Long Beach, CA, Wednesday, 17 April 2013 Ã¢â‚¬â€ Danish Corvette Racing ace Jan Magussen is looking to put the troubles of Sebring behind him when he and Spanish teammate Antonio Garcia hit the streets of Long Beach this weekend for the second round of the American Le Mans Series.
The duo along with Jordan Taylor suffered gearbox issues at the opening round of the championship and left Florida without any points in the championship. The result was a major blow for their championship aspirations but Magnussen now has his sights set on concentrating on race wins with a “nothing to lose” attitude.
The Danish/Spanish duo last year finished just off the podium in 2012 after their No.3 Corvette was damaged in a first corner pile up. Despite losing downforce (from a missing front hood), the ‘Vette was still very strong.
With warm weather predicted throughout the Long Beach weekend, the forecast will make a pleasant change to last year when heavy rain severely impacted Friday practice and qualifying.
Corvette Racing hits the track for the first time at 7:30am on Friday for a two hour practice session. Qualifying is not until 5.25pm for the GT class cars. Saturday’s two hour race goes green at 4:30pm.
JAN MAGNUSSEN Q&A
Q: How much are you looking forward to putting the troubles of Sebring behind and heading to Long Beach?
A: “We’re a long way behind in the championship because of scoring zero points at Sebring. We just need to go out to Long Beach and try and get a win. I’m really looking forward to it. The Long Beach circuit is fantastic. It’s one of my favorite street circuits.
“Last year we were very competitive. Unfortunately, we had some damage right at the beginning of the race, which because the race was so short, we couldn’t stop and fix it and try to make it up. We just kept going. We were still pretty fast but we obviously lost something because of the damage to the car. We’re looking forward to having a trouble-free race this time.”
Q: Forecasts call for high temperatures this weekend. How does the heat affects the car?
A: “When it’s really hot out, I think the Corvettes have a bit of an advantage because we’ve spend so much time working on the air conditioning system in the car. It means the air conditioning goes into the helmet, through the seat, cools the body and cools the whole cabin down. I think we have a little bit of an advantage over whatever systems the other teams run. We’ve been working on this for many years now and we have a very good system. That has a big effect on driver performance. At Long Beach, we’ll do one stint each. It won’t be very physical anyways, but for the race that you’re doing double or triple stints, it’s much easier getting back in the car. The system is working so well now that when you get in the car, you get the sensation of cooling down. It’s pretty extraordinary what it can do now.
Q: What kind of effort has Pratt & Miller put into other systems, such as the radar, and how does it work?
A: “We’ve been working on the radar system for some time now. Sebring was the first time we used it and it really helped everybody throughout the race. Especially when it got dark, when you could not see through the rear-view camera, it was very useful. At night, the rear-view screen kind of glares up because of the strong headlights. But the radar with the different colored arrows made it possible to get much better use out of the camera. There’s a safety factor involved with it, but knowing who is coming up from behind, how fast are they coming and which side they are going, is a huge help.”
Q: How handy will the radar system be at a place like Le Mans?
A: “It’s going to be a good advantage. With a system like that, you only have to avoid one crash and it pays for itself. It’s a great value. It will be interesting to see what everybody else comes up with now that we have it.”
Q: What kind of precision is required to tackle Long Beach?
A: “That’s the thing about street circuits, it’s knowing how much you can push and push in the right places. Because in some of the places, a penalty is so large for making a mistake, so you always have to be a little bit cautious. You can’t always rely on having the same amont of grip lap after lap. There could be some stuff on the track or something to make you go wide. I really enjoy having to be extra precise. But there’s still room for some error as you don’t do much damage for just scraping the walls a little bit.”
Q: What did you think of your son, Kevin’s, first weekend of racing this year in Formula Renault 3.5 at Monza recently?
A: “He did very well with two second place finishes. I think they made a small mistake in qualifying that put him P7. He probably should have been a little further up in the grid but he wasn’t on-track going fast at the right time because of a drying track. To get a second place out of that was fantastic. It kept his head in the game. It was a really mature drive and a big improvement from last year. In Race 2, the three guys up front were racing and had an amazing race going. It was so exciting to watch, but at the same time a little bit scary. But it was very good to see Kevin in a situation, where even though he was in the lead, the guy that was trying to pass him around the outside would have most likely come off worse than Kevin had he stayed in it. I think he’s learned from mistakes of last year, and of how expensive these mistakes can be. It probably could have been the win but it could have also ended in the wall. I’m very proud of the decision he made. It might be the best race he ever had.”
Q: He then had the chance to go to china and be on F1 standby for the first time for McLaren. What were your thoughts about that?
A: “That was an exciting weekend for Kevin. I think he learned a lot by just sitting in on every meeting and really getting to understand how F1 works. I think it’s a great opportunity for him and it’s good to see that he’s making the most of us.”