Lime Rock Park
Magnus Racing leaves Lime Rock in the thick of the fight for the GT Championship
(Salt Lake City, Utah) – In the thick of the GRAND-AM Rolex Sports Car Series GT class championship, the Magnus Racing duo of John Potter and Craig Stanton came to Lime Rock looking for a strong result to keep their No. 44 Magnus Racing Porsche in contention. With a very compressed schedule – practice, qualifying and the Rolex Series race were all run on Monday – it would be a very busy day for the Magnus Racing crew and drivers.
In the morning qualifying session, Potter would put in a solid qualifying effort with hopes of better fortune in the race. Unfortunately, the race got off to a poor start when contact between Daytona Prototypes at the start led to a bottle-neck, creating contact between Potter and the No. 69 Mazda RX-8, leading to a cut tire for Potter. Although the race went quickly under full course yellow, Potter would go down a lap as he pitted for a new tire and the Magnus Racing crew inspected the right rear suspension of the Porsche for damage.
When the race went green again, Potter was able to avoid further trouble during what would end up becoming a long stint. With the forced early stop, the Magnus Racing team opted to leave Potter in the car as long as possible, hoping a yellow flag period would help get the No. 44 Porsche back on the lead lap with the aid of a wave-bye.
Unfortunately, the rest of the race was caution free and a fairly uneventful affair for the team. Potter turned the car over to Stanton just past the one-hour mark, and Stanton was able to pick up one position late in the race to bring the car home in ninth place.
Additionally, Magnus Racing also fielded a car in Saturday’s Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge for drivers Bill Sweedler and Leh Keen. Sweedler, making his debut for Magnus Racing, had never driven the team’s Porsche Cayman before yet quickly acclimated himself on his home track. After a consistent and strong series of practice and qualifying rounds, Sweedler was also a victim of opening lap contact as he was collected by a spinning car entering the famed Big Bend corner. Unfortunately for the team, the damage was too substantial to repair during the race.
“We expected a challenging weekend, but it’s hard to have both of our cars run into trouble on the opening lap,” said Potter. “But that’s how it goes sometimes. I hate it for Bill and Leh – Bill was making good progress in each session in the Cayman and we know Leh is extremely quick in that car. I think they definitely would have surprised some people and put on a great show in the Continental race and it’s such a shame that their race was over so quickly.”
While his own GT race did not go as well as he would have liked, Potter takes a long view of the season championship.
... after that we stayed away from trouble ...
“It’s not really a surprise that the Daytona Prototypes tripped up the GT field,” he said. “When they aren’t running into us, they are running into each other but still causing problems for the GT cars. Going down a lap here is really hard and without any yellows we didn’t have a chance to get back on the lead lap. But after that we stayed away from trouble and we were still able to get a top ten. It’s not a great result but as close as the championship is each of these points will be really important.”
Stanton, who had little trouble in the Porsche during his one hour and forty-five minute stint despite the high heat, echoed Potter’s thoughts.
“When we find ourselves in a position like this, where we are in trouble early, we just have to bring the car home and grab as many points as we can,” said Stanton, the 2004 Rolex Series GT champion. “Ninth means we still bring some points home and stay within shot of the championship.”
Potter and Stanton are now eleventh in the GT class championship, but are a scant nineteen points behind championship leaders Bill Auberlen and Paul Dalla Lana after five races in the Rolex Series championship. They are back in action this weekend at the Sahlen’s Six Hours at the Glen, to be held at Watkins Glen International in Watkins Glen, New York.
-source: magnus racing