LE MANS, France, Tuesday, 18 June 2013: Jan Magnussen heads to this year's Le Mans 24 keen on giving his Corvette C6.R the best French farewell present imaginable.
Magnussen himself will also be targetting his fifth Le Mans win for Corvette Racing. He enters this week's French event in winning form after having triumped with Antonio garcia at the last round of the American Le Mans Series at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca.
Having endured 18 months of misfortunes, the win has the Danish ace in a positive mode that he, Garcia and teammate Jordan Taylor can be strong contenders this weekend.
The Corvette Racing squad went go through tech inspection on Monday before hitting the track for the first time on tomorrow.
Jan Magnussen Q&A
Q: WHAT DOES LE MANS MEAN TO YOU?
A: "It's the most important race of the whole year. It's the one race we prepare for the most. Every race we do in America and every test we do, it's always with a view towards of how we can improve at Le Mans. "Even though it's sometimes only a two-hour ALMS race, we're still trying to learn something that will make us better at Le Mans. "The 24 Hours of Le Mans is the most important race for any manufacturer in the world to compete in and win."
Q: WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO HAVE SO MANY DANES IN THE RACE AND AT THE TRACK WATCHING?
A: "With all of the support we get, it's very, very special to be a Danish driver at Le Mans,. "There are more than 250,000 people at the race and 10 percent are Danish. Thats 25,000 Danes traveling down to Le Mans every year. "During the race you are concentrating on the job but you still know the fans are there cheering you on. During the week and the driver parade Friday night in downtown Le Mans, it's just absolutely fantastic. The amount of support and the good will we get from the Danish fans is phenomenal. I think it means a lot to all the Danish drivers."
Q: DO YOU SEE YOUNG DANES FOLLOWING IN YOUR FOOTSTEPS TO LE MANS?
A: "I'm sure it's on their minds. I can only really speak for having talked to my son Kevin about it. I know that he would love to go to Le Mans eventually. But most of these young guys are going for Formula One. Le Mans, until they get older, is more like a secondary goal for them. "From my point of view, I'd love to do Le Mans with Kevin one day but right now he has other plans."
Q: HOW MUCH DOES EVERYONE SHOW AT THE TEST DAY?
A: "You really come away from the test day only knowing how fast you can go. You never know what the other guys are doing, whether they're pushing or sandbagging. "With the day being cut short because of the rain, we didn't get much dry running. I think we got through a pretty good program and we're on a decent path. "Race week, there may be a few surprises but we'll just have to wait and see."
Q: HOW MUCH WOULD YOU LIKE TO GET A WIN IN THE FINAL YEAR OF THE C6.R?
A: "That would be the most awesome way to finish off the career of the C6.R. But the competition is tough this year. For us to have a shot at it, we need to faultless and not worry about what everyone else is doing but run our own program at whatever pace we can run. Not making mistakes is also critical. "I think that will be the key this year. We're going for the win and It would be such a fitting farewell to the C6.R."
Q: HOW CHALLENGING IS IT TO STAY FOCUSED ON YOUR OWN RACE?
A: "It is difficult. I think it takes a lot of discipline to do that. But that's what Corvette has done on a number of occasions and have come out victorious. We've done it in the past and you really have to fight just to do your best and not get caught up in someone going one or two seconds faster that really doesn't matter to your plan. "I think the key to Le Mans is arriving there with a plan and being able to execute it. That does take discipline."
Q: DOES THE WIN AT LAGUNA SECA GIVE YOU MORE MOMENTUM HEADING INTO LE MANS?
A: "The most important thing about winning at Laguna Seca was that it proved to the whole No. 3 crew that we can be perfect. It's not impossible to run a completely, 100 percent faultless race and be pushing the whole way through. That's really important heading into the situation we have at Le Mans this year. "In the last year and a half, we been close to getting victories and it really punished us when we would end up second or out of the race."
Q: HOW MUCH ARE YOU LOOKING FORWARD TO WORKING WITH JORDAN TAYLOR AGAIN?
A: "He's certainly on a roll right now and has developed himself a lot during the last year. He did very well in his first Le Mans last year. It started off kind of in a bad way with an off in the Porsche Curves. His confidence had a bit of a knock but he got it back during the race and the speed was there. Towards the end of the race, he was right where he was supposed to be and that's where he started off this year.
"That's the only really good thing about failure. Unless you're real stupid, you learn from it. Jordan has definitely learned from it and is pushing himself in the right direction. "I have absolutely no problems believing he'll be just as fast as Antonio and myself and capable of running a race just like we have in the past."