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Jan Magnussen to make Le Mans return in LMP2 class

Former Corvette Racing star Jan Magnussen will return to the Le Mans 24 Hours after a year’s absence in 2023 as he joins the Inter Europol team in the LMP2 division.

#63 Corvette Racing, Chevrolet Corvette C8.R - Jan Magnussen

Photo by: JEP / Motorsport Images

Magnussen will drive a second Oreca 07-Gibson entered by Inter Europol in the French endurance classic, sharing the car with his former High Class Racing team-mate Anders Fjordbach and gentleman driver Mark Kvamme.

It will mark Magnussen’s second Le Mans outing in an LMP2 car following his maiden appearance in 2021 with High Class, where he achieved his long-held dream of racing with his son and current Haas Formula 1 driver Kevin Magnussen.

The #34 Oreca that Magnussen will drive at Le Mans will be registered in the Pro/Am sub-division due to Kvamme’s status as a bronze-rated driver.

“For me personally, it is extra special, as it will be my 24th participation in Le Mans,” said Magnussen, who will turn 50 a few weeks after the race. 

“It’s crazy to think that during my first race in 1999, I said to the press that I would not come back again. When I later crossed the finish line and saw the crew standing on the pit wall tired, dirty but also happy to see the car finish the race, everything changed.

“Since then, Le Mans has been the greatest moment of the year, and I’m happy to be back again for another try. 

“With only weeks until the start, we have limited time for testing and preparation, but with a strong team behind us combined with a line-up of drivers with lots of long-distance experience, we are optimistic and looking forward to getting started.”

#34 Inter Europol Competition Oreca 07 - Gibson: Jakub Smiechowski, Fabio Scherer, Albert Costa

#34 Inter Europol Competition Oreca 07 - Gibson: Jakub Smiechowski, Fabio Scherer, Albert Costa

Photo by: Eric Le Galliot

Magnussen has a long and successful history at Circuit de la Sarthe, primarily in the GT1 class with Corvette, with four class victories in six years between 2004 and ‘09 marking his best results.

Magnussen has experience of racing with both Fjordbach and Kvamme in recent years. Fjordbach was Magnussen’s team-mate during his partial WEC campaign with High Class in 2021, while Kvamme’s MDK Motorsports team ran the Magnussen father/son duo in this year’s Rolex 24 at Daytona.

The arrival of Magnussen Sr will boost the Inter Europol team, which will also field its full-season World Endurance Championship entry driven by Jakub Smiechowski, Fabio Scherer and Albert Costa in the regular all-Pro LMP2 division at Le Mans.

Inter Europol team manager Sascha Fassbender said: “We’re looking forward to Le Mans, for the first time in our history we have a Pro-Am car in the #32 and I think it will be a very strong line-up with Jan, Anders and Mark. 

“There is a lot of experience there both in racing and also in competition at Le Mans. We are all looking forward to a strong race.”

Graff names Pilet, van der Garde in LMP2 line-up

Graff Racing announced that its LMP2 Pro-Am entry at Le Mans will be crewed by Porsche driver Patrick Pilet, former F1 racer Giedo van der Garde and bronze-rated Francois Heriau.

#39 Graff Racing Oreca 07 - Gibson LMP2 of Eric Trouillet, Sebastien Page, David Droux

#39 Graff Racing Oreca 07 - Gibson LMP2 of Eric Trouillet, Sebastien Page, David Droux

Photo by: Marc Fleury

The announcement reunites Pilet with Graff Racing 15 years after they won the Porsche Carrera Cup France title together in 2007.

Pilet has been competing at Le Mans every year since 2009 and secured a best finish of second in the GTE Pro class in 2013 in a factory-entered Porsche. While primarily a GT racer, Pilet also has three LMP2 outings at Le Mans under his belt, all of which were with IDEC Sport between 2020-22.

“I am really happy to return to Graff Racing, the team with whom I made my debut in motorsports,” said Pilet. 

“15 years after my title in Porsche Carrera Cup, I hope this new adventure will be just as successful. I am convinced we have the adequate team and line-up for my favourite race.”

Van der Garde, meanwhile, will be back at Le Mans after 2021 after missing last year’s event due to Racing Team Nederland’s move from WEC to the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship.

He and Heirau are currently team-mates at TDS Racing in IMSA, with the French outfit now running a car under its own banner in the series amid a money laundering case against RTN owner Fritz van Eerd.

“After having won the Pro-Am Championship in FIA WEC in 2021, I wanted to win the 24 Hours of Le Mans so badly,” said van der Garde.

“Now together with Francois and Patrick I’m super happy to have another chance of winning Le Mans. Especially during the Centenary!"

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