BRASELTON, GA, August 23, 2014: Corvette Racing showed a return to form at Road Atlanta yesterday with Jan Magnussen, Antonio Garcia and Ryan Briscoe showing strong pace in preparation for Petit Le Mans.
The No.3 Corvette was third fastest in the two daytime practice sessions and led much of the evening session before finishing second fastest
Magnussen is out to help his teammate Garcia challenge for the driver’s championship this weekend at the final round of the TUDOR United SportsCar Championship.
While the crash at VIR and subsequent concussion put the Dane out the title race, the driver’s title will now come down to a three-way battle between Garica and Dodge Viper drivers Kuno Wittmer and Jonathan Bomarito.
Wittmer and Bomarito have been teammates in the same car all season but their team has split the pairing for the final race of the year to maximise their championship chances.
If Garcia, Magnussen and Briscoe can win on Saturday, both the Dodge Viper drivers will have to finish fourth or lower for Garcia to take the championship.
Magnussen and Garcia took four consecutive wins earlier this season before IMSA AOP (adjustment of performance) changes hindered their progress. However, the win tally will be important for Garcia in the event of a points tie at the end of Saturday’s 10 hour race.
The Danish/Spanish duo are also just point point adrift in the Patrón Endurance Cup Driver’s Championship – trailing teammates Oliver Gavin and Tommy Milner in a tightly packed race. The team is also chasing the season-long Manufacturer’s and Team’s championships for Chevrolet and Corvette Racing.
While in the past, Petit Le Mans has been 10 hours or 1000 miles – whichever came first – this year the race has been changed to 10 hours. The race goes green at 11:15am on Saturday.
Petit Le Mans (all times ET)
TUDOR Championship Practice 4: 10:10 a.m., Friday, Oct. 3
TUDOR Championship GTLM Qualifying: 4:40 p.m., Friday, Oct. 3
TUDOR Championship Prototype Qualifying: 5:25 p.m., Friday, Oct. 3
TUDOR Championship Warmup: 9 a.m., Saturday, Oct. 4
Petit Le Mans: 11:15 a.m., Saturday, Oct. 4
Petit Le Mans – Watch It (all times ET)
Qualifying: 5:30 p.m. (IMSA.com), Friday, Sept. 19
Race: 11 a.m. (IMSA.com), Saturday, Oct. 4; 3 p.m. (FOX Sports 2), Saturday, Oct. 4
JAN MAGNUSSEN Q&A
Q: Looking back at COTA, how frustrating a day was that?
A: “That was a tough day because we didn’t really have any major issues in the race. We had a little bit of a braking problem where the brakes were fading, getting too hot, but other than that we ran a decent race, decent strategy and had decent pit stops. Everything was pretty OK and we were second last and third last. It was tough. We were way off.”
Q: Is the car a lot better around Road Atlanta?
A: “Well, it’s early. Nobody really knows what everybody is doing. It feels pretty decent, I have to say we don’t quite have the overall grip that we would hope for but that just might be the track that’s not in perfect condition. Compared to last year, I think we’re ahead on lap times already so we’ll see. This will be an interesting weekend just because today is kind of hot and humid and tomorrow is supposed to be stormy and wet and Saturday cold. It could be a tricky weekend in that respect.”
Q: If the track gets a proper ‘bath’ on Friday night and washes all the rubber away is it a totally different ballgame on Saturday?
A: “Yes, it’ll change a little bit. This race isn’t quite the same as it used to be. We use to test on the weekend prior and we’d be running Monday, Tuesday, get Wednesday off and then we started with race week so it’s not the same amount of rubber that we’re used to having. So if it clears it up now, it’ll change some but not a huge amount. Sometimes for us in GT, it’s not horrible when they get to wash the Continental rubber off, it seems like it’s not always a help to us.”
Q: Did the championship battle for Antonio Garcia just got a little tougher with the SRT team splitting up their guys
A: “Yeah, now we have to beat both of them to help Antonio and the team for the Manufacturer’s title but it’s a tough call to make. That couldn’t have been a good meeting because somebody will get the short straw! They just don’t know who yet, but definitely one of them could miss out on the championship and that’s a shame. It just goes to show how much this means to them and how much they are willing to sacrifice to get the win, which is nice. You never know what this does to the mind of those two guys that have now been split but we’ll still have to just do our best, beat both of them if we can and see where we end up.”
Q: You have some extra help for this weekend with Ryan Briscoe coming in, how did he go in the first session?
A: “It was a good three sessions today as Ryan got to drive both cars. He was on the pace immediately, just as we had expected.”
Q: How did your races go last weekend in the Danish Thundersport Championship?
A: “That wasn’t good! It was the last race of the championship and I was six points off the lead going into the weekend, we had three races, so I knew I had to get a lot of points. Unfortunately, I got pushed off in the very first corner of the first race and it caused a ton of damage, so I got no points in race one. I then had to start from the back for race two and I got up to second but the guy leading the championship won that race and had enough points that he actually won the championship. I had an absolutely fantastic race getting through the field but it wasn’t enough for the championship, unfortunately. So it’s back to the shop and we’ll get ready for next year.”
Q: How was Kevin’s race in Singapore having to deal with the heat inside the cockpit of his McLaren?
A: “He was really, really fighting, I’m so proud of what he did. It was easy to see that he was struggling because anytime the camera was on him he was sitting there with his hands out of the cockpit trying to cool himself down, so something obviously was wrong, but that was the first time that he’s been cooked like that. They found what was wrong with the car, it was a seal that had broken so all the hot air got into the car from the radiators. He fought through and showed what he’s made of. He just kept fighting even though it was unbearable.”
Q: How tough would that have been when you’re on a street circuit without any real straights and concrete all around you?
A: “It looked like a place where you are driving all the time, there’s no relaxing. He did a fantastic job again and showed himself as a real racer and he fights with everybody. He’s doing a good job making a name for himself.”
Q: How much do you think he’ll like Suzuka this weekend for the Japanese Grand Prix?
A: “I think the track he’ll like. I don’t know how competitive McLaren is going to be, we won’t know until later tonight after first practice but it’s up there with everybody’s favorite tracks. It’s a fantastic place.