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European Le Mans Series

MacNeil to Contest Remaining Races with Proton/WeatherTech

MacNeil to dovetail IMSA GTLM program with ELMS races in WeatherTech Porsche…

Photo: Christophe Jouniaux/MPS Agency

Cooper MacNeil will join Proton Competition for the remaining European Le Mans Series rounds driving the No. 77 WeatherTech Racing Porsche 911 RSR-19.

The 28-year-old American will contest the four-hour ELMS races at the Red Bull Ring, Paul Ricard, Monza, Spa and Portimao alongside Proton team boss Christian Ried and Porsche FIA World Endurance Championship factory driver Gianmaria Bruni.

MacNeil’s ELMS part-season ride adds to his Proton-supported WeatherTech Racing Porsche entry into the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship’s GT Le Mans class.

He missed the opening round of the ELMS last month, with Jaxon Evans sharing the WeatherTech Porsche with Ried and Bruni at Barcelona, but will be present at the remaining rounds as part of his preparations for the 24 Hours of Le Mans in August.

The WeatherTech Racing Porsche is entered into the GTE-Pro category for the French endurance classic. MacNeil’s co-drivers have yet to be announced, with Ried and Bruni set to fulfill pre-existing commitments with their full-season WEC teams.

“I’m looking forward to doing the remaining ELMS races,” said MacNeil, who has never previously raced in ELMS.

“Unfortunately, I had to miss the first one due to a conflict, but I will be at the remaining five with Proton in the No. 77 WeatherTech Racing Porsche RSR with Gimmi and Christian.

“I am looking forward to learning some new tracks and getting more seat time in the 911 RSR.

“We came up with the idea to run ELMS based on the fact that there are three races before Le Mans in August.

“So, getting more seat time in the 911 RSR under ELMS race conditions is the best way to do it.

“It was an easy decision as there are no conflicts with either IMSA or Ferrari Challenge.

“This takes some of the pressure off of the team to travel to the U.S. for testing and all of the issues that brings.”

Whilst there are no date clashes, there are some tight turnarounds between MacNeil’s IMSA and ELMS programs including a visit to Spa in between the two legs of IMSA’s western swing to WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca and Long Beach.

The addition of a five-round ELMS program means that MacNeil is on course for a 26-race weekend schedule this year, factoring in his Ferrari Challenge and IMSA roles.

“We’ve had a good start in IMSA with the win at Sebring and we finished second in the first ELMS race,” commented Ried.

“We will run Le Mans together, so getting Cooper more seat time in the Porsche 911 RSR with a lot of the competition he will see on the track at La Sarthe will only help him.

“I am looking forward to sharing the car with him this summer in ELMS.”

Daniel Lloyd is a UK-based reporter for Sportscar365, covering the FIA World Endurance Championship, Fanatec GT World Challenge Europe powered by AWS and the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, among other series.

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