It has all the makings of a bad breakup. WeatherTech Racing and partner team Proton Competition are abandoning the Porsche brand for the remainder of their 2022 IMSA GTD Pro campaign, and made it a very public split with a formal press release on Tuesday afternoon.
At least some of the beef seems to be in the fact that Porsche didn’t lend WeatherTech high-profile enough factory racers for its efforts at Daytona and Sebring thus far this year. The press release states that WeatherTech heir Cooper MacNeil will be joined by “a host of Mercedes-Benz Factory Drivers” for the remaining eight races of the 2022 season.
The WeatherTech team took the somewhat unorthodox choice to field both a 911 GT3 R and a pair of Mercedes-AMG GT3s during the opening 24 Hours of Daytona in January. Porsche scored a double podium at that race with Pfaff and KCMG, while the best of the WeatherTech-entered Mercedes finished fifth, and the other suffered an engine failure after 487 laps.
At Sebring the team again split their strategy, running one 911 and one AMG. The #97 Mercedes grabbed a podium one lap down from the GTD Pro class winners, while the team’s #79 Porsche finished three places back on the same lap.
“Our performance in the Mercedes-AMG GT3 at Daytona and Sebring was the motivating factor behind continuing with it for the rest of the season,” MacNeil said. “We led the race at the Rolex 24 before our drivetrain issue, and then we had a strong podium finish at Sebring.
“We also have a winning history at Long Beach having won there in the Mercedes-AMG in 2017. We are going out west to see if we can repeat that win.”
Cooper himself raced in both the WeatherTech Porsche and the WeatherTech Mercedes, turning laps in both machines across both the Daytona 24 and the Sebring 12.
Back in 2021 the WeatherTech 911 RSR was Porsche’s lone entrant in the now-defunct GTLM category, and received heavy factory-backing in the form of Matt Campbell and Mathieu Jaminet as driving partners for MacNeil. In 2022, however, there are several Porsche teams running in GTD Pro who need support, and the resources are spread a little thinner.
It’s clear that Porsche has poured more support behind the GTD Pro teams that actually run a full-pro lineup rather than a billionaire’s hobby. Pfaff, for instance, is taking the Pro class as seriously as it should be. Go figure.
It stands to be seen as to whether the gamble on Mercedes-AMG will go WeatherTech’s way. Then again, when the series title sponsor is your father’s company, and rules are written specifically for you, then maybe it’s in IMSA’s best interest to play to WeatherTech Racing’s good side. Porsche, it seems, didn’t feel like playing ball with the MacNeils.