WeatherTech Racing has moved its 24 Hours of Le Mans entry from GTE-Am to GTE-Pro, confirming Jeff Segal alongside Toni Vilander and Cooper MacNeil in the No. 63 Ferrari 488 GTE car.
It will mark the first time the Scuderia Corsa-run team has competed in the top GTE class at Le Mans.
“We had a couple of very good Bronze drivers we were talking to, but with the COVID-19 pandemic and travel restrictions in different countries around the world, we didn’t have the 100 percent confidence that everyone could converge at Le Mans in September,” said MacNeil on the reason for the change.
“We had to make a decision. You can’t go to Le Mans with loose ends. We didn’t believe we could put the type of entry together that would be up to our standards.
“Jeff and Toni are well known to our team, and we have all driven together in the past.
“With the shortened Le Mans race week timetable, we felt our best chance for success is to go into the race with drivers who have raced together.”
The team finished third in GTE-Am last year in its return after a one-year hiatus.
Segal, who claimed top GTE-Am class honors at Le Mans in 2016 in GTE-Am in a Scuderia Corsa-entered Ferrari, competed with MacNeil the following year in the race, while Vilander has served as the team’s regular co-driver in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship for the past two seasons.
“The decision to run in the pro class was one that I wasn’t really expecting, but the more I think about it, the more I’m looking forward to the opportunity and to this great challenge ahead,” Segal said.
“Cooper has a history of running in the Pro class under some strange circumstances, and he came away with a really impressive top-five finish in that race.
“This year we will find ourselves competing against the very best GTE teams and drivers anywhere in the world-the other cars in the class are almost exclusively factory-backed efforts, so we have to be humble and recognize that we are arriving on unfamiliar turf, and with a big gap to close to these other teams.
“With that said, I’m looking forward to sharing the car with Toni and Cooper and seeing what we can do together with the Scuderia Corsa crew-you really never know how this race will unfold.
“Perhaps if we keep our noses clean and we stay smart and patient, we might be able to surprise some people at the end of the race!”
Vilander added: “Our driver lineup is very solid, and we will help Cooper to get the maximum speed out of the car.”
WeatherTech Racing’s move has resulted in a return to eight entries in GTE-Pro following the withdrawal of GEAR Racing’s Ferrari entry that initially also switched from GTE-Am.
Fellow American Ferrari squad Risi Competizione will be the only other non-factory effort in the class.