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Gounon, Juncadella become WeatherTech Racing full-timers

WeatherTech Racing has announced will compete in the GTD Pro category of the 2023 IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship with Jules Gounon and Daniel Juncadella, as Cooper MacNeil reduces his driving commitments.

#79 WeatherTech Racing Porsche 911 GT3R: Mikael Grenier, Maximilian Buhk, Maximilian Goetz

Gounon and Juncadella will drive the #79 WeatherTech Racing Mercedes-AMG GT3 backed by Mercedes-Benz of Billings, Montana, with Maro Engel joining them for the endurance races MacNeil coming onboard for the Rolex 24 Hours at Daytona.

The team states that, MacNeil “will take on more of a management role with the team throughout season. The Proton Competition crew, headed by Christian Ried, will once again direct the program.”

MacNeil commented: “We are happy to announce that Jules and Dani will be running with us for the full IMSA WeatherTech Championship in 2023. I consider them to be among the best Mercedes-AMG GT drivers in the world.

“Last year we had a parade of drivers through the car and couldn’t really compete for the championship. Maro will join us for the longer races and adds a wealth of knowledge to the team. With our strong support from Mercedes-AMG, those three guys driving the car, and WeatherTech/Proton Racing spearheading the operation, I like our chances every weekend in the GTD Pro Class.

“I have won Petit Le Mans three times, Sebring twice, finished on the podium at the 24 hours of Le Mans three times, and a few championships along the way. In 2015 we finished second at Daytona, so the Rolex 24 is one of the last events to win on my racing to-do list.

“I will forever love the sport of racing but after 15 years it is time for me to turn the page and focus on the more important things in life like family and work at our company.”

Gounon, who last year won the Spa 24 Hours, Bathurst 12 Hours, Kyalami 9 Hours, and the GT World Challenge Europe Endurance Championship described himself as “ amazed and thankful to Cooper and David MacNeil”. He continued: “We will give it our all to get the WeatherTech Mercedes-AMG GT3 to the front and get a big trophy at the end of the year.

“I think the line-up we have with Dani and Maro is very strong, and we will be very good with Cooper at the Rolex 24 as well. We all complete each other in different areas. We really make a great team. I really enjoy their company and am looking forward to a great year.”

Teaming with Gounon in 2022, Juncadella won the Spa 24 Hour, GT World Challenge Europe Endurance Championship, Indianapolis 8 Hour, and won the Intercontinental GT World Challenge Championship last weekend.

“I am super excited, he said. “Next year is shaping up to be one of the most exciting chapters of my career. It was a last-minute call for Daytona last year and then it turned into a couple more races with Cooper in the WeatherTech Mercedes-AMG GT3 which was fun. It was surprising to me, I discovered IMSA is one of the most exciting championships happening around the globe right now.

“It is great that we have managed to get our deal together to run the whole season with Jules for 2023 and WeatherTech Racing. On top of that, having Maro in the car for the endurance races and Cooper for the Rolex 24 puts the cherry on top.

“We start with the big race first, the Rolex 24. We were competitive last year; we now have to bring it to the finish line.”

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