Toni Vilander made a pass for third position with only two laps remaining in the GT Challenge at Virginia International Raceway on Sunday to take third place and give the No. 63 Scuderia Corsa WeatherTech Ferrari 488 GT3 its third podium finish of the 2019 IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship season.
“It feels good to be more competitive,” Vilander said. “In some places the other cars were a little bit stronger, but we had good pace. We have a good foundation to work from for the last two races of the season at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca, a home race, and the finale at Petit Le Mans.”
Vilander ran with the GTD leaders throughout the final hour of the race, ultimately taking the final podium position coming to the white flag. In the process, he recorded the fastest GTD lap of the race – 1 minute, 44.710-seconds.
“I have lots of respect to Scott Hargrove in the Porsche in that pass at the end,” Vilander said. “This time it was him, next time it might be me. There was good racing today – and a good podium finish for the WeatherTech Racing team!”
Co-driver Cooper MacNeil was one of two drivers to eschew a pit stop during a caution 20 minutes into the race. Second on the restart, MacNeil held that position for 12 laps and pulled away from the other GTD contenders before turning the white Ferrari over to Vilander at the 51-minute mark.
“It was a great way to end a trying weekend,” MacNeil said. “We had a bit of hiccup in qualifying, but were able to make up some spots early on as it is so tough to pass in this class. Toni did a great job to make the pass there on the restart to get us into third place. The Scuderia Corsa guys were strong in the pits and that helped with track position, too.”
The next action for the Scuderia Corsa Ferrari will be at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca on Sunday, Sept. 15, followed by the season-ending Petit Le Mans at Road Atlanta on Saturday, Oct. 12.
“I am looking forward to going to what we consider a home race at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca next,” MacNeil said. “It’s a track where we have been strong in the past.”