Watkins Glen, New York (Friday, July 1, 2016): After the Le Mans battle, Jan Magnussen and Corvette Racing switch their focus back to the USA with the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship returning this weekend at Watkins Glen.
The weekend represents a huge holiday weekend in the US with the fireworks on the racetrack set to be followed by Fourth of July fireworks on Monday.
It’s not a surprise that Danish ace Magnussen has had such a long and successful career in the US. Each year for his birthday the entire country puts on a fireworks display to celebrate – his birthday is also on Monday on July 4.
Magnussen had plenty to celebrate here at Watkins Glen two years ago when he and Antonio Garcia took victory.
Magnussen and Garcia had a perfect race with Ricky Taylor at Le Mans but the Corvette Racing crew faced a tough task with the latest Balance of Performance adjustments in the class leaving the C7.R battling to compete against Ford and Ferrari.
The team is hopeful for a more even battle this weekend. A late race fuel stop at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca took them out of podium contention but Magnussen and Corvette Racing are hopeful their experience in long-distance races will help this weekend over the six-hour journey.
WATKINS GLEN – TIMETABLE
FRIDAY, JULY 1, 2016
11:25 am -12:25 pm: Practice #1
3:20 pm – 4:20 pm: Practice #2
SATURDAY, JULY 2, 2016
10:15 am -11:15 am: Practice #3
4:05 pm – 4:20 pm: Qualifying GTLM
SUNDAY, JULY 3, 2016
8:00 am – 8:20 am: Warm Up
10:10 am – 4:10 pm: Race – Six Hours
FRIDAY, JULY 1, 2016
5:25 pm -6:25 pm: Practice #1
9:20 pm – 10:20 pm: Practice #2
SATURDAY, JULY 2, 2016
4:15 pm -5:15 pm: Practice #3
10:05 pm – 10:20 pm: Qualifying GTLM
SUNDAY, JULY 3, 2016
2:00 pm – 2:20 pm: Warm Up
4:10 pm – 10:10 pm: Race – Six Hours
US TV SCHEDULE
Saturday, July 2 (All times EDT)
3:40 p.m. – 5:10 p.m. IMSA.com (Live) (IMSA App)
Sunday, July 3
10:00 a.m. FOX Sports 1
Watch online on www.FOXSportsGo.com, or download the FOX Sports Go app.
Jan Magnussen Q&A
JM: “It’s a bit frustrating. We ran a really good race, no mistakes, not a scratch on the car. The only time the car went in the garage was for a scheduled brake change. And usually when we do that at Le Mans we come away with a good result. So P7 after having done that is absolutely disappointing. We’ll have to go home and figure out how to do better.”
Q: Were you happy with how the BoP worked out in the GTE-Pro class?
JM: “Obviously, the difference in speed between the cars this year was quite big especially with Ford and Ferrari and then everybody else. That was disappointing. I think everybody in the GTLM class expects to go to Le Mans with a chance of winning because of the BoP, but this year … I don’t know how it came to be as it was … it certainly didn’t feel like a fair fight between those two and the rest of the field.”
JM: “He took the first part of the race so he sat behind the safety car for almost an hour before the race got going, which was a little bit long. I felt like they could have let the race go a little bit earlier.
“It seemed like as soon as the race got going, everybody was already going to slicks so the conditions were fairly safe and rain is always a part of Le Mans that you have to deal with.
“Apart from that conditions were quite good. The track improved throughout the race as it rubbered in. We didn’t have any issues handling wise or mechanical so we pretty much ran the race that we wanted to run, except we weren’t quite fast enough.”
Q: Despite the result, you must have again been thrilled with the support from the Danish fans making the trip to Le Mans?
JM: “They were absolutely amazing! There’s so much support from those guys. For me it’s one of the best things about Le Mans actually – going there and feeling the support from the Danish fans. They have their faces painted, wearing team t-shirts, everything to show their support. It’s absolutely unreal every year. It gives you a fantastic feeling.”
Q: How was your annual visit to the Danish campsite area?
JM: “There are two main Danish camps at Le Mans with about five or six thousand people in each and then there are a bunch of smaller ones. I think the total number of Danes is nearly 40,000, which is more than at any Danish race – just crazy!
“Even with the weather being a total mess, they still have an awesome time. They got a bunch of material to soak up the water and the mud and then they just kept partying.”
JM: “It was good fun to be back racing in Europe. Usually I get one shot every year at Le Mans but to go to Paul Ricard for one of the Blancpain endurance races was a great experience.
“It was pretty crazy actually with the amount of cars. It’s super aggressive racing. We didn’t really have the car to qualify up front, so we qualified 20th which pretty much all the Audis were in a group there, midfield.
“I think there were 57 cars, so its a pretty big field. As the race went on, the race pace was really good for the Audis so we managed to get up through the field and finish third.”
Q: You had Audi drivers Mike Rockenfeller and Marcel Fassler race with Corvette at Daytona and Sebring – what was it like to swap?
JM: “Yeah, WRT is a great team to go to, very professional. Audi wasn’t involved in this deal but it’s fun that we are allowed to do these things and go and experience other race cars and race tracks and other teams. I think it helps everyone up their game a little bit.
Q: How was Antonio’s race?
JM: “His car ran into trouble mid race – they had a puncture and then they had a penalty for pit lane infringement. But they were fast as well, they would have been right up there with us or ahead of us.
JM: “No, we haven’t been up there to test but by all accounts the new surface is good. It’s faster so I’m really looking forward to hitting the track today. It’s going to be six hard hours I’m sure. We’ll maybe go a second or two faster, it will be a physical race and six hours with two guys is going to be a tough one.
Q: Watkins Glen was already fast, the GTLM cars are faster this year and you’ve got a repaved track. How much are you looking forward to it?
JM: “Yes, for sure, I can’t wait. It’s such a cool place to drive especially in a car with a little bit of downforce and good power so I’m really looking forward to it. The next two races are going to be fantastic, they’re really old school types of tracks here and at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park. It will be a great two weeks.”
Q: And hopefully some good weather unlike last year?
JM: “Hopefully we can have a dry race, that’s what it looks like right now but if it rains, it rains, we’re going to have to deal with that too but it would be nice if the weather is good.”
JM: “As I remember it turned into a fuel race towards the end and Antonio was doing a fantastic job stretching the fuel to go to the end.
“We had a run of great success where we didn’t necessarily have the fastest car but everybody executed their roles perfectly – we didn’t make any mistakes, the team had perfect stops, the preparation was great and the strategy was spot on.
“That’s really what it takes in this class – you need much more than just a fast car. You have to have everything perfect.”