Virginia International Raceway
Promising day in VIRginia ends in frustration for Magnus Racing
(Alton, VA) – The day started with a spin and ended with a bang for the no.44 Magnus Racing Porsche 911 GT3 Cup at Virginia International Raceway, site of the fourth round of the GRAND-AM Rolex Sports Car Series.
In monsoon-like conditions, John Potter took the green flag in tenth place but was nudged into a spin on the opening lap exiting turn five. The time lost would be minimal as the race was quickly put under yellow-flag conditions for nearly an hour due to the amount of standing water on the circuit.
While the teams circled around under yellow, the team elected to pit when the minimum driver requirement for Potter was met and Craig Stanton got in the car. When the race finally did return to green flag conditions, Stanton steadily moved the Magnus Racing Porsche through the field. With several yellow flag caution periods, the team played their strategy to perfection and Stanton’s Porsche ran in third place as the track continued to dry. The team kept Stanton out on rain tires as long as possible – a real challenge as the tires were well past their prime and the conditions left the windshield of Stanton’s Porsche covered in red clay.
The team finally called Stanton into the pits with an hour remaining in the race for slick tires, and the speed was back in the Porsche. Stanton was up to second and with 30 minutes remaining in the race was in a strong position to challenge for the victory.
While battling for position, Stanton hit mud exiting turn seventeen and went off course, falling well down the order. After another yellow, Stanton had another off-course excursion that sent the Magnus Racing Porsche into the stationary TRG Porsche of Spencer Pumpelly, breaking a radiator and effectively ending the day for the team. The crew, used to working miracles, was able to replace the radiator and sent Potter out to complete a few more laps but the car would cross the line in fifteenth.
“Certainly it’s frustrating to run so well and be in a position to win only for things to slip away right at the end,” said Potter. “The guys gave us a great car and with these challenging conditions we were very, very fast. The real disappointment is we aren’t taking points away from here, and that hurts our championship hopes.”
Stanton couldn’t mask his disappointment after running at the front of the field throughout the afternoon. The Magnus Racing Porsche excelled in wet and muddy conditions that Stanton described as ‘like an off-road race.’
But we will get the team a result that they deserve.
“It’s one of these deals where the conditions were so bad but I was pushing really, really hard because the Magnus Racing Porsche was so good,” said Stanton. “I feel bad for the team to lose out on a podium finish. It hurts John and me in the championship, but the boys did a great job all week to give us a great car and they deserve another podium. But we will press on and we will get the team a result that they deserve.”
Potter and Stanton are now tied with six other drivers for seventh in the GT championship standings, with 100 points – sixteen behind the championship leader.
The team will have a short turnaround as the next race on the GRAND-AM Rolex Sports Car Series calendar is the Memorial Day Classic at Lime Rock Park on May 29-30.
-source: magnus racing