Despite the exit of the Porsche factory team, the brand will be represented by a full-time GTLM entry in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship Series this season.
In a joint effort with Proton Competition, WeatherTech Racing announced the entry of the No. 79 Porsche 911 RSR in GTLM for the 2021 schedule.
The privateer team will open with the Rolex 24 at Daytona with driver Cooper MacNeil, who raced a Ferrari for Scuderia Corsa in GTD last year, joined by Richard Lietz, Kevin Estre and Gianmaria Bruni.
“We have put a lot of thought into this move,” MacNeil said in a release. “I have raced against this level of competition at Le Mans twice, most recently this year, and have felt comfortable with the added performance of the car. We are going back to running a Porsche, and I am looking forward to getting behind the wheel of the 911 RSR. It will be more pressure on me as a driver, but I am welcoming the added effort it is going to take to run GTLM in 2021.
🚨 BREAKING NEWS 🚨 WeatherTech Racing is moving to GTLM! Read more about this exciting decision.@IMSA
— WeatherTech Racing (@RaceWeatherTech) January 6, 2021
“We raced with Christian at Le Mans in 2016, so we have an on-track history. I am looking forward to running the Rolex 24 with Richard, Kevin and Gimmi. Proton has a great endurance racing history, and Porsche is always competitive at Daytona.”
MacNeil is expected to have a rotation of co-drivers in the car, which will become at least the third full-time entry in a GTLM class that has suffered from manufacturer pullback.
With the departure of Porsche (which has committed to an entry in IMSA’s new LDMh prototype class) and BMW expected to scale back its schedule, defending champion Corvette Racing’s two cars are the only other confirmed full-time entries in GTLM.
WeatherTech Racing started in sports cars with the American Le Mans Series, winning GTC championships in 2012 and ’13.
Proton Competition has raced in the World Endurance Championship and the European Le Mans Series. According to a release, the team will apply for entry into the 24 Hours of Le Mans GTE Pro Class as part of its move into full-time IMSA competition.
“We have been looking at entering the IMSA WeatherTech Championship for a few years,” Proton Competition owner Christian Ried said in a release. “We just didn’t feel like the time was right until now. With the factory effort leaving, that left a void for Porsche in GTLM. We were able to get together with David and Cooper [MacNeil] to keep the Porsche brand racing at the top level of GT competition in IMSA. I am looking forward to the challenge and am excited to add IMSA to our racing schedule in 2021.”