Sebring 12 Hours
The Party Barge is derailed by a Prototype as Magnus Racing Finishes Seventh in Sebring
March 20, 2011 (Sebring, Fl.) – Prior to the start of the 59th Mobil 1 12 Hours of Sebring, the wing endplates of the no.077 Magnus Racing / Flex-Box Porsche 911 GT3 Cup were decorated with decals that proudly stated ‘Party Barge Sebring’. The decals were placed in honor of team fueler Bruce Sallet’s yearly tradition as part of the ‘Turn 10’ crowd at the 12 Hours of Sebring – unable to take part this year due to his duties with Magnus Racing, the team’s car would now be known as the ‘Party Barge’.
Craig Stanton put Magnus Racing’s Porsche second in the GT-C field during qualifying, in his return to the circuit for the first time since 2008. He was also tasked with starting the race and after a clean start, he spent the first several laps behind polesitter Leh Keen before moving the Party Barge into the lead for the first time. Magnus Racing team owner John Potter relieved Stanton after his first stint, and as differing pitstop strategies began to play out Potter spent the duration of his stint in third place but turned the car over to Hong Kong’s Matthew Marsh in second.
Putting in quick times, Marsh also moved into the lead and maintained it throughout his time at the wheel. Another turn at the wheel for Stanton saw the no.077 machine move solidly into the lead as the race moved into its eighth hour.
Unfortunately, that’s when the party would come to an end. After a restart, Potter was hit in turn eleven while being lapped by an LMP1 car, puncturing the radiator and front tire and causing significant front bodywork damage. Used to working miracles, the Magnus Racing crew took the car back to the hauler and repaired the damage, returning Potter to the race but suffering a loss of fifteen laps.
After that, it was smooth sailing home for the team but despite Marsh’s and Stanton’s best efforts, the best the car would do was seventh in the class that it had dominated throughout the day. The car did see the checkered flag, however, an accomplishment in its own right at the team’s first attempt at the Mobil 1 12 Hours of Sebring.
Magnus Racing will compete next at the Rolex Sports Car Series’ Porsche 250 at Barber Motorsports Park in Birmingham, Alabama. They enter as the points leader in the GT class. The week after, however, they will return to ALMS GT-C competition at the Grand Prix of Long Beach in Long Beach, California.
John Potter – Owner, Magnus Racing
“It is really, really frustrating when one of these races gets away from you because a prototype doesn’t give you enough room and can’t wait a turn or two. The guys worked so hard all week and made the car so good. It’s really hard to come away from this one feeling positive about something when we had the car to win – and were leading. However, this team will give us fast cars all year long and we’ll have more chances to get more wins.”
Craig Stanton – Driver, no.077 Magnus Racing / Flex-Box Porsche 911 GT3 Cup
“It’s a really tough break, this was new territory for the team. John, Matthew, and the whole team just absolutely nailed it. It was easy to drive fast, a total joy, and we got taken out. However he fact that they did things so well this time means I am really confident that we will have the car to beat in GT-C again at Long Beach, and I’m really looking forward to that.”
Matthew Marsh – Driver, no.077 Magnus Racing / Flex-Box Porsche 911 GT3 Cup
“This wasn’t the result we wanted, especially after things were going so well in the early stages of the race. We had a competitive car and the team did a great job preparing it – this was definitely the most comfortable team experience I’ve had yet. It was great to take part in my first 12 Hours of Sebring with this organization and I’m looking forward to doing it again.”
-source: magnus racing