Scuderia Corsa had its strongest run of the season in IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship competition on Sunday at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca, with Cooper MacNeil and Toni Vilander taking second in the Monterey SportsCar Championship.
The No. 63 WeatherTech Ferrari 488 GT3 ran in contention throughout the race on the way to the runner-up finish, which marks the fourth podium finish of the IMSA season for the duo and best result of the year so far.
Starting the race in third, MacNeil needed only 10 laps to pass championship leader Trent Hindman in the Andretti Hairpin to take second. Balancing the pace with tire degradation on the notoriously slippery track surface, the Ferrari driver held that position for the remainder of his 45-minute stint.
“It’s not easy in GTD, which in my opinion the level of competition here is the toughest competition in the championship, and in the top three in the world,” MacNeil said. “To get on the podium, you have to have all of your homework done and all of your stars aligned. Otherwise, you struggle big time. We had a good car all weekend, it rolled off really strong on Friday. Tire degradation is always the biggest problem here. We just managed to put in a good lap early in qualifying to save the tires, so I had decent tires in the race. I ended up moving up to second early in my stint and then, it was up to Toni to bring it home.”
Vilander was given a boost by the Scuderia Corsa pit crew when he took over. While MacNeil pitted with a one-second advantage over the third-place competitor, the pit stop exchange saw Vilander emerge with a 12-second gap over that challenger – and Vilander then pulled away.
“This is such a competitive field, and when Cooper qualified well yesterday I knew we had a good chance,” Vilander said. “Cooper drove one of his best weekends ever. Laguna Seca is a demanding race track. It’s hard to get a good flying lap, and it’s also hard to keep the tires alive over a 40-lap stint. I could see a lot of cars in big trouble, so I was trying to maintain what we had. Towards the end of the race, I was hoping there wouldn’t be a caution so that we coud keep P2, but on the other hand I wanted to close on the leading car!”
The field ran at a relentless pace as the race never slowed for a safety car period. With the team continuing its late season charge, the countdown to the season-finale is already on.
“We are having several good results in a row now, and I’m looking forward to Atlanta,” Vilander added. “We did do some testing there, so we know how to start the weekend there. It was a struggle at the beginning of the year, but it’s proving to be nice and I’m really happy.”
The IMSA WeatherTech Championship season will end at Road Atlanta with Petit Le Mans on Saturday, Oct. 12.