Scuderia Corsa braved changing and challenging weather conditions throughout the final hour to take a fourth-place finish in the IMSA Road Race Showcase at Road America, the fourth round of the 2020 IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship season.
Cooper MacNeil and Toni Vilander co-drove the white No. 63 WeatherTech Ferrari 488 GT3 EVO 2020, barely missing a podium finish in the tough GT Daytona class. The finish comes after a second-place result at Sebring International two weeks ago.
MacNeil qualified sixth and held that position, driving without any problems throughout his 50-minute opening stint at his home circuit as the sprint race played out in near-ideal conditions. Vilander took over during the opening round of pit stops and rejoined the race in eighth.
“I was lucky, I got the laps in the dry,” MacNeil said. “The start was clean, the only real moment I had was going side-by-side through the Kink, which is the most dangerous part of the track, but it turned out ok. When Toni got in, all hell broke loose.”
Vilander was up to fifth when the complexion of the event changed dramatically as heavy rain hit the 4.048-mile circuit with 52 minutes remaining. The deluge struck midway through the second round of GTD pit stops. Vilander had yet to make his stop at that time, and entered the pits moments later when the track went yellow to switch to rain tires.
Vilander remained fifth when he returned to the circuit, with IMSA calling a red flag to pull the field in to pit lane to wait for better conditions with just over 40 minutes remaining in the two-hour, 40-minute event.
Racing finally resumed with less than eight minutes remaining on the race clock. With conditions ranging widely from corner to corner around the huge circuit, Vilander got up to run third briefly. After losing out on the podium spot in the closing lap, Vilander’s time to fight back was called as a full course caution froze the field to the finish as rain intensified.
“It was an exciting race,” Vilander said. “We were not super-fast in the dry conditions but obviously we tried to optimize everything we had. This one manufacturer in our category is in a league of their own. The rain made it exciting in the end, our final pit stop was actually perfect. Unfortunately, there was just too much water on track. I couldn’t risk the WeatherTech Ferrari, with the low visibility. Instead of fighting like crazy for the podium I kept my speed and we closed it out fourth in the end.”
“I think finishing the race fourth was pretty good considering how we started the weekend; we weren’t on the pace,” said MacNeil. “The timing of the last pit stop was perfect. That was a huge call by the Scuderia Corsa team. The guys read the radar perfectly. When we put the rain tires on the rain came. Fourth is as good as we could have hoped for this weekend. So, thank you to the team, let’s go into the next one.”
The next action for the WeatherTech Ferrari will be the GT Challenge at Virginia International Raceway on Sunday, August 23.