There will be a Porsche in GTLM in the 2021 IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship GTLM category.
Privateers WeatherTech Racing has struck a deal with Proton Competition about the running of a Porsche 911 RSR.
Proton Competition has bought the two GTLM cars, that Porsche raced in the GTLM category throughout the 2020 season, so the cars are already in the US.
Cooper MacNeil will move up from the GTD category, where he has raced through the past seasons, where he worked together with the Ferrari team Scuderia Corsa. He has had a go at the GTLM (GTE) cars in previous years, where he raced at the 24 Hours of Le Mans. MacNeil and Proton Competition worked together in 2016, so the two parts know each other very well.
MacNeil will get the ultimate best of Porsche for the opening race at Daytona, with three works drivers as teammates. Richard Lietz, Kevin Estre and Gianmaria Bruni will be his co-drivers in the Porsche 911 RSR #79.
The rules in GTLM states a minimum drive time of two hours during the 24-hour race, so MacNeil will probably just do the absolute minimum, and letting his teammates fight for the overall victory in the GTLM category. There is Safety Car guarantee at Daytona, so it’s all about staying on the leading lap all the time. Once that happens, the whole field will be reset, and all cars on the leading lap, will once again be able to fight for the lead and the victory.
The plan is a full season in the IMSA series, but the co-driver to MacNeil for the rest of the season, hasn’t been announced just yet. There is a date clash between IMSA and the FIA WEC, where Lietz, Bruni and Estre are in the works cars. Currently there is at least one round, where they can’t race alongside him.
Porsche had originally said, that there would be no Porsche entered in the GTLM category for 2021, but when an economically strong driver shows up, and makes a deal with the probably best Porsche privateer in the world, they couldn’t really say no.
The team has sent an entry for the 24 Hours of Le Mans 2021 in the GTE Pro category, where WeatherTech Racing also participated with a Ferrari 488 GTE in the 2020 edition.
The IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship season starts in two weeks time, with the ROAR test and qualifying race, ahead of the 24-hour race, the following weekend.