DAYTONA BEACH, FL (30 June 2020) – Ferrari returns to major North American competition this weekend with the WeatherTech 240 at Daytona International Speedway, the second round of the 2020 IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship.
Scuderia Corsa will celebrate American Independence Day with a patriotic red, white and blue livery on the No. 63 WeatherTech Racing Ferrari 488 GT3 Evo 2020 for the event under the lights on Saturday, July 4.
Cooper MacNeil and Toni Vilander will co-drive in the two-hour, 40-minute race. The pair finished seventh in the season-opening 24 At Daytona back in January. The coronavirus pandemic then put a halt to competition in the days ahead of the planned Sebring 12 Hour event in March. The WeatherTech 240 was added to the schedule to give IMSA an opportunity to get back in action, with a limited number of spectators allowed for the event with strict social distancing mandates in place.
“Finally. We will get back to racing,” MacNeil said. “It has been a long four months and I am looking forward to getting back to competition. I took delivery of a simulator and have been keeping my competitive edge sharp doing some laps on the upcoming tracks. We were able to get the Ferrari Challenge car out at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca a couple of weeks ago to turn some laps, so that will help for this weekend.”
MacNeil and Vilander were joined by Jeff Westphal and Alessandro Balzan at the 24 Hours at Daytona. After running in podium position in the early stages of the race, a green flag pit stop to change brakes cost the team a lap. Extended stretches of green-flag racing set a record pace, and eliminated the possibilities to make up the lap under yellow. With a return to Daytona, the team is eager to put the lessons learned in the season-opener to use and build the momentum as the championship is set for an intense roster of races through the second half of 2020.
“We didn’t have the greatest run at the 24 Hour, but we now have 24 hours of data on the new Ferrari Evo package to draw from to make the car better for this weekend,” MacNeil explained. “It will be a short and compact weekend, but we are ready. IMSA has a great plan in place to keep everyone safe, checking temperatures, creating distance in the garage, all necessary things so we can get back to the schedule and continue on with the racing season.”
Vilander is more than ready to end his longest “vacation” from racing in more than 30 years.
“It’s been a super strange and awkward time without any racing,” Vilander said. “I think the last time I had such a break was in the late 80s when I was karting. It was nice to spend time with the family. In Finland, things were quite calm, we didn’t have to wear masks. There were restrictions, but life was pretty normal. Seeing the situation here in Florida, things are quite serious. The airplane was empty on my way here, have to wear a mask everywhere, so very different. IMSA has done a great job with all of their assistance with travel controls.
“We raced the new EVO kit on our WeatherTech Ferrari at the 24,” continued Vilander. “We had speed at the Roar and in practice. When qualifying came and the race, our competitors found a lot of speed. There has been a lot of data review since the 24. We will make some changes to try and get up to speed quickly as there isn’t much practice time. I am looking forward to getting back in the car. It will take a few laps to get back into the flow. I miss the team and Cooper and I am ready to get back to work.”
The streamlined Daytona schedule includes practice on Friday at 6:15 p.m. (all times ET) and Saturday at 10:15 a.m., with qualifying Saturday at 1:55 p.m. The race takes the green flag Saturday evening at 6:05 p.m.