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Aug 02, 2012 - 05:39 PM
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Championship Leader Magnussen Chasing ALMS Race Wins
Posted by: newsla on Aug 02, 2012 - 05:37 PM
American Le Mans Series News
Championship Leader Magnussen Chasing ALMS Race Wins


Corvette Racing’s Danish star Jan Magnussen heads into this weekend’s sixth round of the 2012 American Le Mans Series in the GT championship lead and hungry for race wins.

 

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Magnussen and Spanish teammate Antonio Garcia finished second at the previous round of the championship to grab a seven-point lead over the No. 4 Corvette Racing pairing of Oliver Gavin and Tommy Milner.

The No. 3 Corvette has shown incredible consistency throughout 2012, taking four second place finishes. Opening lap damage at Long Beach forced the duo to fight a wounded car all the way to a fourth place finish – their only time they have finished off the podium.

An American Le Mans Series competitor since the inaugural championship in 1999, Magnussen holds the record of scoring a race win in every year of the championship. With five races remaining in 2012, the Dane has his sights set on extending that record and getting back into victory lane en route to his second series championship.

Magnussen is fighting to claim his second ALMS championship crown and Corvette’s first in the highly competitive GT class. The Dane and former teammate Johnny O’Connell triumphed in 2008 in the old GT1 division – Magnussen’s second full-time season with Corvette Racing.

Corvette Racing made its debut in the GT class in 2009, contesting the final five races of the season. The class is renowned as the most hotly contested form of GT racing in the world with Corvette being joined in victory lane this year by BMW, Porsche and Ferrari.

The competition is expected to rise to another level this weekend with the debut of the new SRT Viper team at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course.

Jan Magnussen Q&A

Q: You just completed a test this week at Mid-Ohio. How did it go?

A: “Corvette Racing did a full day of testing at Mid-Ohio this past Tuesday. Overall it was a good test and I believe we are well prepared for the race this weekend.
“Right now Corvette Racing is one-two in the ALMS GT championship and we need to keep that lead, as well as get a win for the No. 3 car.”

Q: Is it an advantage to have spent time testing at Mid-Ohio just prior to the race?

A: “It could be an advantage, I guess. Mid-Ohio is a tricky place and it’s important to be as well-prepared as possible in this tough GT championship. If you’re not prepared, this field will get you.”

Q: With the change in the car for 2012 – a wider body and taller front MICHELIN tire – have the setups changed much over previous years?

A: “We work with the setup of the car constantly and have been for years – it’s never-ending. We are always trying to fine tune. The Corvette Racing guys are always trying new things, going down new directions and making the car work for the track that we’re on.
“The Corvette has definitely changed quite a bit with the new body and taller tire, and we are making gains. I’m quite happy with how we did for tuning at Mid-Ohio.”

Q: So what’s the secret to a good lap around Mid-Ohio?

A: “If I told you, it wouldn’t be a secret anymore.”

Q: Really?

A: “The truth is that Mid-Ohio is similar to many of the other places we race. It’s all about momentum.
“Mid-Ohio has some very challenging corners. Some are super-fast and then there’s a medium/slow-speed series of corners. Then there’s the crest of the hills, where the car unloads and then compresses when it comes down.
“The trick is to have a well-balanced car that works well. But also to know what the car is going to do and work with it.
“This place is fantastic. I won here in 2001 in a prototype and in 2008 with Corvette Racing in GT1, but with this car I think we are in good shape for another win.”

Q: How impressed have you been with your co-driver Antonio [Garcia], who is a first-year full time Corvette Racing driver and hasn’t been on many of the ALMS tracks before?

A: “Mid-Ohio’s not a new place for him and that really showed at the test. He got in the car and immediately was super-quick.
“It’s been fantastic working with Antonio this year. He’s a fast learner, very fast on the track and also works well inside of the team. He gets along with everybody and works really hard on the setup and with the crew.
“He’s a great teammate and in my mind we are a winning team, we just have to go out there and do it.”

Q: That win may be more difficult now that the already-difficult GT field is now getting a new car with Viper.

A: “True, but it’s fantastic for the ALMS that the Viper is coming back. They have a great history in the ALMS and in competition at Le Mans.
“They have a great team and great drivers. I’m looking forward to racing against Tommy Kendall and all those guys.”

Q: What is your target for the next half of the season?

A: “I’m going for wins. All the time.
“We’ve proven all through the season so far that we are right where we need to be, we just need things to happen in the right way. We’re right there and I’m sure the wins will come. There’s no doubt in my mind.
“We are leading the points, but with so many races to go you can’t think too much about it. With wins come the most points and that’s what we need to keep the competition behind.”

Q: We’re hearing rumors that you’re going to have a super-sub in Denmark this weekend. True?

A: “True. My son Kevin is subbing for me in the Camaro in the Danish Thundersport Championship. Obviously I cannot be there!
“It’s going to be a great race – on the streets of downtown Copenhagen. It fits in really well with Kevin’s schedule and he could step in for me and do it. He should have a lot of fun with the car and the race.”

Q: Is he faster than his old man?

A: “He drove a similar car in Sweden a while ago and was very fast. But we’ve not raced together so I can’t say for sure, but I think he’ll do well this weekend.”

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