MacNeil Overcomes Elements in Monza to Secure Race 1 Victory, Ferrari Challenge Championship
Friday, November 2, 2018

Showcasing skill and experience, Cooper MacNeil navigated a slippery racetrack in Monza on Friday to secure his ninth Ferrari Challenge North America victory of 2018 and as a result, his first championship in the series.

The title has been a long time coming for MacNeil, who began racing part time in Ferrari Challenge in 2011 and ran a full season for the first time in 2017. In addition to the nine wins through 13 rounds in 2018 – one of which he was forced to miss due to a conflicting IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship race – MacNeil also owns nine pole positions and seven fastest laps with one race remaining.

“Anytime you win a championship, it’s fantastic and the Ferrari Challenge championship is no exception,” MacNeil said. “There’s some strong competition that kept the pressure on all year and didn’t make it easy for me. We had to work for it, especially with missing a race.”

Starting from pole on Friday in the No. 263 WeatherTech Racing Ferrari 488 Challenge for Scuderia Corsa-Ferrari of Beverly Hills, MacNeil led the entire race which began in dry conditions. Shortly after the 30-minute race started, rain began to fall at the historic 3.6-mile, 11-turn Autodromo Nazionale Monza.

WeatherTech Racing was one of the few teams that chose not to pit for wet tires, which allowed MacNeil to hold his lead. The decision proved to be crucial towards MacNeil’s championship run, as Peter Ludwig – runner-up to MacNeil in the championship standings, currently 230-194 – made the same decision and finished second in the race, which was called with two minutes left on the clock after an incident brought out the yellow flag just prior.

“It’s a 30-minute race so if you pit, it’s over, plain and simple,” MacNeil explained. “Had it been an hour-long race, yeah maybe we would’ve thought about coming in and putting tires on and then trying to catch our way back up.

“I knew it was only a matter of time before someone went off, so I just had to tiptoe. A couple times I almost went off because you’re racing and you want to push, but ended up never putting a wheel off and had zero issues.”

With the final round for Ferrari Challenge North America scheduled for tomorrow at 11:40 a.m. ET and the World Final with Ferrari Challenge series around the globe on Sunday at 6:40 a.m. ET, championship celebrations are currently on hold for MacNeil and WeatherTech Racing.

“I’m staying focused,” said MacNeil. “We’ve got another qualifying at 11 in the morning and then another race. We’ll celebrate when it’s all over.”

Both remaining races will be streamed live on www.live.ferrari.com.

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