After reclaiming sole ownership of the TUDOR United SportsCar Championship GTLM points lead in Canada, Jan Magnussen, Antonio Garcia and Corvette Racing have their sights set on stretching out that lead at Road America this weekend.
Magnussen and Garcia have a two-point lead over the BMW of Bill Auberlen and Dirk Werner. After a fierce battle at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park, the no.3 Corvette was able to get by their BMW rivals in the closing minutes of the race to grab the final podium position.
While the classic Road America course is a favorite for every driver in the field, the Elkhart Lake circuit hasn’t been kind to the Danish/Spanish combo in recent years with a pair of sixth place finishes combined with a second place in 2013 – their American Le Mans Series championship year.
Last year the pair suffered a puncture with Garcia behind the wheel before Magnussen moved up from eighth to sixth in the final stint.
The Danish ace is keen to get back to his winning ways at Road America. Magnussen won in the GTS class with David Brabham aboard a Ferrari in 2003 and five years later took his second victory in 2008 – this time for Corvette Racing with Johnny O’Connell in the GT1 class.
Practice for this weekend’s Continental Tire Road Race Showcase kicks off at 12 noon on Friday, August 7.
Continental Tire Road Race Showcase – GT Le Mans (all times CT unless noted)
TUDOR Practice 1: Noon, Friday, Aug. 7
TUDOR Practice 2: 4:15 p.m., Friday, Aug. 7
TUDOR Practice 3: 9:15 a.m., Saturday, Aug. 8
TUDOR GTLM Qualifying: 4 p.m., Saturday, Aug. 8 (IMSA.com)
TUDOR Warmup: 9 a.m., Sunday, Aug. 9
Race: 2:05 p.m., Sunday, Aug. 9 (3 p.m. ET, FOX Sports 1)
JAN MAGNUSSEN Q&A
JM: “Yes, we’re back in our old car and everything looks to be just as it was so I’m looking forward to that. That’s all positive. For sure, we have to be on top of our game because the Championship is very close and everybody is super fast so we need to make the most of this weekend and get as many points as we can.
“If we can get a win that would be great, if not then we just need to get more points than the BMW. It’s a track I’ve had a lot of success at in the past – it really is one of my favorite “old school” tracks that I really enjoy.”
Q: Do you have a favorite part of Road America or is it the whole package, the corners that make it such a good place to drive?
JM: “It’s the whole thing. It’s the rhythm of the place. There’s some super fast sections, the carousel, and the kink is I think everybody’s favorite. When the car is good it is really fantastic to go through there but if the car is bad then it’s really scary.
“It’s a fantastic place, lots of history, a long lap. I think a lot of European guys are reminded of Spa and certain parts remind me of that place. It’s one of the tracks that’s in everybody’s top five.”
JM: “We have to play it smart. This weekend is not a long race, two hours and 40 minutes. But we have to make the most of it, take our chances and hope it pays off. We have to stay out of situations that can get us in trouble but it’s tough, everybody is fast now. It’s on the track, in the pit lane, it’s the strategy – we need to be on top in every area.”
Q: Is the Championship going to be even tougher next year with Ford entering the class?
JM: “I think it’s fantastic that they’re joining us. Their car is built for next year’s specifications, so it’s difficult to read anything into the testing results they have but so far I think they are doing pretty well and I can’t wait to see where they are.
“For next year the class overall will be faster, there’s more aero, but I’m not sure about the power and what they are doing about that. The updated aero will certainly make us faster in most places. “
JM: “Yes, we had a street race in Copenhagen. It was a fantastic setup and lots of people. Unfortunately, nothing went our way after qualifying. We qualified P1 with a good margin but in the first corner somebody pushed me off and that ruined whole weekend for us because then for the next race we had to start last.
“Again for the third race, we started down the order because they average the finishes from heat one and two for the start of the third race.
“In that race somebody in front of me crashed and I was just in the wrong place at the wrong time. Somebody tried to avoid the crash and hit me and put me in the wall.
“It was kind of a disaster, overall, points wise. I’m now second in the Championship, 30 points back which is a big disaster. That’s how it goes sometimes, but other than that it was the first time we raced in downtown Copenhagen, it was a success I think for the organizers and for the spectators.”
Q: Was this the first time that the Danish Thundersports Championship raced at the historic weekend?
JM: “It’s still a historic event, it’s the Copenhagen Historic Grand Prix. We also had a charity event where I drove people around in a Corvette Z06, Kevin was in a McLaren and Tom Kristensen in an Audi and a bunch of other guys.
“For an hour each day we took people around and we collected more than $100,000. The money goes to the local children’s hospital. That was a success and it was fun to drive around the streets but other than that it kind of sucked looking at the results!”
JM: “We have a pretty good chance. We have a lot of speed. We have four weekends left with three races each so 12 rounds. We have enough to make up for this. The cars are Trans Am II spec, with some small modifications to the brakes and tires. Other than that, they are exactly the same. They’re actually built in the U.S..”