Magnussen on pole at VIR


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Jan Magnussen put the No. 3 Corvette C7.R on pole position Saturday for the Michelin GT Challenge at VIR, the first overall pole for Corvette Racing in team history.

The Danish ace set a class record with a lap of 1:41.557 in the Corvette he shares with Antonio Garcia to lead the GT Le Mans (GTLM) category and the overall standings on the GT-only weekend at Virginia International Raceway.

jan_pole_VIR_16_009Tommy Milner gave Corvette Racing a 1-2 effort in qualifying with a lap of 1:41.568. It is the first 1-2 qualifying effort for the team since 2012 in the American Le Mans Series.

Saturday also marked Magnussen’s first GTLM pole since 2014 at Long Beach. He and Garcia went on to win the race.

“I’m so happy. It’s an overall pole so that is even better! The team has done a fantastic job with our Corvette C7.R,” Magnussen said.

“It’s so close out there. I knew I needed every single hundredth (of a second) to beat the No. 4 Corvette! It’s a fantastic effort for everyone at Corvette Racing. We really pulled things together after a great test earlier this week and were able to use some of that here. We can’t wait for tomorrow.”

The two Corvette C7.Rs will lead the 21-car to the field for Sunday’s 1:35 p.m. race – the ninth round for GTLM cars in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship.

“Hopefully the two Corvettes can have a great race together from the front,” Magnussen said.

jan_pole_VIR_16_019“I’ve always been a huge fan of VIR. It’s a fantastic place to drive; you spend lots of time down through the Esses and the new surface makes it a great experience. I can’t remember when a GT car went around here with this much grip. It feels like a whole different category.

“The tarmac has a lot more grip than last year. We like it a lot. We thought the track would be a lot slower this afternoon but it wasn’t by much if at all.”

Corvette Racing is a past winner at VIR with Milner and teammate Oliver Gavin winning in 2012 on their way to the ALMS GT title. Magnussen and Garcia were third in the 2013 race to clinch the ALMS GT Manufacturer’s Championship for Chevrolet and the Team title for Corvette Racing; the pair went on to win the Driver’s Championship to close the season.

Magnussen also was fastest in Saturday morning’s final practice session, and Garcia was the fastest driver in Friday’s afternoon session. The two Corvettes spent two days testing at Road Atlanta earlier this week and implemented some of the lessons learned there to VIR. It paid off in a major way and could help Corvette Racing to the GTLM championships.