After a season of ups and downs, Jeroen Bleekemolen and Cooper MacNeil were crowned as the final American Le Mans Series GTC champions following last weekend’s series-ending Petit Le Mans.
The Alex Job Racing duo, along with third driver Sebastiaan Bleekemolen, drove to a fourth place finish in the 1,000-mile/10-hour enduro after its WeatherTech-sponsored Porsche 911 GT3 Cup car had problems refiring during a late-race pit stop.
Nonetheless, the result was good enough to give the drivers each their second ALMS GTC titles, including back-to-back championships for 21-year-old MacNeil.
“The first championship last year was sweet but this one is even sweeter because of how tough the competition was this year,” he said. “Pretty much every car that was out there racing against us could win. We managed to win the championship again, which was great. I couldn’t have done it without Jeroen, WeatherTech and the Alex Job guys. It feels great.”
For Bleekemolen, who claimed the 2010 GTC drivers’ championship with Black Swan Racing team owner Tim Pappas, this year’s title run came as one of the most competitive yet.
He and MacNeil broke through for only two class wins in 2013, while up against some of the best Porsche drivers in the world, including Bleekemolen’s close friend and teammate Sean Edwards, who was killed in a testing accident in the run-up to the Petit weekend.
“It’s hard to celebrate right now but we had a good year,” Bleekemolen said. “We had hoped to have finished it with a win but at least we took the championship, which was great. We started by winning Sebring.
“We won the biggest race of the season but it’s always nice to have a good finish at Petit. The guys did a great job. We just had a really nice season. There were some issues that cost us a lot of points that were not in our hands. It’s great to take another championship.”
Next year, both Bleekemolen and MacNeil will be rivals on the track, as the Dutchman has signed to drive in Riley Technologies’ GT Daytona class Viper GT3-R with Ben Keating, while MacNeil is set to return to AJR with a to-be-announced co-driver, also in GTD.