race Showcase takes the green flag at 11:05 a.m. on Sunday.
“My last win there was in 2011,” Vilander said. “I really like Road America. It is going to be great going back there this weekend. The BoP is unfortunate, we are really running hard and doing our best and we haven’t won yet. I was really hoping we would have the same package we have had in the past couple of races. Losing horsepower going to Road America is not great.”
Vilander has raced to victory before at Road America and will arrive in Wisconsin carrying some adrenaline after he picked a special way to celebrate his 40th birthday last weekend.
“Saturday was my 40th birthday and we came up with the idea of going sky diving,” said Vilander. “I could almost say that I do not enjoy heights. Jumping out of a perfectly operating airplane at 14,000 feet doesn’t make a lot sense. But I did it, and after having a celebratory beer a while later I was able to appreciate what we did.”