Magnussen ready to chase sixth Canadian win in 12 years
Corvette Racing’s Jan Magnussen has his sights set on continuing his incredible track record at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park this weekend.
Fresh from finishing second with Antonio Garcia at Watkins Glen for Corvette Racing last weekend, Magnussen heads to Canada and the venue where he scored his first-ever sports car win.
The Dane teamed with future Corvette Racing teammate Johnny O’Connell to win for Panoz Motorsport in 1999 in the American Le Mans Series – back when the venue was known as Mosport.
Since beginning his full-time campaign with Corvette in 2007, Magnussen has gone on to take five additional wins including three in a row with O’Connell in 2007, ‘08 and ‘09.
Remarkably, Magnussen has never finished any lower than fourth in his past 11 outings for Corvette Racing in Canada.
He has scored 5 x wins, 1 x runner-up, 2 x thirds and 2 x fourth-place finishes.
His performance at Watkins Glen with Garcia has put the Spanish/Danish duo into third place in the 2018 points chase as the 2017 champions look to defend their title.
They now sit on only four points off the championship lead with six races remaining in the championship. The Watkins Glen result was Magnussen and Garcia’s third podium of 2018 and their best finish to date in this year’s championship.
On-track action at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park kicks off this Friday at 10:30 am with qualifying set for 12:35 on Saturday. Sunday’s two-hour, 40-minute race goes green at 2:05 pm.
Q: Considering your incredible record here, how much do you like this track?
A: “Obviously, you always like tracks where you have a string of good results but regardless of whether I won or lost, it is still a joy to drive here at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park.
“The place is fast, flowing and rewards commitment. There are also consequences here when you make a mistake; I can tell you that from experience when I crashed here in qualifying in 2013.
“I’ve got so many happy memories from this place with wins with Johnny O’Connell, Oliver Gavin and Antonio Garcia.
“I’d love to get another with Antonio this week. That would really kick out championship assault into high gear.”
Q: How much has this track changed since you first raced here in 1999?
A: “Massively! But in a good way. Back in 1999, this place was pretty spooky, and if you ran off in certain areas, there were massive consequences.
“Turn two was very fast and blind and if you go it wrong you were in the grass headed for a fairly basic tire wall.
“In recent years they have done a brilliant job in improving safety but haven’t compromised the character of the circuit.
“There are so many tracks around the world that really have lost all their character in an attempt to improve safety. Here in Canada they have been able to keep the place very challenging but improved the safety massively.”
Q: How pleased were you with the Watkins Glen weekend?
A: “The team did a brilliant job in our preparation and strategy last weekend. It was massively hot, and that always takes its toll, but we just kept digging hard all day long.
“We didn’t have the fastest car out there for outright pace, but we kept pushing all day and ended up leading a bunch of laps.
“We were really in contention but didn’t have quite enough pace at the finish to chase down the Ford.
“We’ve got another track this weekend where we have been strong at in the past, so we’ll keep giving it our best.”
Q: How important is consistency in this championship?
A: “That is the secret to success for Corvette Racing. We don’t always have the fastest car on any given day, but we just keep pushing lap after lap, race after race.
“That was really how we won the championship last year, and when you look at this year’s points, if it wasn’t for our rough weekend at Sebring, where we finished eighth, we might have been leading the championship already.
“The competition is so fierce now that you can’t afford any mistakes – either on track or in the pits.
“Take every last point you can and just keep fighting. You have to have a car that is strong at all circuits. Places like Watkins Glen and Canadian Tire Motorsport Park are massively fast, but we also need to be strong at tighter places like Long Beach and Lime Rock.
“You have to fight to be a contender at every venue we go to.”
Q: How thrilled were you with Kevin’s recent F1 races?
A: “Austria was another great weekend, the best weekend for the team ever, and that was two good points scoring weekends in a row.
“To have five points finishes this year and be the best performer outside of the Mercedes, Red Bulls and Ferraris is just brilliant.
“He is enjoying the year and performing brilliantly for the team. I’m very proud.
“It’ll be another busy for me. Concentrating on my day job with Corvette but keeping an eye on the times in F1.
“I know he is looking forward to Silverstone this weekend and hoping for another great result with Haas.”’