Rolex 24 at Daytona Preview
For Jan Magnussen, 2014 represents a year of change - a brand new series and a brand new car but the same level of determination that took the Danish ace and teammate Antonio Garcia to championship success in 2013.
The new TUDOR United SportsCar Championship brings together the American Le Mans Series and the GRAND-AM Rolex Series under the one championship banner.
The ALMS GT class is now renamed GT Le Mans and the level of competition has risen to a whole new level.
While Magnussen and Corvette Racing are used to doing battle with factory entries from BMW and SRT, Porsche has now joined the championship with a two-car factory assault. In addition a pair of Ferraris will contest the Rolex 24 at Daytona and Aston Martin also has a factory entry for the opening race of the season.
Corvette Racing is set to debut the new C7.R at Daytona. The car ran in public for the first time at the Roar before the 24 test at Daytona and was recently officially unveiled at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit.
While Magnussen and Garica will be out to add a TUDOR United SportsCar Championship to their ALMS crown, they will have new back-up for the endurance events with Australian Ryan Briscoe joining the team aboard the No.3 entry.
Teammates Oliver Gavin and Tommy Milner return in the No.4 Corvette Racing machine. They will be joined by Magnussen's 2013 Rolex 24 at Daytona teammate - former Stevenson Racing Camaro racer Robin Liddell.
The race will be broadcast live in the US starting January 25 on FOX from 2:00 pm to 4:00 pm ET, FOX Sports 2 from 4:00 pm to 9:00 pm ET, IMSA.com from 9:00 pm to 7:00 am ET and FOX Sports 1 from 7:00 am to 3:00 pm ET on January 26, 2014.
Rolex 24 at Daytona
Schedule (All times Eastern):
Thursday, January 23, 2014:
Practice 1: 9:30 am - 10:30 am (All Classes)
Practice 2: 1:15 pm - 1:45 pm (All Classes)
Qualifying: 3:45 pm - 4:00 pm (GTD)
Qualifying: 4:05 pm - 4:20 pm (GTLM)
Qualifying: 4:30 pm - 4:45 pm (PC)
Qualifying: 4:50 pm - 5:05 pm (P)
Practice 3 (night practice): 6:30 pm - 8:00 pm (All Classes)
Friday, January 24, 2014:
Practice 4: 11:30 am - 12:30 pm (All Classes)
Saturday, January 25, 2014:
Autograph Session: 11:30 am - 12:15 pm
Race: 2:10 pm (24 hours)
JAN MAGNUSSEN Q&A
Q: WHAT WILL BE THE BIGGEST CHANGE FOR YOU WITH THE DEBUT OF THE TUDOR UNITED SPORTSCAR CHAMPIONSHIP?
A: "It does change things a little bit as this is the first race in the championship. To begin with, the immediate goal is to try and win the Daytona 24. But it may become a situation sometime in the race where the win may be out of reach.
"For sure, we have to think about the championship then and to come away with as many points as possible.
"I think at this point, it's impossible to say exactly how we're going to stack up against the competition but we have a good car so for sure we'll have a shot at winning the race.
"The 24 hour races are really, really hard to win and everything has to work for you. We'll take it step by step but we're going with the clear goal of trying to win the race."
Q: HOW MUCH HAVE YOU ENJOYED THE DEVELOPMENT PROCESS FOR THE CORVETTE C7.R?
A: "Obvious the new Corvette C7.R is the product of all the experience and data that we've gathered from the C6.R. There's been a lot of driver input of what we needed and what we were lacking.
"This last season, even though we did win the championship, it was pretty clear to everybody that we didn't win it because we had the fastest car. So we had to make a pretty significant step to keep up with the competition.
"I think we've done just that but it's been a huge effort from Pratt & Miller, Corvette Racing and the drivers to try and bring out a car that's competitive.
"When you see the C7 Z06 road car and the C7.R, you see a lot of resemblance. Apart from the rear wing, it's really hard to tell those two apart. That's very cool that there is a huge amount of tech transfer between the two.
"It goes both ways, from the street car to the race car and back. To see some of the other guys doing their completely own thing on the race car... You don't end up seeing the resemblance between the two. That's not the case with the new Corvette."
Q: WERE YOU HAPPY WITH THE PERFORMANCE OF THE NEW CAR AT THE ROAR BEFORE THE 24 TEST?
A: "We didn't have any real new car issues. I had a bit of running before that test. But it's still a matter of us getting through a program that we laid out before we got there. I think we did a pretty good job of getting through a lot of those things.
"There's quite a bit more running before the 24 hours so we'll get to do some more stuff and also we'll see the true pace of everybody. That will be exiting to see how we match up.
"The biggest difference from last year will be the amount of cars on track. Daytona is a nice, big track. When we come to some of the shorter tracks, we're going to have some issues.
"That's the same for everybody and something we just have to deal with. I just came from Dubai where there were 80 cars. That was a lot of traffic, so hopefully that kind of training will help me!"
Q: CONSIDERING THE START YOU HAD TO YOU'RE 2013 SEASON, HOW SATISFYING WAS IT TO WIN THE CHAMPIONSHIP?
A: "It was really satisfying winning the championship. It didn't look like that in the beginning. Quite soon it started to show that everybody in the championship hunt was going to have a bad weekend, so it kind of evened itself out, which was quite unusual for racing in America.
"I wouldn't say we had good luck but we had an equal amount of bad luck with the other guys. That for sure helped but the three wins we had was the main reason we were in the championship hunt.
"Antonio and I really found out how to get the best out of each other, as teammates. Our first year together was also a really good year and we were also in with a shout of the championship for a while mid-season but bad luck got in the way.
"I think last year we worked really well together and got the most out of what we had."
Q: HOW HAS RYAN BRISCOE FITTED IN AT CORVETTE RACING SO FAR AS YOU'RE NEW TEAMMATE WITH ANTONIO GARCIA?
A: "We had one test together with Ryan and will now do a 24-hour race. I have to say, just going by the test, I think it's all a good match. He fitted in with the team and liked the car immediately.
"He was easy to work with and super fast and knows what this is about. He's a really good team player who understands how you need to operate, especially when you have three drivers in the car.
"I'm really looking forward to it and hopefully we can come away with a super result."
Q: WHO DO YOU THINK IS GOING TO BE YOUR TOUGHEST OPPOSITION IN 2014?
A: "At this moment, I'm not trying to figure out who's going to be our main competition. I've been trying to go about the same as last year and make the most out of everything and see who we come up against.
"I'm sure there will be weekends where the Corvette will be the best car and there will be weekends where the Porsche will be the best, or the Viper and the BMW, etc. I don't think one car is going to run away with it, or at least I hope not."
Q: HOW MUCH ARE YOU LOOKING FORWARD TO THE 2014 FORMULA 1 SEASON AND THE DEBUT OF YOUR SON KEVIN WITH McLAREN?
A: "I'm really looking forward to the 2014 Formula 1 season. I really haven't had my eye on F1 for a long time, just a little bit because Kevin was starting to go in that direction. But now that it's real, and he's done it, I'm obviously going to be following it the best I can and going to as many races as possible.
"Unfortunately the first race in Australia is the same weekend as Sebring. Having zero points at Sebring because of mechanical failure is one thing. Having zero points because I didn't show up is a whole another thing! So I'm at Sebring.
"He knows what he needs to try and do. But this is his first year and he is up against a really fast and experienced teammate who's a World Champion. He needs to learn as much as he can from Jenson (Button) and he needs to be the goal post. Kevin needs to beat him as much as possible and then he should be on his way.
"It's not an easy task and something he won't just go out and do. But he's very, very fast and extremely determined and is working really hard. I think he has a really good shot at it."