Magnussen and Corvette ready for 24 hour battle


A small stone caught up in the throttle assembly ruined Jan Magnussen’s 2015 24 Hours of Le Mans before it even began but now the four-time class winner is ready to fight back.

Magnussen and teammates Antonio Garcia and Ricky Taylor topped the times at the Le Mans test for Corvette Racing – putting the No.63 car back on track in France for the first time since Magnussen’s qualifying crash.

The stone jammed the throttle in Magnussen’s Corvette last year sending the car hard into the barrier in the Porsche Curves. While the Dane was able to walk away just just a few bumps and bruises, he and Garcia not only missed the 24 hour enduro but had to switch to a back-up car for several rounds of the IMSA championship.

 

 

For 2016, the experienced Danish/Spanish duo will be joined by Ricky Taylor who recently scored victory in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship championship race with his brother Jordan in Detroit.

Magnussen and Garcia previously drove with Ricky’s brother Jordan at Le Mans from 2012 to 2014 – finishing fifth, fourth and second in the three years.

For 2016, Magnussen will be aiming for his fifth Le Mans victory. The Dane won on his first three attempts with Corvette Racing in the GT1 class in 2004, 05 and 06 and then again in 2009 with Garcia and Johnny O’Connell.

After completing scrutineering in downtown Le Mans yesterday, the Corvette Racing squad will now prepare for the first day of track action tomorrow when the green flag waves for practice at 4:00pm.

 

24 HOURS OF LE MANS SCHEDULE

European Time
Wednesday, June 15
4.00pm – 8.00pm (Practice),
10.00pm – midnight (Qualifying)

Thursday, June 16
7.00pm – 9.00pm (Qualifying)
10.00pm – Midnight (Qualifying)

Saturday, June 18
9.00am – 9:45am (Warm-up)
3.00pm (Green flag)

Sunday, June 19
3:00pm (Chequered flag)

 

US Time
Wednesday, June 15
10.00am – 2.00pm (Practice),
4.00pm – 6:00pm (Qualifying)

Thursday, June 16
1.00pm – 3-00pm (Qualifying)
4.00pm – 6:00pm (Qualifying)

Saturday, June 18
3.00am – 3:45am (Warm-up)
9.00am (Green flag)

Sunday, June 19
9:00am (Chequered flag)

 

US TV SCHEDULE
8:30am Saturday – 2:00pm Saturday (FOX Sports 1)
2:00pm Saturday – 4:30pm Saturday (FOX Sports 2)
6.00pm Saturday – 6:30pm Saturday (FOX Sports 2)
7.00pm Saturday – 7:30pm Saturday (FOX Sports 2)
10:30pm Saturday – 2:30am Sunday (FOX Sports 2)
2:30am Sunday – 9:30am Sunday (FOX Sports 1)

The full race will be streamed on FOX Sports GO

 

Jan Magnussen Q&A

lemans_june10_2015_10Q: How pleased were you to be P1 at the end of the Le Mans test day?

JM: “Yes, it was a good test for us, I think we got through most of our planned test items. The balance of the car was nice right from the beginning and we were able to follow the track conditions as best we could. Ricky got in the car and got a lot of laps so he got up to speed. It’s still just a test so it’s difficult to read anything into it. Being P1 is nice but it doesn’t really mean anything. I think everybody was happy and we’ll go from there.”

 

Q: Did you notice any track changes and updates from last year?

JM: “In the middle of the Porsche curves, they’ve put up the SAFER barrier, so the first left hander in the Porsche curves now has the barrier on the outside. The SAFER barrier stops just before where I crashed last year! It does make that first left hander a little more exciting because now you have a wall right on the edge of the track. It adds a little bit of a street circuit feel to it. Other than that, it’s all good. There are some new rubber ‘floppies’ that are in place for us to not cut the corners too much and use too much track. That’s about it.”

 

jan_ford_drivers_1400

Q: We’re you following the Ford at anytime during the test day, how do you see them shape up?

JM: “I wasn’t really close to the Fords at any point but they are in that group where everybody is within 1.5 seconds so they’re as fast as you’d expect them to be. We’ll see, I think they’ll go faster come race week. I don’t think there was any one team in particular that really stood out. The Aston Martin had pretty high top speed but that was pretty much it.”

 

Q: Not everybody shows their full potential on the test day, but how do you see the opposition shaking up?

JM: “It’s very close. The whole field of GTLM Pro, I think, were within 1.5 seconds. It’s very close and it seems like it’s going to be a tough fight. It will be interesting to see who really goes for it in qualifying. The weather during the week is looking a little rough but we’ll see what happens. Last year the 64 Corvette qualified last and won the race. So it’s all about having a good race car and I’m pretty sure we have it.”

 

Q: How important is experience at Le Mans?

JM: “At Le Mans experience counts at lot. Corvette Racing has been 16 times and they’ve learned a lot and have been able to apply it. We have eight wins which is pretty great for the record book. One of the things that really works in favor of Corvette is that they put a lot of importance on continuity with drivers, engineers and mechanics so it’s a team that can grow together and learn together. I think usually that really pays off in the longer races.”

 

watkins_glen_june28_15_27Q: Speaking of continuity, for years now you must be very familiar with having Dan Binks being the voice in your ears as you’re running around the track at Le Mans?

JM: “Yeah, it’s getting less and less though. He’s still there and he’ll provide me with the info that I need, if I need it. But most of it now I get from the radar system, which is super helpful so there’s not as much info required from the pits. It’s not like it used to be when he was pretty much talking non stop the whole race.”

 

Q: How helpful is the radar system both as a performance and safety feature?

JM: “I don’t know that everybody has the radar system, but everyone does have the possibility to get it now. It does give you a much better visual to see what is going on behind. With the radar it will give you a distance, a time and how many cars are coming. It’s always difficult at night because the lights on the prototypes and the GT cars are so bright.
“It makes it really hard to gauge how far behind they are and you can’t gauge closing speeds. You pretty much get blinded when you look in the mirrors. The actual camera screen also flares up if there’s a car behind but then the radar comes in and you get the distance and you can see the closing speed and which side he’s going and how many of them there are and you can kind of pick out which ones are prototypes and which ones are GTs.
“Even when it gets to a raining situation where the camera lens usually gets so dirty that you can’t use the camera anyway, you still have the radar that will tell you who’s coming, how many and when.”

 

mags_scrutineering_lm24_16_11Q: How many fans from back home in Denmark are you expecting this week to come to Le Mans?

JM: “There are normally around 40,000 Danes here at Le Mans every year. It’s a big event and it’s also covered hugely in Denmark.
“It’s on the biggest channel in Danish television, covering like 27 hours. It’s great to be a Danish driver at Le Mans it’s always such a great feeling because you have the support of all these fans that are down there for the race and the party and to support the Danish drivers.
“It’s great, it’s always a fantastic feeling. They let themselves be known with their flags and the painted faces and it makes for a good party.”