Jan Magnussen and Corvette Racing seeking bounce back at Watkins Glen

Jan Magnussen and the No. 3 Corvette Racing squad are looking to bounce back from heartbreak at Le Mans when they return stateside for the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship’s Sahlen’s Six Hours of The Glen.

Magnussen is set to make his 150th start with Corvette Racing at Watkins Glen International, a facility where he, alongside co-driver Antonio Garcia, took victory for Corvette in 2014.

The team is hoping to repeat that 2014 performance in upstate New York to rebound after a difficult and disappointing 24 Hours of Le Mans. After leading in the early stages of the race, and re-taking the lead Sunday morning, a poorly-timed safety car put the No. 63 Corvette C7.R of Magnussen, Garcia and Mike Rockenfeller several minutes behind first place.

Magnussen, pushing hard to bridge the gap, made a small mistake, forcing the No. 63 into the garage for repairs.

Aside from the win in 2014, Magnussen and Garcia finished third at Watkins Glen in 2017 and second last year.

The reigning two-time IMSA GTLM class champions are optimistic about a win, but the Danish and Spanish duo are also looking to close the championship gap as they push towards a third consecutive IMSA title.

Currently, Magnussen and Garcia sit in second place, just seven points behind the No. 912 Porsche.


Q: How much do you enjoy going to a place like Watkins Glen?

 “Every track on the IMSA calendar is special, with Watkins Glen, it’s the history of the place. Just racing somewhere that so many sportscar greats, IndyCar greats, F1 greats, even NASCAR greats have won at makes it that much more special of a place.
“Winning at Watkins Glen puts you in such a select group with people like Jim Clark, Emerson Fittipaldi, Jackie Stewart, Gilles Villeneuve, Rick Mears, and Tony Stewart. It’s always an honor to add your name to a list with those guys.”

Q: It will be your 150th start for Corvette Racing, how do you feel looking back over your career with the team?

 “I’m blown away by everything Corvette and I have accomplished together over the years. Four championships, four Le Mans wins, Daytona, Sebring, I’ve been so lucky to spend the last 150 races with such an amazing team. They’re a team that has given me cars that have made some of my biggest racing dreams come true. But, more than that, Corvette Racing is like a family. We don’t change over personnel very often, and so over a stretch as long as 150 races you get to know everyone on the team really well. 
“It’s been an incredibly successful 149 races so far, hopefully, 150 and beyond can be even better!”

Q: How much of a disappointment was Le Mans this year, and how do you put that behind you going into Watkins Glen?

 “Le Mans was really painful for the entire Corvette team. On our side, to be challenging for the win with four hours to go and then have the safety car put us back hurt. From there, I knew I needed to push as hard as I could to make up that gap. Unfortunately, I pushed a little too hard and made a mistake that took us out of contention.
“As much as it was bad for me, I really feel sorry for the whole team. They gave us a car, and a strategy, that could have won Le Mans, it was truly one of the best cars I’ve ever had there. 
“And then, to compound the struggles for Corvette, the No. 64 guys had a big hit earlier on in the race. I’m so thankful Marcel is okay after that.
“But, we have to put that weekend behind us. Now we’re back in the US and back focused on winning at Watkins Glen and bringing home an IMSA title.
“It’s much easier to put the bad days behind you when you drive for a team like Corvette Racing. I have so much confidence in this team and in our cars that I see no reason why we can’t come back from a bad Le Mans and stick it right on the top step of the podium at the Six Hour. Especially since that great C7.R they prepped for us at Le Mans is going to be the same one we have at Watkins Glen! Hopefully, it drives just as well but brings us some better luck.

Q: With the European season in full swing, how is Kevin feeling about Hass’s progress so far?

 “To be honest, he’s disappointed. The team started out with so much promise in Australia, and we’ve seen glimmers of that pace since—like in Spain where he finished seventh, but France was really painful. I guess we both came out of race weekends in France disappointed this year! 
“But, the good thing about the F1 season being so long is that there’s still a lot of races left. Austria the last couple years has thrown a few curveballs results-wise, and the team finished fourth and fifth there last year, so hopefully, the can make something happen and get this season back on track.”