Cooper MacNeil will take the start of Saturday’s Northeast Grand Prix at Lime Rock Park from the fourth row after setting the seventh fastest time in qualifying for Scuderia Corsa. The high-speed Connecticut track is hosting the first of two GT-only races on the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar championship schedule.
MacNeil ran a best lap of 51.719-seconds in the No. 63 WeatherTech Ferrari 488 GT3 that will be co-driven by Toni Vilander. Underscoring the level of competition on offer in the GTD class, the best lap time was a scant 0.263 seconds behind the pole position.
“I think GTD is the most competitive class in IMSA, whether the prototypes are here or not,” MacNeil said. “We have a good car. We made an adjustment right before qualifying, and it was good but just not enough. It so close that two tenths and you are back in eighth. But we’ve got a really good WeatherTech Ferrari, especially with tire deg so I think we can be strong late in our runs. It’s going to be hot humid hard day but we are up for it.”
Vilander is looking forward to the challenge on the short circuit.
“I’ve had good runs here at Lime Rock,” Vilander said. “This track is a big challenge, with the short lap times and it’s really hard on both the tires and the drivers. It’s going to be a hard race. When you’re in the car, your full focus is on the driving. But as soon as the car stops in the pits and you jump out of the car, that’s when you feel the heat. Physically, it’s a big challenge.”
The two-hour, 40-minute Northeast Grand Prix starts at 3:10 p.m. A delayed same-day broadcast on NBCSN begins at 9:30 p.m. ET