Magnussen ready to finish off 2012 with Petit Le Mans victory

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Braselton, GA. (Monday, October 15, 2012): Corvette Racing’s Danish star Jan Magnussen is ready sign off on the 2012 American Le Mans Series championship season with a victory for the No.3 Corvette squad.

#3 Corvette Racing: Jan Magnussen
#3 Corvette Racing: Jan Magnussen

Photo by: Michael Tan

Magnussen and regular teammate Antonio Garcia grabbed the championship lead at the half-way point of the season after Mosport (after starting from pole) but since that weekend, their ALMS assault has been fraught with misfortune.

Magnussen suffered contact at Mid-Ohio which sent the No.3 car tumbling down the order late in the race; he was turned around on the final corner at Road America within sight of a podium finish; Garcia suffered an opening lap puncture at Baltimore which necessitated a huge fightback in a two hour sprint and the pairing’s hopes at VIR were ruined when prototypes starting running into each other in turn one on the opening lap causing major mayhem, carnage and heavy damage to the No. 3 Corvette.

The entire No. 3 team has been keeping a look out for a stray black cat, making sure they don’t walk under ladders and being very careful to make sure they don’t break any mirrors.

Magnussen, Garcia and third driver Jordan Taylor are confident the misfortune is a thing of the past and they can grab the victory that has eluded them this year.

Corvette Racing has already secured the team’s and manufacturer’s championship while teammates Oliver Gavin and Tommy Milner wrapped up the driver’s championship at VIR.

The No. 3 is now out to make sure Corvette finishes 1-2 in the driver’s championship. While Magnussen certainly didn’t have his sights set on finishing second - with four other driver pairings within 11 points of second place in the rankings - the No. 3 team have a simple plan. Win the race and the points will take care of themselves.

The 1000 mile / 10 hour (whichever comes first) Petit Le Mans kicks off on Saturday, October 20 at 11:30am.

JAN MAGNUSSEN Q&A

Q: What’s your mindset heading into the Petit Le Mans, the last race of the 2012 ALMS season?

A: “To win. That’s it.

“The championships are over – with the guys in the No. 4 Corvette taking the ALMS GT driver’s championship and Corvette Racing winning the team and manufacturer GT titles.

“Petit is about getting the win for the No. 3 car that we haven’t had all year. There is a lot of testing during the week. We’ll be doing a lot of running and should be able to get everything sorted out.

Q: How can you lock up a one-two finish in the driver’s championship with a race like Petit as the season finale?

A: “If you look at the GT driver standings, you’ll see that all of us from second to seventh could end up finishing second in the championship. There are some pretty impressive names on that roster and everyone runs so close.

“But like them, it was never my intention to finish second at anything, including the championship. This weekend it’ll all be about winning. The team and drivers that win will most likely finish the championship in second, and for Corvette Racing it would be great for it to be the drivers of the No. 3 Corvette.”

Q: Jordan Taylor will be back with you in the No. 3 for Petit Le Mans as the third driver. You’ve been in that position before, how hard is it to come and join an established driver pairing?

A: “Obviously as the third driver you want to do a good job but not do anything that could throw off the full-time drivers or the team.

“Jordan is the perfect third driver with Antonio and me for Petit. He ran with us at Sebring and Le Mans, and worked great with everyone and was very fast.

“I’ve enjoyed working with him this year and know he’ll have a great future ahead of him in racing.”

Q: How do you need to drive for endurance races like Petit Le Mans?

A: “You’ve got to be at 100 percent for the entire 1000 miles. Always pushing, trying to gain position and get any sort of advantage.

“Honestly there’s really very little difference in how you drive the sprint races or endurance races. You have to be as fast as you possibly can.

“The difference is if you have a problem early on in the race, you may have a chance to catch back up. That’s what 10 to 24 hours allow you. In the shorter races, from two to four hours, it’s much harder to come back from a small mistake or problem.”

Q: What are your thoughts on Road Atlanta?

A: “If any track in the U.S. could be called my ‘home track,’ Road Atlanta would be it. It was the first track I ever drove in a sports car in the States.

“Road Atlanta is a challenging track all the way around. It’s very technical and very fast, and there’s a lot of undulation. Some places you need to stay completely off the curbs to keep the car calm, and other places you’ve got to attack so hard and hit the curbs as fast as you can.

“And of course, if you screw parts of it up, there are some pretty big penalties!

“It’s just fantastic. I’ve driven thousands of laps around the place in GT cars, prototypes and other cars, and I know the place very well. I love it.”

Q: Your first test in sports cars in the U.S. was Road Atlanta? Tell us more about that.

A: “It was 1998 and I was coming straight out of Formula 1. The car was the Panoz GT1, a car that was difficult to see out of, and it felt like you were sitting on the rear axle.

“So I was used to Formula 1 tracks, which were billiard table smooth and pretty boring. I’m in a front-engined, closed sports car, sitting way at the back, driving a track where just about every corner is blind.

“From turns one through three I was looking at the sky because of the elevation change and trying to figure out my turn and braking points. It was quite an eye-opener, but I was hooked.

“Even better was working with the Panoz guys. They were fantastic and really spent a lot of time with me, giving me great data to work off of and good feedback.

“It was that test that was really the turnaround point from my not-so-great F1 experience to knowing exactly what I wanted to do from then-on. And I’m still doing it today, after more than 100 starts and some pretty good success.

“Now I’m just ready to get that win this weekend at the Petit Le Mans.”

Source: Jan Magnussen

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Series ALMS
Article type Preview
Tags corvette, garcia, magnussen, petit le mans, road atlanta

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