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24H Le Mans

WeatherTech Racing Finalizes GTE-Am Lineup

Andlauer, Merrill, MacNeil team up in WeatherTech Racing Porsche for 24H Le Mans…

Photo: WeatherTech Racing

WeatherTech Racing has finalized its GTE-Am driver lineup for the 24 Hours of Le Mans with Julien Andlauer and Thomas Merrill joining team regular Cooper MacNeil.

After contesting last year’s race in the GTE-Pro class alongside Earl Bamber and Laurens Vanthoor, MacNeil will now share a Porsche 911 RSR-19 in the Am category with two different driving partners.

2018 GTE-Am class winner Andlauer is the leading professional gun in the No. 79 WeatherTech entry, which is being prepared by Proton Competition.

Merrill, meanwhile, is the designated Bronze-rated driver and is set for his Le Mans debut as the only rookie in the lineup.

The 36-year-old Californian currently competes in Trans-Am, while last year he took part in the IMSA Michelin Endurance Cup driving for LMP2 team WIN Autosport.

Merrill has already sampled the Porsche 911 RSR-19 and is set to gain further mileage at next weekend’s test day.

“It’s been a lifelong goal for me to compete in this race, and I can’t wait to seize the opportunity,” he said.

“It’s an honor to join WeatherTech Racing. I live just down the road from WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca. Together with Proton, the pedigree of this team is undeniable, I think we will be a really strong entry.

“I drove the Porsche RSR for the first time, and it was a special experience.

“I was raised on the Porsche brand, both my parents raced with the Porsche Club of America during my childhood, and it’s always been a dream to drive a contemporary RSR.”

MacNeil added: “I am really looking forward to my eighth Le Mans. The GTE-Am class is looking as competitive as it has ever been with 23 entries.

“Julien is a real pro and we have run together in the first two IMSA WeatherTech events this year.

“Thomas is a fast Bronze driver who is new to the race, but with my experience, Julien, and the crew at Proton Competition we will get him up to speed very quickly.

“I had the opportunity to get some laps in our Coca-Cola Porsche 911 RSR at Road America last weekend to help get prepared for Le Mans. I am looking forward to having another strong run at the biggest sports car race in the world in three weeks.”

WeatherTech Racing appeared on the 24 Hours of Le Mans entry list with Andlauer, MacNeil and Gianluca Giraudi, however the latter is no longer involved in the project.

It is understood that the WeatherTech operation’s No. 79 Porsche will not race in a Coca-Cola livery next month.

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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