ALTON, Va. (Oct. 5, 2013) - GTC Championship Point leaders Cooper MacNeil and Jeroen Bleekemolen finished second in the GTC class in American Le Mans Series Oak Tree Grand Prix today at Virginia International Raceway (VIR).
MacNeil (Hinsdale, Ill.) started from the front row in the No. 22 WeatherTech Porsche. On lap eight, the first of the race's three cautions came out to remove debris from the race track. This forced the field to bunch back up. When the race went green on lap 10, MacNeil had to navigate some traffic and the result shuffled him back to fifth place. Knowing that he is competing for the GTC Drivers' Championship, MacNeil did not want to take any unnecessary chances before handing the car over to his co-driver Bleekemolen.
On lap 27, MacNeil was in fifth when he brought the No. 22 Alex Job Racing-prepared Porsche to pit lane for four tires, fuel and a driver change. At that point, Bleekemolen got in.
Bleekemolen took over and immediately started making up ground. He went from P5 to P3 in just six laps. In fact, he moved to second place and was less than a second behind the leader with about an hour to go in the race. It looked like Bleekemolen had a realistic shot at giving the team it's third win of the season. But, Bleekemolen could not quite catch and pass the No. 66 Porsche and subsequently finished second.
"We had a really good car - very consistent," Bleekemolen said of his stint. "The pit stops were great and we moved up because of it. The guys did an awesome job of moving me up. It was not a perfect race because we did not win. But, it was nearly perfect. With a longer stint, we would have had a small chance to catch up to Damien [Faulkner] and fight him. But, they were strong all weekend. But, for the Championship, it is a great result. We'll take it."
"Cooper and Jeroen drove a great race today," team owner Alex Job said. "They were both very consistent and that's what helps win Championships. And, the crew gave them a really competitive car and made some great pit stops. While we finished second, which is a very good result, we have to keep the big picture in mind. We are competing for both the Drivers' and the Team Championship - both of which we have the opportunity to win at Petit in a couple of weeks. Overall, it was a pretty good day."
"We came into this weekend with a four point lead and we're leaving with a 13 points," MacNeil said of the Championship hunt. "That's what we came here to do. We're going into Petit with a good lead, which is good for a Championship repeat."
MacNeil and Bleekemolen lead the Drivers' Championship with 131 points, followed by Henrique Cisneros (118), and Nelson Canache and Spencer Pumpelly (115). Alex Job Racing has 131 points in the Team Championship. The team trails Flying Lizards Motorsports (133) by just two points with one race remaining.
The team will travel to Road Atlanta for the American Le Mans Series season finale Oct. 16-19. Petit Le Mans will also be the final race for the American Le Mans Series after 14 seasons.
Alex Job Racing is one of the most successful teams in sports car racing with 70 wins (since 1995); including two Rolex 24 GT Class wins in 1999 and 2013. This record is supported by 48 pole positions and 106 podium finishes. The team has won four championships (GTC 2012, GT in 2004, 2003 and 2002) complimented by their two GT class wins at Le Mans. The team also boasts nine Sebring 12-hour wins.
The ALMS GTC category is specific to one of the most popular factory produced racing cars in the world, the Porsche 911 GT3 Cup. Developed for Porsche's one-make series around the world, the new version of the Porsche 911 GT3 Cup is based on the road-going 911 GT3 RS. The power unit featured in the new 911 GT3 Cup is largely identical to the production engine of the 911 GT3 RS with the same output of 450 bhp and the same maximum engine speed of 8,500 rpm.