The car carrying the backing of the title sponsor in IMSA’s top series has been withdrawn for the remainder of the season, in a Balance of Performance dispute.
Alex Job Racing confirmed late Wednesday that the No. 22 WeatherTech Racing Porsche 911 GT3 R will not take part in any further WeatherTech SportsCar Championship races this season.
The AJR-entered Porsche will be absent from the GT Daytona class grid, beginning with next weekend’s Michelin GT Challenge at VIR.
Cooper MacNeil, the son of WeatherTech founder and CEO David MacNeil, had been the team’s full-season driver, and currently sits eighth in the GTD championship after the car struggled for the majority of the season.
MacNeil’s longtime co-driver, Leh Keen, was let go by the team prior to the last round at Road America, which saw two WeatherTech-entered Porsches in a one-off appearance by David MacNeil and Gunnar Jeannette in the No. 77 car.
The root cause of the car’s withdrawal is over Balance of Performance. IMSA confirmed the BoP tables for VIR on Wednesday, with no changes made to the Porsche.
“The decision to stop racing was rooted purely on performance and the future prospects for the Porsche at the remaining tracks on the 2016 schedule,” team owner Alex Job said.
“The conclusion was based upon the performance in direct comparison to the competition over the past eight GTD races and the possible variations of how the BoP could play out over the next three races with our engineering team and IMSA.”
Alex Job’s No. 23 Team Seattle/The Heart of Racing-backed Porsche of Mario Farnbacher and Alex Riberas, who are currently fifth in the GTD points standings with a class win to its credit, will continue in the series.
Riberas is coming off the car’s fourth class pole of the season, while the No. 73 Park Place Motorsports Porsche of Joerg Bergmeister and Patrick Lindsey finished second in class at Road America.
IMSA released the following statement regarding the car’s withdrawal late Wednesday:
“IMSA was recently informed of the decision to suspend participation of the No. 22 Alex Job Racing entry in GTD class competition of the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship,” the statement read.
“One of the most significant and defining elements of sports car racing is the variety of cars, brands and technologies within our highly competitive GT categories.
“The IMSA Technical Committee was established to professionally manage the complex Balance of Performance (BoP) process to ensure fair and close competition among the many participating brands and teams.
“The committee operates with a transparent, data-driven process which closely analyzes both actual race performance and related observation factors.
“We are disappointed the No. 22 car will not be competing at our next event, but remain committed to our ongoing process.”
David MacNeil, meanwhile, has said he remains committed to the sponsorship of the series.
“This is a competition decision as it relates to the No. 22 WeatherTech Racing Porsche team in IMSA,” MacNeil said. “We make marketing decisions based upon what is best for our business.”