Following his third consecutive podium in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, Danish Corvette Racing ace Jan Magnussen is headed to Circuit de la Sarthe for his 21st entry in the 24 Hours of Le Mans.
Like last year, Magnussen will pilot the No. 63 Corvette Racing C7.R alongside his full-season IMSA teammate Antonio Garcia and Mike Rockenfeller.
This will be Magnussen’s fourth time driving with ‘Rocky’ this season, with the German driver having joined the Corvette Racing team for the Rolex 24 at Daytona, the WEC 1000 Miles of Sebring and IMSA Sebring 12 Hour earlier this year. The trio finished fourth at Le Mans in 2018.
Magnussen is looking for his fifth victory at the iconic French Enduro having won three years in a row from 2004 to 2006 and again in 2009. He also has three second-place finishes at the track, and an agonizing third in 2017 when a tire puncture took them out of their late-race lead and, ultimately, cost Magnussen, Garcia and then-teammate Jordan Taylor the victory.
Magnussen, Garcia, and Rockenfeller have an impressive nine victories between the three of them and will be looking to add to that tally at the 13.626 km (8.467 mi) French track.
The team will test the No. 63 C7.R on Sunday in the official test session before the 24 Hours of Le Mans weekend kicks off Wednesday, June 12th. The 24 Hours of Le Mans will go green Saturday, June 15th at 3:00 PM Central European Time.
JAN MAGNUSSEN Q&A
Q: It’s your 21st visit to Le Mans, what keeps you coming back every year?
A: “Le Mans is such an amazing challenge. Every year it is different, and so even if you’ve won Le Mans before, you still feel like there’s more to achieve. The cars, the tires, the track itself, as much of it is the same, so much changes from one year to another.
“It’s also just Le Mans, even people that don’t know racing know about Le Mans. It’s iconic. The thrill of racing there doesn’t go away no matter how many times you’ve been there. I still get goosebumps when I get into the car the first time each year. Plus, they’re so much going on during the week, even scrutineering is a show! And it’s a great place to meet fans that may not be able to get over to the US for an IMSA race. Truly, going to Le Mans never gets old.”
Q: How much does having run the FIA WEC race at Sebring help you going into this event?
A: “I think it helps a lot that we ran the 1000 Miles of Sebring. The car is slightly different because of their BOP and getting a taste of that earlier this year at Sebring really helps us be 100% prepared going into Le Mans.
“Plus, it gave us a chance to race against some of the cars we don’t get to over here in the states, like the Ferrari and Aston Martin teams.
“Corvette Racing is all about preparation, and I think running at Sebring gave us that extra preparedness boost going into Le Mans that could give us an edge.”
Q: In addition to being your 21st Le Mans, this is also Corvette Racing’s 20th. You have four victories with Corvette, what do you think makes the team so successful here, and what do you think makes your pairing so good?
A: “Corvette Racing is prepared for anything and they never give up. To be successful at Le Mans, you have to be ready for whatever the day throws at you, and you can’t let up at all over the 24 hours. It’s an endurance race, but there’s also never a moment to relax. That’s what Corvette Racing is so good at and that’s why we’ve been so successful here.
“On top of that, the continuity within the team is really important. There are very few changes that are made, unless they need to be, and that kind of continuity, with drivers, with team members, is really important to the program.”
Q: Kevin looked very quick in Monaco, despite falling back during the race. How is he feeling about the season?
A: “He was super fast all weekend! I know he’s disappointed about the finish, especially falling back further with a penalty, but it was still a good weekend for him. He qualified fifth, which should have translated to a better finish, but it just wasn’t in the cards for the team during the race.
“But I think going into Canada they have good momentum. He got back into the points in Spain, so that was really encouraging for him, and then to do so well most of the weekend in Monaco, I think things are on the upswing. Plus, there should be a lot of Haas fans in Canada cheering Kevin on since it’s actually closer to their base than Austin is!”