Ferrari teams Weathertech Racing and HubAuto Corsa have both completed their driver line-ups for next month’s 24 Hours of Le Mans, with the former upgrading their entry from GTE Am to GTE Pro while the latter has signed ex-BMW works driver Tom Blomqvist
The American squad had originally filed an entry to compete in GTE Am, but announced on Friday that it would instead be fielding the #63 Scuderia Corsa Ferrari 488 GTE Evo in the GTE Pro category.
Driving duties will be carried out by the IMSA GTD pairing of Cooper MacNeil and Toni Vilander, joined by 2016 GTE Am winner Jeff Segal.
MacNeil also made a late switch to GTE Pro in 2014 after a pre-race crash forced team-mate Bret Curtis out of action, which forced the pairing of MacNeil and Jeroen Bleekemolen to compete in GTE Pro due to no longer meeting the GTE Am driver ranking requirements. The Illinois native explained the team’s rationale for the step up.
“We made the decision to move our entry to Pro for several reasons,” MacNeil said. “We had a couple of very good bronze drivers we were talking to, but with the COVID-19 pandemic and travel restrictions in different countries around the world we didn’t have the 100 percent confidence that everyone could converge at Le Mans in September.
We had to make a decision. You can’t go to Le Mans with loose ends. We didn’t believe we could put the type of entry together that would be up to our standards. Jeff and Toni are well known to our team and we have all driven together in the past.
With the shortened Le Mans race week timetable, we felt our best chance for success is to go into the race with drivers who have raced together.”
The team joins the six full-season entries from Aston Martin, Ferrari and Porsche, as well as Risi Competizione’s one-off entry to bring the GTE Pro field up to six cars.
Blomqvist joins HubAuto Corsa
HubAuto Corsa has completed the line-up for its GTE Am entry by signing ex-BMW works driver Tom Blomqvist.
Blomqvist, 26, has previously won the 24 Hours of Spa-Francorchamps, but will be making his Le Mans debut. The son of rally champion Stig Blomqvist spent three seasons in DTM and two seasons in the IMSA Weathertech Sportscar Championship before he was let go by BMW at the end of the 2019 season.
The Taiwanese team earned entry into the French endurance classic by winning the GT championship in the Asian Le Mans Series. Blomqvist will be sharing the #72 Ferrari 488 GTE Evo with team owner Morris Chen and Marcos Gomes, who guided the team to title success in the Asian championship.
“Le Mans is an impressive event and it has been a dream of mine to drive my own car with my own Taiwanese team at the Circuit de la Sarthe,” Chen commented. “I have been fortunate enough to race at the 24 Hours of Le Mans once before, being the first Taiwanese driver to do so.
Now the excitement is even greater as I can proudly say this is my team.”