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MacNeil: No Team Orders for WeatherTech GTD Pro Entries

All three WeatherTech-sponsored GTD Pro entries to not be impacted by team orders in Rolex 24…

Photo: WeatherTech Racing

There will be no team orders between the WeatherTech Racing Mercedes-AMG GT3 Evos and Porsche 911 GT3 R in the Rolex 24 at Daytona according to Cooper MacNeil, who is set to pull double duty for the first time in his driving career.

MacNeil, who claimed three GT Le Mans class victories last year, including the final race of the category at Motul Petit Le Mans, will split his driving time in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship season-opener between the No. 97 Mercedes and his full-season No. 79 Porsche entry, both competing in the GTD Pro class.

An additional Mercedes has been entered in the class by a joint effort from Proton and Multimatic, although it is only sponsored by WeatherTech and not directly involved with MacNeil’s racing program.

MacNeil won Motul Petit Le Mans courtesy of a last-lap reversal of positions between the two WeatherTech Porsche 911 RSR-19s that were running 1-2 in class at the time in the race.

When asked if team orders could be deployed again in the Rolex 24, MacNeil said “no, not here.”

“I’m driving both cars,” he told Sportscar365. “I wasn’t driving both cars at Petit.”

The No. 15 Mercedes, which features the three-driver lineup of Dirk Mueller, Austin Cindric and Patrick Assenheimer, will also have the chance to go for the class win.

“We’re just the title sponsor of the livery of that car,” MacNeil said. “We’re not funding any of the race itself for that car. We don’t have the jurisdiction, so to say, to do that.

“If they win, great, good for them. It would be nice to have any WeatherTech car on the center of the podium, I just hope it’s one of the two I’m driving.”

MacNeil said he’s “super excited” to be pulling double duty for the first time and sees benefits in driving cars from two different GT3 manufacturers.

“The idea is to double our chances at winning the race,” he explained. “I think having two different makes is important as well.

“Obviously driving two different cars of the same manufacturer doesn’t make that much sense. 

“Driving a Mercedes and a Porsche, hopefully you have a decent BoP in one of the two. That’s what we all hope for.

“I’ve never had double duty before in a race, especially a race this big. It will be interesting. 

“We just have to stay out of trouble and get my minimum drive time out of the way and let the other guys [focus] and let the strategy take it away from there.”

While Ben Keating, the only other double-duty driver for the race, is driving cars entered in two different classes, MacNeil said they didn’t consider that possibility.

“With 22 cars in GTD, I honestly prefer having both cars in the same class,” he said.

“At the end of the day, winning the Rolex 24 — in any class is difficult. Then trying to do it in two different classes, I don’t think that’s very realistic. 

“We’re kind of putting all of our eggs in one basket with both cars in the same class. 

“For me that was the decision we wanted to go with. Especially being in Pro, you don’t have to have certain driver lineups.

“You can hire the best people in the business and you don’t have to worry about driver ratings.

“That really opened options for us. I think we’ve got some pretty good lineups in both cars.”

MacNeil will be scoring season-long points in the No. 79 Porsche he’ll share with Matteo Cairoli, Alessio Picariello and factory driver Julien Andlauer, who will be his full-time co-driver. 

“I’ll be doing the full season in the Porsche, so we’ll be scoring points in that car,” he said. “If we win the race in the Mercedes, great, I really don’t care about points at that point.”

John Dagys is the founder and Editor-in-Chief of Sportscar365. Dagys spent eight years as a motorsports correspondent for and SPEED Channel and has contributed to numerous other motorsports publications worldwide. Contact John

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