Baltimore, MD, Thursday, August 30, 2012: Danish Corvette Racing star Jan Magnussen is looking to put his street fighting prowess skills to use this weekend when the Grand Prix of Baltimore returns for its second ever event.
Magnussen and Antonio Garcia are out to bounce back this weekend after they had a podium place at Road America stolen on the final turn on the final lap when Magnussen was spun by the Ferrari of Johannes van Overbeek.
While van Overbeek and the ESM team received a post-race penalty that gave them seventh place points, it was no consolation for Magnussen and Garcia who had driven a strong race to be in podium contention.
Jan Magnussen Q&A
Q: At Baltimore last season there were some delays getting on track as the circuit was completed. Is the secret there to start off with a quick setup because there’s not a lot of track time?
A: “Last year our Corvette was very strong and we didn’t get out of it quite what we should have. In the first turn there was a bit of a pack-up and the two Corvettes got together. Unfortunately the No. 3 car spun out.
“We had to come from the back, but the car and the crew were so good and fast that we ended up third.
“Despite the car being quite different than last year, we learned a lot and have developed it so it should start off much faster, right off the truck. I’m really looking forward to the race and a solid result – and I always enjoy street racing.
“Now that this event is in its second year, it looks like any issues have been ironed out, so it will be a better show for the fans!”
Q: The track has received some changes since last season. How will it improve the racing on the course?
A: “Tommy Milner, who drives the No. 4 car for Corvette Racing, went up there and had a look, then came back to talk to the team about the changes. They will definitely make the racing better, especially the changes around the pit lane.
“The biggest change that we’ve seen is the removal of the chicanes on the front straight, which will mean that all of us will arrive in Turn 1 quite a bit faster than before. Although that may sound dangerous, it should make for great racing and passing – it’s a bit bumpy around that corner, especially if you’re trying to pass somebody. You can lock up your brakes there pretty easily.
“All in all, it was a great track last year and it looks like it’s only gotten better.”
Q: You’d mentioned that you like temporary street circuits. What about them do you like?
A: “It’s a combination of things. You’ve got to have a lot of precision when driving as there’s no room for error. These type of races also have a great atmosphere – the amount of people, the location and the overall enthusiasm for the event – it just adds up.
“To get back to the driving, it feels very good to get a fast lap – you’re very close to the edge and the walls are right next to you. It’s very rewarding.”
Q: Traffic has been an increasing concern throughout the 2012 ALMS season. What about the street circuits make traffic even harder than normal?
A: “As I said before, there’s no room for error on a street circuit – on a permanent track you have options, like taking a bit more curb or putting a couple of wheels on the grass if you need to. Instead you’ve got to commit to your lines early and sometimes forcefully.
“Of course it never ends well if you’re too forceful.
“It’s about playing the traffic the best way you can. Sometimes there are opportunities to pass or get passed without a huge time loss, but it only works if the guy who’s in the car near you works with you.
“Unfortunately on street circuits it seems that with all that’s going on, guys don’t pay as much attention to their mirrors as they should, so it’s important to be extra sharp, or you’ll end up in the wall.”
Q: With the IndyCar Series at the track with ALMS, as well as other series, does the track change as each group lays down rubber? Are there problems with different tire types and manufacturers?
A: “Actually we found that last year the track had a lot of grip right off the bat, and all it did was get better throughout the weekend. There’s no reason to think that the same thing won’t happen this year.
“It actually was a nice surprise, because the car wasn’t out of control when we were trying to learn a new track!
“Sometimes street circuits change a lot, such as in Long Beach, but Baltimore started off at a high level.
“The interesting part about street circuits when it comes to grip is that there is a lot when you’re on the racing line, but if you get off and into the marbles you could really be in trouble. Sometimes you’ve got to wait to pass or make people behind you wait a bit because if you go off in certain sections, that’ll be the end of your race.”
Q: This is the first time in Baltimore for your co-driver Antonio Garcia. What are your expectations of him this weekend?
A: “Well, he had never driven the only other street circuit during the ALMS season, Long Beach, until we got there. And even when we did get there he only had one lap of practice before the race! That weather was very difficult to deal with and really didn’t give any of us any decent amount of practice time.
“Antonio though was fast at Long Beach and is a quick learner, so Baltimore shouldn’t be too much of a problem for him. Let’s just hope we can get on track for all of our practice time!”
Source: Jan Magnussen media