In his first run at Circuit de la Sarthe, Cooper MacNeil put in three strong stints totaling nearly seven hours of drive time around the 8.4-mile French circuit.
LE MANS, France - Cooper MacNeil took away many lessons learned from this weekend's Le Mans 24 hours behind the wheel of the Larbre Competition No. 70 WeatherTech/Chevrolet Corvette C6.R.
"I got in for my second stint at 12:40 a.m.," MacNeil said. "I was getting comfortable in the car in the dark. I was on slicks, focusing on hitting my marks and my times were starting to come down. Going into the Porsche Curves I was pushed wide by a prototype and got into the dirt and gravel off the racing line and had a lazy spin.
I didn't hit anything, but I nosed it in front of the wall. I tried to get the WeatherTech Corvette into reverse and the clutch went. I was able to get it back to pit lane where the Larbre crew went to work to get us back out."
Another incident in a sudden rainstorm with teammate Phillipe Dumas behind the wheel during the night put the Larbre team back to work on the yellow and black Corvette. MacNeil returned to the seat at 7:40 a.m. for a double stint and t he second-to-last time to cap his first Le Mans 24.
"During my last two stints there was really no pressure to push," he continued. "We were down on laps and we wanted to see the checkered flag, for ourselves and the crew that worked so hard all week. The Corvette was really good at the end. I wasn't going for impressive lap times, just making sure we were running fast and getting the car to the end.
The Larbre team did a great job all week. My teammates Philippe Dumas and Manuel Rodriguez were fun to work with and together we were able to take the checker at Le Mans. I learned a lot about the track and the effort it takes to be competitive at Le Mans. It is a special place and one I want to return to with higher goals in the future."
MacNeil will return to his regular seat behind the WeatherTech Porsche in the American Le Mans Series in two weeks at Lime Rock Park in Connecticut, July 5 and 6