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MAGNUSSEN: Baltimore Debrief

Corvette Racing’s Jan Magnussen describes a crazy weekend in Baltimore…


Heading into Baltimore, our plan was to get some good points and stay in the hunt of the championship. But there was no better way to do that than pull off a win.

It was pretty cool the way how everything came about with the opportunities that came towards the end that enabled us to get into the lead and take the win.

The race itself was a total nightmare for everyone, especially for some of the other teams. I felt so sorry for Risi, Paul Miller, Falken and CORE, and also Scott Tucker for having sustained so much damage, just for somebody jumping the start.

It was a great shame and it took out half of the GT field, so there really was only five of us left. The only positive thing from this was that all of the title contenders were still left racing. In that aspect, it really didn’t affect the championship chase.

Antonio had to sit in the car for a good hour, cooking away with no air conditioning and waiting for the race to restart. When we finally got going, there was a lot of confusion about driver time. There were questions over how long before we can make the pit stop and do the driver change and still within the rules of the driver time.

There wasn’t a lot of help to be had from IMSA as they made the decision very late and weren’t very clear on what the driver time was. We messed up a little bit in terms of telling Antonio early enough that he had to pit that lap, plus there was a radio issue.

Unfortunately he didn’t hear the engineers but he was smart enough to know something was happening, so he did his best he could. He stopped in front of the pit lane entry, waited until he saw what everybody else was doing and then made the decision to come in.

We lost a couple of spots during the stop but it was much better than the alternative, where we would have lost all the spots. Antonio did a great job.

When I got in, I knew I had a good car from the beginning, so I just started chasing down the leaders. I had to fight a few laps with the 23 Ferrari and he finally let me go as he wasn’t really in the hunt.

I got up to Tommy and the BMWs and it was pretty much on. You had to go for it with every opportunity you had. Street circuits are difficult to pass on, so you have to use traffic and situations to get by.

I then got by one of the BMWs, as he had some damage to the rear and he was smoking, then the last safety car played right into my hands. I got a good exit out of the chicane and everybody else got blocked down a little bit. I got by one BMW and a prototype and then right in the brake zone, I thought I was catching Tommy a lot and I made the decision to go by.

It wasn’t a planned move but it came up and we went on to the win. It was absolutely perfect for our championship assault.

Now we’re right there, only 2 points back, which i think is pretty amazing considering what we started off the year with.

We came away from Sebring with zero points and since then, we’ve outscored everybody in the GT field by 22 points. It’s a massive turnaround.

But it’s a tight championship and anything can happen. The goal is not to get a massive lead in order to have an easy Petit Le Mans (as much as we’d like to). The goal is enter Petit with a shot of the championship.

Next up is COTA, which is a fantastic facility, and very much a Formula One circuit.

It’s probably one of the most technically difficult tracks I’ve been to. We tested in December and got a good feel of the place. It is a difficult circuit to learn and it took some time to exactly figure out how to go fast around the place.

I have a feeling that it’s not one of those places that’s going to suit us very well just because it has a lot of long straights and also some of the places, especially from Turn 3 to 9 or 10, where downforce will come into play. We’ll suffer a little bit there.

We’ll see. It’s a new place for everybody, so it’s hard to give a good idea of where everybody will. But I’m sure we’ll be close, just like we have been all year.

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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