Cooper MacNeil will drive the No. 20 WeatherTech Racing Ferrari 458 Challenge car during the Formula 1 race weekend at the Circuit of the America's, Nov. 16-18.

#20 Ferrari of Houston Ferrari 458 Challenge: Cooper MacNeil
#20 Ferrari of Houston Ferrari 458 Challenge: Cooper MacNeil

Photo by: Greg Nichols

MacNeil is coming off of a championship season where he posted three wins and four podium positions in the ultra-competitive American Le Mans Series GTC category for the Porsche 997. A seasoned Ferrari Challenge competitor, the University of Colorado at Boulder college student amassed one win and eight podium finishes, including six second place runs, in the 2011 Ferrari Challenge Series.

This will be the first official race weekend at the newly completed Circuit of the Americas track located outside of Austin, Texas. With no data from the Ferrari to lean on, MacNeil is left to his own devises to learn the 3.4-mile, 20-turn circuit.

"I watched a lot of in-car footage on YouTube," MacNeil said. "Turn Two all the way to Turn Ten are a series of esses, which look to be really fast. There are 20 turns on this track! The slow corners leading onto the long straights are always important. You want to make sure you can get off of the slow corners and get down the straight. It really comes down to getting there and learning it out on the track. It is all about seat time. We will take a measured approach and gather some data, review the data of my teammates on the Risi Competizione team and look to improve every session."

MacNeil spent the 2012 season behind the wheel of several different race cars, including the ALMS GTC Porsche 997, BMW E92 and a Mustang. The young driver from Hinsdale, ILL is looking forward to getting back behind the wheel of the Ferrari.

"I am excited. New track, Formula 1 weekend and I miss driving the Ferrari 458 Challenge car. It has 550 horsepower, ABS brakes and an F1 gearbox. It's easy to drive, fun and is super fast."

In 2011 MacNeil posted a win at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca, to go along with eight podium finishes at Laguna Seca, Infineon, Lime Rock Park, Montreal and Toronto.

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