Tavares, FLA - Alex Job Racing's (AJR) Cooper MacNeil and Leh Keen are headed to Virginia International Raceway (VIR) with a healthy lead in the American Le Mans Series (ALMS) GTC Class and hope to clinch the championship at the VIR 250 to run at Virginia International Raceway (VIR), Sept.13-15.
MacNeil (Hinsdale, ILL) holds a 34 point lead over teammate Keen (Charleston, SC) heading into the penultimate race at VIR this weekend. The duo have put together an impressive season, posting two wins, Lime Rock and Road America (MacNeil and Bleekemolen), as well as standing on the podium in seven out of eight races.
MacNeil can clinch the GTC Championship this weekend by finishing fourth or better at VIR.
The team had the opportunity to test at VIR in June. The 3.27-mile, 17-turn natural road course located just north of Danville is always driver's favorite track.
"VIR is a great track because of how diverse it is," MacNeil said. "The track has just about every kind of turn. The Esses are flat-out. We hit the rev limiter in fifth gear, which is exciting. Then you come to the Oak Tree Turn and that is just about a hairpin. We have a good lead in the points, but we are not satisfied. The strategy for VIR is to run hard, make sure we get to 70% for maximum points, and then go for the win and the championship."
Keen has his eye on Cooper's prize, and on one of his own.
"We had a really productive test there with Cooper getting some good laps around the track in the AJR WeatherTech Porsche back in June," Keen said. "VIR has some nice usable concrete curbs, but the car has to be happy going over them. That's where we will concentrate our set-up. We need to have a comfortable car so we can use every inch of the race track.
We are in great shape returning there with a big points lead. It's the first time for ALMS at the track, so there is a lot of buzz around the event. The track is a true driver's course. It's just a great place to drive and race. My favorite part is the climbing uphill Esses, which is at the top of fifth gear for us in the WeatherTech Porsche.
We have a chance to close out the championship for Cooper and AJR this weekend, so that is my main priority. That way we can head to Petit as champions and make the weekend a little easier on ourselves. I am second in the championship after Baltimore, so I will be looking to keep that position to the end of the year."
Alex Job, team owner, has MacNeil and Keen on the road to a championship.
"We can sew up the championship this weekend," Job said. "We had the opportunity to test at VIR in June and it is a perfect setting for the guys to win the championship. We were able to get some valuable data for our initial set-up on the car for this weekend.
Cooper and Leh have done a great job running strong races and keeping the car on the track, out of the walls and out of the pits, which is what wins championships. We will take the same approach this weekend as we did in Baltimore, get to the 70% mark and then go for the win."
Source: Alex Job Racing's (AJR)