Local Sports

Corvette Racing back on track

Jan Magnussen and Corvette Racing teammate Antonio Garcia gave the Chevrolet Corvette C7.R its first victory of the 2014 TUDOR United SportsCar Championship season on April 12, in the Tequila Patrón Sports Car Showcase at the famed Long Beach street circuit.

His first TUDOR Championship triumph followed 29 victories during his career in the American Le Mans Series presented by Tequila Patrón plus another five in the Rolex Sports Car Series. Magnussen also claimed his first TUDOR Championship pole at Long Beach.

Magnussen and Garcia won the 2013 ALMS GT championship, winning two races. He also won the 2008 ALMS title with Johnny O’Connell, winning eight races – including six in a row.

Magnussen’s career highlights include four class victories in the 24 Hours of Le Mans for Corvette Racing, in addition to three second-place finishes. He also ran 25 Formula One events for Stewart Ford from 1995-1998, with a best finish of sixth at Canada in ‘98.

Currently, the 40-year-old native of Denmark divides his time between racing in the TUDOR Championship and following the career of his 21-year-old son Kevin, who currently drives for McLaren Mercedes in Formula One.

Three races into this inaugural TUDOR Championship season, Magnussen talks about the performance of the new Corvette C7.R.

“I think our new car is a big step forward from the C6.R,” Magnussen said. “We’ve shown that it’s fast. It’s a new car and very early in the development stage, and unfortunately we experienced some small issues at [the] Daytona and Sebring [endurance races]. At [the] Long Beach [sprint race], everything went absolutely perfect. Antonio did a fantastic first stint and got a big gap. The last hour was like a holiday for me. When I got in the car, it was just a matter of maintaining the gap and staying out of trouble.”

Coming into this year, the GT Le Mans class was expected to be an outstanding showcase for manufacturers and in the process, a tremendous competitive display. Magnussen thinks it’s living up to those expectations.

“I think it’s a fantastic category,” he said. “There always are adjustments happening, and I think IMSA officials are doing a great job keeping the competition level [between manufacturers]. They are fantastic-looking cars and fun to drive.”

Next up for the Corvette team is the challenge of the Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca.

“It’s one of my favorite tracks, and I always enjoy racing there,” Magnussen said. “It is a fantastic layout, and it really seems to suit the Corvette. We’re always very competitive there. We won it last year, and hopefully we can repeat.”

The next event of the TUDOR United SportsCar Championship is scheduled for May 4.