Scuderia Closes 2019 IMSA Season at Road Atlanta
Scuderia Corsa enters the final race of the 2019 IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship season Oct. 9-12 with a championship on the line.
The No. 63 WeatherTech Ferrari takes on the 10-hour Petit Le Mans at MICHELIN Raceway Road Atlanta as the final installment of the Michelin Endurance Cup. WeatherTech Racing Driver Cooper MacNeil, Ferrari Factory Driver Toni Vilander and Scuderia Corsa veteran Jeff Westphal sit three points out of the lead in second place. Only seven points separate the top five of the Michelin Endurance Cup in the GT Daytona Class, enhancing the already pressure laced race. Scuderia Corsa will place extra precaution on qualifying to ensure the No. 63 has an opportunity to at least lead if not win the overall race as points are received in time segments throughout the competition.
Michelin Raceway has received many facelifts since the WeatherTech SportsCar Championship series last visited the track. Along with a new name, fans will behold a new Media Center that looms across from the main pit lane. The Media Center pedestrian bridge that connects both paddocks on either side of the front stretch has also been rebuilt. The 12 turn, 2.54-mile course remains the same layout drivers have grown both fond and frustrated with over the years.
MacNeil is ensuring he is ultra-focused on the win as he plays double duty commuting between races over the week.
“I’m really looking forward to getting things going at Petit Le Mans,” MacNeil said. “We have a strong car and good momentum going into the race having been on the podium the last two races as well as winning Petit last year. It will be a very busy week for me as I will be commuting back and forth between the SCCA Runoffs at VIR and Petit Le Mans at Road Atlanta. The race in Atlanta ends at 10pm Saturday and my race at VIR starts at 9:15am Sunday. It’s going to be afun weekend!”
For Vilander his past experience and the growing strength of the team has him positive a good result is in his grasp.
“We have been constantly improving during the year,” Vilander said. “We have learned a few things and it is working on track. We have a good trio of drivers for the endurance races. We are really looking strong and feeling strong coming into this season ending race. I have had some really good races at Road Atlanta as well. I have won twice in the GTLM Class, so I am ready. The season has gone by so fast; it has been a nice experience racing with Cooper and Scuderia Corsa.”
For Jeff Westphal setup will determine the outcome of the race as unforeseen weather has played a part in many Petit Le Mans.
“The set-up on the WeatherTech Ferrari will need to be spot on in terms of traction,” Westphal said. “The field and talent in GTD is extremely deep, so the margin between cars will likely be the long run averages and tire degradation. Combine that need with the history of rain showing up at some point will require our No. 63 WeatherTech Ferrari to be very forgiving with its traction in order to have a competitive car for the 10-hour event. The win last year is the toughest result to live up to, but the Scuderia Corsa guys have a history of being strong at this event. I think the key will be the decision making over 10-hours, keeping the nose clean but not being too complacent.”
The weekend begins Thursday, Oct. 10 with three practice sessions including the fan-favorite night practice. Friday, Oct. 11 includes one final practice session before WeatherTech SportsCar Championship qualifying brings the day to a close. The Motul Petit Le Mans begins Saturday, Oct. 12 at 12:05 p.m. ET. The race will be live-streamed in its entirety on IMSA.tv and aired live on NBC noon to 3 p.m. before switching to NBC Sports for the duration of 3-5:30 p.m. with the finish broadcast on NBCSN at 10:30 p.m. Follow all the action on Scuderia Corsa social media channels: Twitter @Scuderia_Corsa, Facebook at Scuderia Corsa, Instagram at @Scuderia.Corsa.