Jan Magnussen, Antonio Garcia and Corvette Racing may be on the verge of championship success in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship in the GTLM class for the driver’s and team’s crown, but they still face a huge battle ahead this weekend.
Partnered with Mike Rockenfeller this weekend, Magnussen and Garcia’s No. 3 Corvette C7.R only needs to start the race here at Petit Le Mans to claim the driver and team’s titles.
However, Chevrolet only holds a four-point lead over Ford in the manufacturer’s title race. The No. 3 Corvette Racing crew plus Oliver Gavin, Tommy Milner and Marcel Fassler aboard the No. 4 will be out to claim Chevrolet’s second-consecutive title.
The driver’s crown will be the second for the Magnussen/Garcia pairing. The duo also won their class in the final season of the American Le Mans Series in 2013.
Magnussen previously claimed the ALMS GT1 championship with Johnny O’Connell in 2008. Since making his US sportscar debut in 2009, Magnussen has only once failed to win at least one race each year (2012).
Since the debut of the combined IMSA series in 2014, Magnussen and Garcia have been the dominant duo – holding the record for the most wins in the class with 10 victories.
Magnussen, Garcia and Rockenfeller’s Petit Le Mans battle began well today when they were third fastest in the opening session on Thursday. Garcia backed that up with a storng performance in qualifying – setting the third fastest time this afternoon.
Jan Magnussen Q&A
Q: The championship is almost within reach, how satisfying will it be to win another championship?
A: “Very. We’ve come very close in the past couple of years – especially in 2014 when we won four races in a row but suffered a bit with BOP towards the end of the year.
“I’m delighted to still be a part of this team after 13 years and thrilled to still be winning races and chasing championships with Corvette Racing.
“Since we teamed up as a combination in 2012, Antonio has had an amazing run. He has been a brilliant teammate and I’m delighted to take another title with him.
“But we can’t get ahead of ourselves, we still need to take a green flag. Once, we’ve done that – then we can set out sights on the manufacturer’s title.”
Q: What would it mean to take a clean sweep of the driver’s, team’s and manufacturer’s title?
A: “That is what we’re here for. Everyone at Corvette Racing is really focused on the manufacturer’s championship.
“The Ford guys are great competitors and we’re really looking forward to racing them hard this weekend.
“We’ve got a small lead but anything can happen in the race. We have to be at the top of our game all day on Saturday and keep racing until the final lap.
“This class keeps getting more and more competitive and I wouldn’t be surprised if we don’t know the outcome until after the final lap on Saturday night.”
Q: Would you like to finish off the season with a win?
A: “That would certainly help for the manufacturer’s title. Victory is our aim every weekend that we turn up here in the IMSA championship and we’ll be giving it our best shot.
“Our Corvette Racing guys really are the best in the business. Our guys have proven themselves over and over again.
“We rolled off the truck pretty well and I’m confident going into the race.”
Q: What is it like to have Mike Rockenfeller back with the team this weekend?
A: “The great thing about Rocky is that he fits into the team so well and so seamlessly.
“We give him a couple of extra laps to re-acquaint himself with the Corvette in practice but he is very quickly on the pace every time he is with us.
“He did a brilliant job at Daytona and Sebring and I have no doubt he’ll do an awesome job this weekend.
“He might be the third driver, but if you want to be successful in this class, your extra endurance race guy has to be at the top of his game.
“Every team up and down the pit lane bring in some really good guys and we’re very lucky to have Rocky and Marcel Fassler join us at Corvette Racing.”