Jan Magnussen: Next stop, Le Mans!

In his latest column for Motorsport.com, Jan Magnussen explains a difficult race for the No.3 Corvette around the sweeps of Laguna Seca, and looks ahead to the Le Mans 24 Hours.

Looking back at the Laguna Seca round of the TUDOR United SportsCar Championship, it wasn’t one of the best weekends ever for Corvette Racing but it was still a good test for us.

We had a few issues over the weekend including a new type of tire that we had to try to get to work and get experience with. Even though it didn’t quite work out like we had hoped – and our finishing positions were horrible – we still came away with some good knowledge that I’m sure will be put to good use at Le Mans.

Antonio (Garcia) made an awesome start but got caught in the middle of a prototype battle early on. He had nowhere to go and ran into the back of a prototype and it caused some damage to the front of the car, which was unfortunate as we were already struggling to find grip. 

So, it was tough from then on. We managed to hold on to the championship lead, which at this stage is probably the most important thing. 

Our Corvette Racing guys never make a mistake in the pits, but Antonio went to pull out at a stop and there was a tire still in his way. It was an unfortunate situation. It’s really hard to put blame anywhere. There was a lot of people around, there were TV crews and the whole situation wasn’t made easy for Antonio. 

Where we sit in the car we have no chance to see that whole box in front of us. No matter what is in that area, we won’t be able to see it. It was just one of those things. We’ll try to make new procedures to make sure that if we ever get into that exact position again, we won’t make the same mistake.

Setting sights on Le Mans

Now we have our sights set on Le Mans after a two-day test at the National Corvette Museum Motorsport Park in Bowling Green, Kentucky. We went through what we learned at Laguna and tried to learn from the mistakes that were made there and we made some good headway.

If we have to have a bad result, I’m glad it’s the race before Le Mans, not Le Mans itself.

It was really interesting to test at Bowling Green as there are a lot of sections of the track that are very similar to Le Mans. We had a really, really good test.

We learned a lot, but until we get to Le Mans and test the stuff that we learned, we won’t know how valuable it will be and how well the data correlates to what we see in France. We have been to Bowling Green before but the track opened for the first time after last year’s Le Mans. 

If you are a Corvette Racing fan and live near Bowling Green you can actually watch the entire race at the National Corvette Museum. They’ll be showing the race live – if you can’t get to Le Mans, this would be a great way to watch the race.

Strangely for me, I had a weekend off last week. I race in Denmark this weekend, and then get ready to head to Le Mans for the test day.

It’s just another few weeks of clocking up sky miles. I don’t know how many miles a year I do but I’d like to! I certainly have a lot of Frequent Flier points.

Le Mans is going to be interesting but it will be tricky to predict where we are compared to the opposition. We run a different balance of performance here in the US in the TUDOR United SportsCar Championship but I think compared to where we were last year we should be in a good place.

But it’s not until we get there and see the development that everyone else has done that we will know. We have to go there as strong as we possibly can be and take it from there.

Everyone has been working hard on improvements but I suspect the Aston Martin is going to be one we’re going to have to keep an eye on.

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About this article
Series IMSA
Drivers Jan Magnussen
Teams Corvette Racing
Article type Commentary