Daytona, FL.: Corvette Racing's Jan Magnussen will kick off the first major endurance race of the year in a Chevrolet, but will swap his usual Corvette Racing entry for a Camaro fielded by leading GRAND-AM Rolex Series squad, Stevenson Motorsports.
The Dane returns to Stevenson after driving for the Spirit of Daytona prototype squad in the 2012 edition of the Rolex 24 at Daytona.
While he has four class wins at the 24 Hours of Le Mans, Magnussen has his sights set on adding a commemorative Rolex Daytona watch to his collection.
Each class winner at the famous 24 hour classic receives a watch as part of their victory spoils.
This year's Rolex 24 at Daytona will be historic as the final round-the-clock enduro of the current GRAND-AM Rolex Series. For 2013, Magnussen will return to Daytona for the new combined sportscar series which brings together GRAND-AM and the American Le Mans Series into one championship.
JAN MAGNUSSEN Q&A
Q: How does it feel to start your year with a 24-hour race? "The off-season seems to keep getting shorter and shorter in racing; it's almost non-existent now! It used to be a big deal when you were out of the car for a few months and then your first race is a 24-hour race, which made things hard.
"The Rolex 24 is still very, very hard, but it's a bit easier when you're able to stay in the swing of things. It's a good way to get the season going. You always get a lot of laps in the car and it's one of the biggest races in the States.
"I haven't had the luck to come away with the famous Rolex watch yet, but I'm hoping this year will be it."
Q: How has it been working with the Stevenson team and what are some of the similarities between them and Corvette Racing? "I've been working with Stevenson on- and-off for the last few years. In 2012, I was in the Spirit of Daytona Corvette DP at the Rolex 24, but the two years before that I was with Stevenson. I know them very well and they know me.
"For me, there's no big surprises. I can get in there, put my head down and do my job. I like working with those guys. They're very professional and also get a lot of help from GM."
Q: How different is the Rolex 24 compared to the 24 Hours of Le Mans? What's similar between the two races and what makes Daytona different and special? "For one thing, the night is a lot longer at Daytona, with close to 13 hours of darkness. The track is also a lot shorter than Le Mans but with the same amount of cars, so it's super busy all the time.
"There are fewer places where you can relax, where at Le Mans you have the long straights where you can catch your breath. At Daytona, you're either always turning or on the banking. It's a little bit more physical than Le Mans."
Q: What are some of the differences between the Camaro GT.R and the Corvette C6.R? "It wouldn't be fair to compare those two cars as they're built to two completely different set of rules. The Camaro is a purpose-built race car that's tube-framed, whereas the Corvette takes its roots from the road car. But despite that, the Camaro is still a bit slower, but that's mainly down to the rules."
Q: What are your thoughts on the new Corvette C7 Stingray that was unveiled at the North American International Auto Show? "I think the road car that they showed looks absolutely fantastic. It looks mean; it looks fast. I really can't wait to get into the race car. It will be absolutely fantastic for sure."
Q: You've been doing some test miles for Corvette in the lead up to the ALMS season. How has the testing been going? "Before Christmas, we went to Austin and had a good test there and just last week, we tested at Sebring for a couple of days there. We went over some bits and pieces there and I think we made some good headway.
"I think we're going to be well prepared for Sebring."
Q: How much are you looking forward to 2014 and actually going to the Rolex 24 with Corvette Racing? "I think that's going to be super special. While the Corvette has been there before, I wasn't driving the car at that time. Last time they were there in 2001, they won it. Hopefully we can come back there and have a great result in the first race of the C7."