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MacNeil, WeatherTech Confirmed at Scuderia Corsa for 2018

Cooper MacNeil, WeatherTech confirmed at Scuderia Corsa for 2018…

Photo: John Dagys

As first revealed by Sportscar365 last month, Cooper MacNeil and WeatherTech will make the move to Scuderia Corsa next year, replacing newly crowned two-time GT Daytona class champion Christina Nielsen in the team’s Ferrari 488 GT3.

MacNeil will team up with Alessandro Balzan for the 2018 IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship season, in what’s expected to continue as a single-car GTD entry for the California-based squad.

The two-time ALMS GTC champion is no stranger to the Giacomo Mattioli-led operation, having driven for them in Ferrari Challenge, as well as also in this year’s 24 Hours of Le Mans, in a GTE-Am spec Ferrari (pictured above).

It will mark the third different team and car MacNeil has driven for in the last three years, following stints with Alex Job Racing, and most recently, Riley Motorsports.

“We raced this year with Scuderia Corsa at Le Mans and finished third co-driving with Bill Sweedler and Townsend Bell,” MacNeil said.

“I also race the full season of Ferrari Challenge with them and am in the hunt for the championship with two races left. It was a natural for us to transition into the Ferrari with our experience with the brand this season.

“I am looking forward to driving with Alessandro and we will be looking to equal the success the team had this year in IMSA and finish a couple places better at Le Mans too.”

Balzan returns to the team confident that the success of the past two seasons can be replicated alongside MacNeil.

“I am confident it is going to be another great IMSA WeatherTech season with Cooper in 2018,” Balzan said.

“He shows to be pretty comfortable behind the wheel of the Ferrari 488, with his great performance this year during the Ferrari Challenge Trofeo Pirelli Championship and scoring his first podium at the 24 Hours of Le Mans in the Scuderia Corsa 488 GTE.

“Cooper’s solid results are a strong basis to have a successful 2018 season and I can’t wait for Daytona.”

Nielsen’s Future Uncertain

Nielsen, who has teamed with Balzan for back-to-back GTD titles, faces an uncertain future in the WeatherTech Championship. 

The 25-year-old Dane, who has been a regular front-runner in the class since her full-season debut in 2015, told Sportscar365 that she currently has no firm deal in place to return next year.

She finished runner-up in the championship in 2015 with TRG prior to making the move to Scuderia Corsa last year.

John Dagys is the founder and Editor-in-Chief of Sportscar365 as well as the recently launched e-racing365 Web site for electric racing. Dagys spent eight years as a motorsports correspondent for FOXSports.com/SPEED Channel, and contributes to other publications worldwide. Contact John

44 Comments

44 Comments

  1. Edgar

    October 10, 2017 at 5:06 pm

    How many races before they complain about BoP issues with the Ferrari and switch to a Porsche/Merc/Audi/Lambo/Acura/Nissan/Lexus?

    • Steve

      October 10, 2017 at 5:37 pm

      😂😂😂

  2. B

    October 10, 2017 at 5:21 pm

    Christina should be able to handpick her drive in GTD.

  3. AS

    October 10, 2017 at 5:31 pm

    Isn’t wayne taylor likely to bring lambo gtd op?

    • Mike S.

      October 10, 2017 at 8:25 pm

      freiberg and christina in a Lambo do it.

      • Brad Landers

        October 10, 2017 at 11:33 pm

        Freiberg has experience with Lamborghini racing in ST. Her consistency was good there, but both she and Nielsen are silver rated. Most teams try to pair up a silver and a gold. Then again. Nielsen could be looking at a bump after this season. In any case, I’d love to see it.

        • Georg

          October 11, 2017 at 4:41 pm

          I don’t think she risks getting bumped to gold. She won a Pro-Am championship so she beat the other Ams. It would be another story if a Silver driver won races in GTLM.

  4. Prancing Horse

    October 10, 2017 at 5:45 pm

    Naracecar had this rumored in their entry list at the begining of Sept. Interesting to see it confirmed. http://nasportscar.com/2018-imsa-entry-list-tracker/

  5. someone

    October 10, 2017 at 5:55 pm

    Everywhere cooper goes he can’t seem to find a team that gives him a competitive car, after a while you have to come to the conclusion that he is the problem. But will he?

    • Jeff Wagner

      October 10, 2017 at 6:19 pm

      EVERYBODY figured it out 3-4 years ago. He has the EXACT SAME problem Danica Patrick has! It just isn’t right or fair, life just isn’t fair, and there is no justice in this world. This team will really appreciate “Pooper’s” natural driving abilities in 2018 after he put a fantastic driver out of a ride with his Dad’s money and ONLY that. At least Gunnar’s out of a Full-Time ride, It’s great to see “Pooper” screw one of his own for once too! It’s almost ALWAYS ONLY drivers like Christina Nielsen that lose a ride due to talent lacking money guys.

  6. JorritVD

    October 10, 2017 at 5:55 pm

    Maybe Nielsen should drive the Callaway Corvette 🙂

    • Edgar

      October 10, 2017 at 6:16 pm

      Nielsen and Michael Cooper in a Callaway Corvette!

    • JohnZ

      October 10, 2017 at 6:18 pm

      Thank you for contributing to the site’s Callaway Corvette commentary quota.

      • Jeff Wagner

        October 10, 2017 at 6:26 pm

        I DON’T understand what the obsession is with CALLAWAY! I LOVE Corvettes too but some people need to broaden their tastes and focus. Take a deep breath and look around.

        • Binky

          October 10, 2017 at 6:45 pm

          It may just be 1-2 dudes fixated on the ‘forbidden fruit’ aspect, but posting under many different usernames.

          Not too different from those who want to see GT3 Cadillacs in Europe or Jaguars in the US. The Vette guys just spend more time on this site.

        • Edgar

          October 10, 2017 at 7:12 pm

          We shall take a shot every time someone comments “Callaway Corvette” on S365. Goal is to see if we stay conscious longer than McNeil goes without switching rides.

  7. pierre

    October 10, 2017 at 6:54 pm

    disgusted

  8. E

    October 10, 2017 at 7:19 pm

    Rich boy’s daddy must be cuttin’ back a little bit.

    • David Chaste

      October 10, 2017 at 7:43 pm

      Cutting back?? Scuderia Corsa charges more than the other teams. And the price goes up with each championship you win with them. That’s why Bill Sweedler left after his first title with them, and only signed up for lemans, and why Christina is leaving after this 2nd title. She was paying a fortune since she already won a title with them last year.

      But in Scuderia Corsa’s defense they have won the driver’s title for the 3rd year in a row so their premium fees are justified.

      • Jeff Wagner

        October 10, 2017 at 10:24 pm

        NO! Christina is leaving because a kid that ALREADY owns two cars of his own came in with his Dad’s money and bought her ride!

        • David Chaste

          October 11, 2017 at 1:37 am

          Where do you think Christina gets her money ? Her also wealthy Daddy Lars Erik Nielsen. who owns an airline and a supercar building company. So she’s also super spoiled by Daddy.

          But its not that Cooper bought her ride. Scuderia Corsa could run two cars if needed. As the champion she has 2 pay more for a third season because the team helped her win 2 titles. She said so herself that it’s because the fees her high.

          But as a newcomer to the team Cooper does not have to pay as much as her. But scuderia corsa is supposedly still premium fare only.

          • David is a moron

            October 11, 2017 at 7:23 am

            No, Scuderia Corse has said they will stay a single car operation. It was always if he was in, she was out. There was never a he’ll come in and we’ll add a car, EVERY reporter has said the same thing so I’m willing to go with probably the truth.

            But hey, you seem to be the sportscar ‘expert’

          • Travis McBee

            October 11, 2017 at 7:37 am

            Moron, you spelt it wrong, Corsa*. He wasn’t saying that they’re going to add an extra car, he put it that they’d be willing to do so if the funding was there. Helps if you read…

          • Jeff Wagner

            October 12, 2017 at 12:29 am

            You know what David??? 1. Christina has ABOVE average ability and has won the GTD title 2 years in a row. 2. Christina has NOT blamed just about EVERY car since the Model “T” for piss poor barely average driving instead of looking in the mirror. 3. Christina has not taken money to another team (while ALREADY owning 2 race ready cars) and bumped the past 2 years champion out of a ride. 4. David Chaste (McNeil) keep cheering for your son!

  9. Mike S.

    October 10, 2017 at 8:23 pm

    Wow politics and money do win. She seems cool and she better get a good ride. She deserves it.

    • Jeff Wagner

      October 10, 2017 at 10:21 pm

      Damn right! She’s in Racing because of her ABILITY not money, unlike “Pooper” McNeil!

      • Georg

        October 11, 2017 at 4:54 pm

        Her ABILITY + she also funded the entire operation for the last two years…

        Yes, the team probably switched to WeatherTech because they pay more but Christina pays per season more than a regular person earns in a lifetime, so it’s not like they dropped a pro here.

        Don’t get me wrong, I like Christina and feel sad that she lost the ride after winning two years in a row. Great achievement in itself. But I’m sure she’ll just go to another team and make a deal and come back defending her title.

        • Jeff Wagner

          October 12, 2017 at 12:49 am

          But you would agree there IS a HUGE difference in a driver that is funding that: 1. Is above average driving ability. 2. Is a good sport. 3. Is not constantly blithering in the media blaming every car for lack of results.

          • Georg

            October 12, 2017 at 3:39 pm

            Yes, I agree. I said above that I like Christina.

            I just pointed out that she actually pays huge sums of money to race instead of earning that ride with her ability like you wrote.

            She’s definitely one of the best (paying) Silvers.

  10. vanillachinchilla

    October 10, 2017 at 9:05 pm

    i’m just here to read your comments guys lol

    • Jon

      October 10, 2017 at 9:22 pm

      Quality comments here. Proud of everyone realizing Cooper is junk

  11. Mark

    October 10, 2017 at 9:33 pm

    Cooper won’t win there either and the cryin and whinin from him and his dad will just move to Ferrari. Daddy’s little boy money won’t get it done there either. He can’t even win a club race against complete amateurs.

    • Jeff Wagner

      October 10, 2017 at 10:36 pm

      I wish GTD would be merged with GTLM in 2019 so there would be less money drivers, and less PRO drivers out of a ride! It would be the best time to do it as GTD gets closer every year and they go to Michelin then so their pace will rise 2-5 seconds a lap closer, BUT GTLM times will be stagnant as they are already choosing to run Michelin now! It would ALSO be MUCH easier for the casual fan to follow the race! I very strongly feel it would be a wise move.

      • Brad Landers

        October 10, 2017 at 11:37 pm

        There’s enough factory meddling in GTD as is. Separating GTLM and GTD is more about keeping GTD affordable than it is about performance separation. Hopefully GTE/GTLM gets a bit of a bump with PC out of the mix. GT3/GTD is right on their heels lately.

        • Jeff Wagner

          October 12, 2017 at 12:54 am

          I know, respectfully that’s why I want that. GTD has gotten so close to GTLM anyways in pace especially going on Michelin in 2019. And there will be no more B.S. with manufacturers.

      • Thomas

        October 11, 2017 at 10:00 pm

        Where’s the money going to come from? Let’s look at why it wont’t work:
        1. GTE/GTLM cars are more expensive to own and operate. FACT
        2. GTD cars are predominantly funded by the amateur driver/wealthy businessman. FACT.
        3. Without incentive to win, most Amateurs leave. FACT. (If you don’t believe me check was has happened to Blancplain Endurance Series and how they plan to alleviate the problem).
        4. That means less GT cars and less drives available for professional drivers.

        GTD is a BOP class so there’s no guarantee that the cars will be any faster. If the tyre is faster then the cars can be slowed by horsepower.

    • David Chaste

      October 11, 2017 at 2:02 am

      Cooper was a champion in the ALMS GTC while paired with Bleekemolen.

      You cant completely fault him for this year because Keating was also leading the championship in the other Benz but when they got bop’ed they fell off to the point that even Bleekemolen could do nothing.

      • David is a moron

        October 11, 2017 at 7:26 am

        Yeah, do nothing=finish second in driver, team and constructors championships. Yup the MB was BOP’d out of competitiveness.

        You really are a giant, don’t pay attention or know anything troll.

        • Travis McBee

          October 11, 2017 at 7:38 am

          Or that you aren’t paying attention to what everyone else is seeing. Oh wait, morons don’t know anything…

        • Mike

          October 11, 2017 at 12:01 pm

          > Yup the MB was BOP’d out of competitiveness.

          And yet, IMSA gave it sweeping improvements for Petit – air restrictor, refueling time, and fuel capacity.

          The Benz was OP at the beginning of the season, nerfed to hell in the middle-late of the season, and maybe slightly OP to right on at Petit.

          But the weak period most definitely cost Bleekemoelen a driver’s title.

      • Jeff Wagner

        October 12, 2017 at 1:04 am

        HERE we go AGAIN! David “(McNeil)” Chaste defending his son and #1 driver! Do you think Bleekemolen may have had just a little to do with the ALMS GTC championship? We could knickname name him “Andy Wallace” for carrying the driving load on his shoulders!

  12. D.O.G

    October 10, 2017 at 9:33 pm

    How soon will Balzan realize that his co driver needs to git gud.

  13. juneracer

    October 11, 2017 at 7:48 am

    GTD programs need to be funded. if you can’t fund the entire program with paid drivers and some sponsorship they bring or find it just doesn’t make sense. Teams want to make money not spend money. winning a GTD championship isn’t about the AM its about the Pro. the AM just needs to stay in the mix and not crash on their stints. unless you’re a ringer AM, which she isn’t, there’s not a market for you as a driver…we’ll see…

  14. Bob

    October 11, 2017 at 2:23 pm

    I mean, if you cant win with AJR and Riley then WFT!??
    What happened to the #50 Porsche at Petit? First car out. Never mentioned on tv.

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