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Jun 27, 2014 - 03:41 PM
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Watkins Glen Preview
Posted by: newsla on Jun 27, 2014 - 03:37 PM
Watkins Glen Preview

With two TUDOR United SportsCar Championship wins in a row and a runner-up finish at the Le Mans 24 Hours, Danish ace Jan Magnussen and teammate Antonio Garcia enter this weekend's Watkins Glen round with high hopes.


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This weekend's race will mark a return to the track for Magnussen who last year tested a Sprint Cup NASCAR at the former home of the US Formula 1 Grand Prix.

Magnussen won here in GRAND-AM competition in 2004 with Doran Racing and backed that up in 2005 with a win for TRG aboard the Pontiac GTO.

In 2011 Magnussen also led late in the race for Stevenson Motorsports before a driveshaft failure struck with only 20 minutes remaining.

While the GRAND-AM Rolex Series has been a regular visitor to Watkins Glen International, the American Le Mans Series never raced at the New York State venue in the series history.

Magnussen and Garcia's back-to-back wins at Long Beach and Laguna Seca have put them back into championship contention for Corvette Racing. Despite failing to meet the chequered flag at the Rolex 24 at Daytona, the Danish/Spanish duo now sit second in the championship chase - only five points off the lead.

Teams will hit the track for the first time today with a single practice session before Saturday's pair of practice sessions and qualifying on Saturday. Sunday's Six Hour race kicks off at 11:15am on Sunday.

Sahlen's Six Hours of the Glen - TUDOR Championship (all times ET) TUDOR Championship Practice 1: 12:50 p.m., Friday, June 27 TUDOR Championship Practice 2: 9:10 a.m., Saturday, June 28 TUDOR Championship Practice 3: 2:45 p.m., Saturday, June 28 GT Le Mans Qualifying: 4:15 p.m., Saturday, June 28 TUDOR Championship Warmup: 8:30 a.m., Sunday, June 29 Sahlen's Six Hours of the Glen: 11:15 a.m., Sunday, June 29

Watkins Glen: Watch It! (all times ET) Qualifying: 3:55 p.m. ET (IMSA.com), Saturday, June 28 Race: 11 a.m. ET (FOX Sports 1), Sunday, June 29


Q: Looking back at Le Mans, you’re obviously pleased to get on the podium but was the race a little bit frustrating? JM: "Yes, a little bit because we had a good car and I think everybody, the whole team performed so well. We had one little mishap in the pit lane with an air jack that cost us a lap and maybe a bit more and that really lost us a chance to win but we had a fantastic car and like I said, everybody did great. Usually when you have a race like that you end up winning it but the Ferrari guys on track were completely faultless, I think we had them on speed but we just missed out a little bit in pit lane. We had a failure on the air jack so the car couldn’t come up off the ground. I’m not entirely sure exactly what happened but we had to fix it there in pit lane and went down the order."

Q: Coming into Watkins Glen this weekend, two wins in a row plus a good result at Le Mans, you’re obviously keen to continue on that roll as we get into the back half of the season? JM: "For sure. I think Antonio and I and the #3 car are in a good place and hopefully we can just keep building on the momentum that we got out of Laguna and Long Beach. This being a six-hour race, it’s not quite a super long race but it does put a lot of emphasis on consistency and our strategy. Hopefully we’ll have a good car again here and we’ll just try and stay out of trouble, be fast and make good decisions."

Q: Have you tested the C.7R at Watkins Glen at all? JM: "No, there was no testing for us here. Last time I was there was with the Cup car last year doing some testing. I’m looking forward to getting back there with the C.7R. It’s a fantastic track, really challenging and it’s fast. There will be a lot of cars this weekend so you’ll have to really be on your game 100% as you work through the traffic and try to stay out of trouble."

Q: What’s your favorite part of the circuit? JM: "I’d say the esses are pretty cool. The bus stop is good as well. It’s not a real slow chicane, it’s still quite fast. You can use the curbs a lot there, which sometimes upsets the car and sometimes helps you. It’s an interesting place."

Q: You’re obviously expecting the C.7R to be a lot better than a Cup car going around there? JM: "The Cup car had amazing power but it doesn’t handle as well as the C.7R. It doesn’t have the downforce or the grip from the tires, so it will be two completely different experiences. But last time there, I really enjoyed myself, the power of the Cup car is fantastic."

Q: Your teammate Antonio became a dad during the Le Mans weekend, did you have any kind of advice for him other than to try and not get the Misses pregnant so it lines up with early June? JM: "I’m looking forward to talking to him this weekend because he never understood really why when I’d leave the track, I’d just go to the hotel room and sleep. I’m sure he understands now!"

Q: All the races pay the same points now, no matter the length, do you like the points system as it is or would you prefer it like it used to be where the bigger races paid more points? JM: "I think, in all fairness, the longer races should probably pay more points but the thing with this system is regardless of what happens, you have to get the car back to the pits and go back out even though you’re laps down. If the races are long you can maybe get some time back but it’s important to get the car across the finish line as you get points quite far down the order."

Q: What’s next on your agenda, any races at home? When is your next ELMS outing? JM: "We had a race in Norway in the Danish Thundersports Championship with the Camaros last weekend. We came out with three good results, two second places and a win, which put me in the lead of the Championship back home, so that’s nice. There’s a weekend off next weekend and then it’s ELMS at the Red Bull Ring in Austria. I’m looking forward to it, as it’s a cool place."

Q: What about Kevin’s solid result at the Red Bull Ring? JM: "Yes, for sure. There’s a lot of development going on at McLaren and they’re moving in the right direction the whole time. Finishing seventh was probably the best that they could have gotten out of that situation. I think they performed as well as they could. They’re developing the whole time but so is everybody else but it does seem like they’re closing up the gap and that’s exciting."

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