DAYTONA BEACH, FL, USA (Wednesday, January 23, 2019) – Danish ace Jan Magnussen is ready to defend his second consecutive IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar GTLM Championship title with Corvette Racing and Antonio Garcia.
The title defense starts this weekend at the Rolex 24 hour endurance race at Daytona International Speedway.
Magnussen and co-driver Antonio Garcia lead took the championship win by a mere six points in 2018 and seven points in 2017.
For Magnussen, the championship win was his fourth with Corvette racing and his third with Antonio Garcia. It was also the third title in three years for Corvette Racing in the IMSA GTLM series.
The Danish and Spanish pairing’s championship victory was the first scored without a race victory since 2005. While they’d love to repeat the championship victory, Magnussen is also looking for race wins in 2019.
Hunting down that victory got off to a great start for Magnussen and Garcia in Daytona. The duo showed strong pace in the annual ‘Roar Before the 24’ test, with Magnussen setting the fastest time in the weekend’s qualifying for garage at pit positions for this weekend’s race.
Magnussen’s 1:42.651 was a full tenth of a second faster than his pole position time for the Rolex 24 in 2018.
Magnussen and Garcia will be hoping the pace remains as they chase down their first Rolex 24 victory since 2015. They’ll be aided during the endurance race by sportscar star, and Daytona co-driver over the last three years, Mike Rockenfeller.
Jan Magnussen Q&A
Q: Coming into the season as two-time defending drivers champions, and three-time team champions, does your approach change at all?
A: “I don’t think your approach can change in this series, really. If we’re not going for it every single race weekend all year, including this one, then there’s no way we’ll be there at the end.
“IMSA, and especially the GTLM class is so competitive that we need to bring our A-game every single weekend. Luckily for Antonio and myself, these Corvette racing guys have proven that they’ve done that the last three years and I don’t see why we can’t make it four.
Q: What kind of unique challenges does a race like Daytona provide?
A: “A 24 hour race is really hard no matter what. We’re feeling pretty confident going into this one, we were fast at the roar, we have the best garage and pit stall and myself and Antonio and the team are all keen to defend our titles, but there’s still so much that can happen.
“We’ve been caught out by bad luck before at Daytona, but since our win in 2015 we haven’t finished lower than fourth. I think it’s time we get this No. 3 Corvette C7.R back into victory lane, and I think we have the team to do it.”
Q: What has changed between 2018 and 2019 for you and for the Corvette team?
A: “Honestly, not that much has changed in the offseason. One of the things that makes Corvette Racing work as well as it does is the consistency. We have the same drivers, the same third drivers in the car, the same car, the same personnel. It really makes the team a family and it really makes us better at working together and working for the good of the team.
“The biggest change in the offseason for us has been a new tire. We have a new tire from Michelin for 2019 and while the Roar wasn’t our first time running it, I think the biggest new challenge will be finding the right setup to suit that tire.”
Q: How excited are you to work with Mike Rockenfeller again?
A: “Rocky’s been a great addition to the team since Antonio and myself started running Daytona with him in 2016. He meshes really well with us and with the No. 3 team and always provides good feedback to make the car even better over the course of the weekend and the race.
“The three of us have two podium finishes together, and Rocky’s definitely been instrumental in those, but it would be nice for the three of us to share a victory for sure.”