jeudi 24 mars 2016

WeatherTech Racing Porsche to run 24 Hours of Le Mans


WeatherTech Racing drivers Cooper MacNeil (Hinsdale, Ill.), Leh Keen (Charleston, S.C.) and Marc Miller (Holland, Mi.) will drive the No. 89 WeatherTech Racing Porsche 911 RSR LM GTE AM in the 24 Hours of Le Mans to run June 18-19 at the Circuit de la Sarthe in Le Mans, France.

WeatherTech Racing is partnering with German Porsche stalwarts Proton Competition for its return to Le Mans. The all-American WeatherTech Racing trio has experience at the twice-around-the-clock French classic race. MacNeil will be running the race for the third time. His last run was in 2014 where he was a part of a two-man team that finished fifth in the LM GTE Pro class. Keen is running Le Mans for a third time, having finished second in 2010. Miller competed last year in a Viper and was unclassified when the car retired on lap 304. The WeatherTech Racing Porsche RSR will run on Michelin tires.

“This will be my third time doing the 24 Hours of Le Mans,” MacNeil said. “My first time I was driving a Corvette and finished just outside of the top ten; it was quite the learning experience. My second time doing the race was an experience I will absolutely never forget. Jeroen Bleekemolen and I finished fifth in GT Pro driving an antiquated car, compared to the competition, with all odds against us. We were a privateer team going up against strictly factory efforts with factory drivers while we were in an older car racing against the best in the world with one less man. Every time I got out of the car I would get some food and then lay down to sleep. As soon as my head hit the pillow there was a knock at the door for me to go back to the pits and prepare for my next stint in the car. I did over 11 hours in the car and the Dutchman did the rest. It was awesome. However, this year, we will have Marc Miller join Leh and I. Marc has done a stellar job in a race car over the last year and we are very excited to welcome him to our team.  Porsche is as reliable as it gets and I am extremely excited to partner with them for my next Le Mans effort.  They are the best in the business and I am looking forward to driving the RSR. A WeatherTech Porsche run by Proton with myself, Leh Keen, and Marc Miller driving is a recipe for a win, and that is exactly what we intend to do come June.”

Keen likes the car and driver combination for the WeatherTech effort.

“In sports sometimes there is no doubt the ultimate for any team or person, the Super Bowl for example, or the World Series. Well for Sports Car racing it is no doubt Le Mans,” Keen said. “Easily the most important endurance race of the year! Although most of my career has been in a Porsche and I have finished second in class at Le Mans, I actually haven’t driven a Porsche at Le Mans. So it will be a privilege to drive a Porsche, the most successful manufacturer, at La Sarthe, especially since the 2015 spec RSR is a very competitive car! With Marc coming on board as a Bronze and his experience at Le Mans with Cooper’s familiarity as a Silver, I am really happy to be teaming up with them in the WeatherTech Racing RSR. This is a strong all-American line up. My last time at Le Mans was 2011. But my best memory is when I finished second in GT in 2010. That podium celebration is the best in the world. And we are going to do everything we can to get back up there in June.”

Miller is excited at the proposition of running a Porsche at Le Mans.

“I have been racing a Porsche this season in the IMSA Continental Tire Series and enjoy being a part of the Porsche program,” Miller said. “When I think about Le Mans, I think about the 917′s and 911′s that have enjoyed so much success. It is incredible to have the opportunity to say that I will have raced a Porsche at the most storied race in the world. I have a huge amount of respect for Cooper and Leh and the entire WeatherTech Racing program. They have been front runners in the series and both also have experience at Le Mans, making this year even more focused and exciting. Porsche always has a chance. Last year Proton was runner up in class. It really does come down to running a clean, trouble-free race with no mistakes. Certainly easier said than done, but Porsche will no doubt provide a great machine to help us in that task.”

Photo: Porsche