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MAGNUSSEN: Going for Four in a Row in GTLM

Corvette Racing’s Jan Magnussen files his latest Sportscar365 column…

Photo: IMSA

Photo: IMSA

Three wins in a row, leading the driver’s championship, the team points and the manufacturer points for Chevy – we really have been on a great run recently in the TUDOR United SportsCar Championship.

We knew when the C7.R first came out that we had a very fast car, but a couple of small issues at Daytona and Sebring took us out of contention for the podium.

The good thing from those races was the fact we still picked up some points.

The way the points work now it is a big challenge to open a big gap, but really easy to lose a bunch of points if you go out early. Whatever you do, you have to get the car to the finish.

The first win for Antonio and I at Long Beach over 100 minutes showed we had the pace but now our speed at Le Mans and Watkins Glen demonstrated we now have the reliability and durability to go with that speed.

We now have a nine-point gap at the top of the points but we’re going to have to keep pushing very hard.
We’ve got a couple of races coming up where we know the Viper is going to be very strong at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park and Road America.

Indianapolis will be new for everyone so we really don’t know how that is going to pan out.

That is going to be a race weekend where we’re really going to have to rely heavily on our guys at Corvette Racing. We have very little track time and very little time to fix or adjust the car if we roll off the track and aren’t right on the pace.

This is where our guys normally shine. From an engineering and organizational perspective, we have the best guys in the business

They give us the best cars every week and it is really our job to not screw it up.

Ollie and Tommy in the No. 4 car are also going to be strong as well. They haven’t had the best of luck in the past couple of races and were really unlucky with the penalty they got at Watkins Glen.

Antonio and I have been able to lead from the front in our three wins. We’ve been able to open a gap in traffic and keep the car clean – that is a big challenge especially with the amount of traffic we have to deal with.

It is far too early at this stage to start thinking about the championship. If we just keep concentrating on what we’re doing – then the championship will take care of itself.

Luck always plays a part too. The late race yellows certainly did us a favor at Watkins Glen. Antonio was really having to conserve fuel in the last stint – it was going to be very tight at the finish.

Luckily things worked out for us but it was a very nervous time for me sitting in the pits.

When you’re not in the car it is actually worse at the finish because we have all the screens and data at your disposal. You can look at the gaps, the car data, the lap times – really analyze what is going on.

When you’re in the car, you can block some of that out and just do your job. You can see the guys you’re racing against in the mirror and just keep pushing.

We’ve now become the first combo to win three races in a row in the new TUDOR United SportsCar Championship – that’s a pretty proud achievement because no matter what class you are in, the competition in the series is incredibly tough.

We’ll now head to Canadian Tire Motorsport Park this week to work on four in a row.

I always love this type of track – a real old-school type of place. My old Corvette Racing teammate Ron Fellows and his team up there have done a brilliant job in improving the facilities but the best thing is the track is still an incredible challenge.

Can’t wait to see the Canadian fans there. Thanks to Ron we have a huge following up there and even though he isn’t in the car anymore, the level of support we get is still huge.

Hopefully everybody had a great 4th of July across the U.S.. I still think its great the entire country puts on such a brilliant fireworks celebration for my birthday every year – no wonder I love racing in the U.S.

Jan Magnussen (@janmagnussen) is a four-time class winner of the 24 Hours of Le Mans and two-time ALMS champion, driving for Corvette Racing in the TUDOR United Sportscar Championship.


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