Jan Magnussen, Corvette Racing looking for another Le Mans crown

LE MANS, France (Tuesday, June 11, 2019) – Jan Magnussen and the No. 63 Corvette Racing crew will be looking for yet another GTE Pro victory at the FIA World Endurance Championship 24 Hours of Le Mans following a very successful pre-race test at the Circuit de la Sarthe.

The Corvette Racing squad went through the traditional pre-race scrutineering in downtown Le Mans on Sunday and now prepare to hit the track for the first time on Wednesday evening in France.

Magnussen will again share driving duties in the No. 63 with full-season IMSA teammate Antonio Garcia and endurance specialist Mike Rockenfeller.

It was Rockenfeller that set the fastest time not just for the No. 63 C7.R, but also the fastest time in the 17-car GTE Pro class at the recent Le Mans test day on June 2.

Although they set the fastest time of the day, the Corvette Racing team spent a majority of the eight-hour test day setting up the cars for long-run pace and handling as opposed to optimizing fastest single-lap speed. Focusing on race preparation will be beneficial in Magnussen’s hunt for a fifth 24 Hours of Le Mans title.

The win would be special for Magnussen and the Corvette Racing team as 2019 marks 20 years of Corvette Racing at Le Mans, the longest continuous streak for any team at the French enduro. It would also be Magnussen and Garcia’s first win since VIR in 2017.

The race weekend kicks off Wednesday, June 12th with two sessions. The 24 Hours of Le Mans will go green Saturday, June 15th at 3:00 PM Central European Time.

Jan Magnussen Q&A

Q: How is going to Le Mans different than racing in the states in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship?

A: “Obviously there are going to be differences between IMSA and WEC. Some of the procedures are different, we get to race against different drivers, and a couple of the cars are different. In IMSA, the Ferrari only joins us for a couple of races a year, and we don’t have the Aston Martins, so that’s definitely an adjustment. Plus, there are 17 cars in the class, compared to IMSA where we have eight.
“It’s also different because we aren’t fighting for the WEC championship. While you always want to win the big races, like Le Mans and Daytona and Sebring, in IMSA we have the championship to worry about. A second place finish at Daytona matters a lot more for Corvette Racing and our championship chances than a second place finish at Le Mans.
“You always want to win and we will always go for it, but at Le Mans, winning is truly the only goal.”

Q: How special would it be to win Le Mans for the fifth time?

A: “It would mean so much to win a fifth Le Mans for so many reasons. First, it’s my 21st entry, but will be my 20th race start since we didn’t take the green flag in 2015. It’s also Corvette Racing’s 20th Le Mans start, which is the longest streak for any team. To be such a big milestone years for myself and for the team, winning would just make it extra special.
“Second, Antonio and myself are both itching for a win. We haven’t stood on the top step of the podium since the end of 2017 and to bring that streak to an end at Le Mans would make the victory that much sweeter.
“Also, I really want to win in the Corvette C7.R. It’s the third iteration of the Corvette that Corvette Racing has brought to Le Mans, and I haven’t driven it to victory lane yet! I won in the C5-R for my first Le Mans win in 2004, and the other three where in the C6.R, so it would mean a lot to have a Le Mans win in all three cars.”

Q: What makes this race so unique?

A: “There is really no other race like it in the world. Scrutineering downtown on Sunday and
Monday in the middle of Le Mans is a brilliant event for the fans because they get to come down and see the cars up close and meet the drivers.
“Tuesday’s autograph session is another great event for the fans and of course the drivers’ parade on Friday night is just incredible. So many fans come out to see us and it is a great way to lead into the race on Saturday.
“You actually have 11 hours of track running on Wednesday and Thursday night before Saturday. You’d think that is an enormous amount of time and you’d have every opportunity to get everything done that you wanted to try.
“But there never seems to be enough time. Luckily I’m fortunate enough to be with the best team in the business so we’re going into this weekend as best prepared as we could possibly be.”

Q: How much support does Corvette Racing get in France?

A: “The fan reaction to our team is just incredible and the fact we’ve been coming here for 20 years has really made us incredible fan favorites.
“We’re very appreciative of all the support and we’re looking forward to putting on a show for the fans again this year.
“From my perspective, coming to Le Mans sometimes feels like I’m racing at home in Denmark. There are so many fans that come down for the race and they so many of them all camp out together on site at the track.
“Part of my pre-race ritual is to go and visit them on Friday – it is amazing to have so much support and I’d love nothing more than seeing a bunch of Danish flags waving while I’m standing on the top step of the podium with Antonio and Mike on Sunday.”

Q: Canada was a bit of an up and down weekend for Kevin, how’s he feeling heading into the French Grand Prix?

A: “Yeah, Canada wasn’t easy. The weekend started out so well, the cars were quick and Kevin was feeling confident going into qualifying. He even made it into Q3 for the first time in Montreal, which was really great for the entire team. But, then he brushed the wall, which is so easy to do in Canada with how fast and tight the track is. The car snapped around and it was a full rebuild for the crew overnight.
“The rebuild, combined with struggling on the Pirelli tires, which has been an ongoing problem with the team, meant it was hard for him to move up through the field. I know he’s disappointed because the start of the weekend went so well and there was a lot of promise there, but I also know that getting into Q3 was definitely a plus to come out of that weekend.
“Having a weekend off between races after a bad result is tough because you want to get right back in and do better, so I know he’s looking forward to France at the end of the month. It was a good event last year for him, he finished seventh, so hopefully he can repeat that performance this year.”