Jan Magnussen: Kevin’s F1 return makes up for near miss at Daytona

In his first column of 2016 for Motorsport.com, Corvette ace Jan Magnussen says the news that son Kevin is back in Formula 1 offsets his Daytona 24 Hours disappointment.

The finish at the Rolex 24 at Daytona was simply perfect for Corvette Racing – the only thing that could have been better for me was having the two cars swap positions in the photo-finish at the end!

Both the #3 and the #4 cars ran the perfect races that we needed to put ourselves in that position for the finish. Saving the car as much as we could for the end was what was needed this time.

The Corvette is a proven car by now, but there are still things that could go wrong in racing – as seen with some of the issues the other cars had.

I’m very happy with how everything went. Obviously, it would have been cool to finish four hundredths of a second further up the road than we did!

Unfortunately, we developed a bit of a situation with our fueling towards the end and that caused us to do an extra stop. If not for that issue, we had it in the bag.

Nerve-wracking ending

It is absolutely nerve-wracking having to watch the end of a race like that, and at the same time it was a fantastic and very cool that Corvette Racing let the guys race. Obviously they’re racing under a set of rules - actually, it was basically one rule: don’t hit the other car!

For that to happen to Corvette Racing and to allow this to go on in front of all the fans was just absolutely fantastic. The race could have easily been over as soon as Antonio [Garcia] passed the Porsche to move to second place but it wasn’t.

He did an amazing job in chasing down Oliver [Gavin] in the #4 but we knew he wasn’t going to give in without a fight.

There is a lot of responsibility on our shoulders when Corvette allow us to do that sort of stuff, but they also know us really well. They wouldn’t have done it if there had been too much doubt that things wouldn’t turn out the right way.

I can guarantee that with some of my previous teams, had we been first and second, the race would’ve been over! There would have no racing each other.

A tense atmosphere

It was quite the scene under the tent with the whole team watching the end of the race unfold. When Antonio made his move and slipped past the #4 – obviously we thought it was going to stick, but he just got in just a little bit deep, and Oli took his position back. There was a really great atmosphere in pits at that time! It was cool, very cool.

Mike Rockenfeller also did a fantastic job in his debut for Corvette Racing. No mistakes, fast all the time and he did some long stints as well.

I don’t know if it was a triple or quadruple but he was in the car for a long time at the end before Antonio got in. He was fast all along, saved the car and did exactly what he was supposed to. It’s great that he’ll be back with us at Sebring again.

I’m so proud and happy to be part of this and for Corvette Racing to make that decision just makes it even better. Congratulations go to Oli, Tommy Milner and Marcel Fassler. The #4 car won at Le Mans last year but it had been a while since they had won here in the US and it certainly looks like they are going to keep us on our toes.

It was a great result for the team but we also saw throughout the race that our competition from the other manufacturers this year is going to be tough. 

If you look at how the race developed at one point it was Corvette P1 and P2 and, an hour later, Corvette 7th and 8th! The next hour we were 3rd and 4th.  It rotated around like that, and everybody was fast.

The competition is really hard. All the other cars are super fast and I’m really looking forward to the rest of the year to see how it’s going to pan out.

Great news about Kevin

While I was a little disappointed about finishing second at Daytona, my week certainly got a lot better with the news that my son Kevin is going to be back in Formula 1 this year.

This sport can change so quickly and it only seems like yesterday that we were watching the Australian Grand Prix in the house at Sebring when Kevin made his debut and finished on the podium.

It has been quite the rollercoaster ride since then but he now has a huge opportunity at Renault. The guys at Enstone in the UK have had great success in the past as Benetton and their previous run as the Renault factory team.

It’s actually a really exciting opportunity. They have a young driver line-up and a manufacturer coming back into the sport very keen to get back to their winning ways.

He is really looking forward to it and my year ahead just got even busier! With my commitments for Corvette Racing in IMSA, running and driving for my Magnussen Racing Experience team in the Danish Thundersports Championship – I’m going to have to look at the calendar to work out a few Formula 1 races I can get to this year.

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About this article
Series IMSA , Formula 1
Drivers Jan Magnussen , Kevin Magnussen
Teams Corvette Racing
Article type Special feature