The post-race exclusion of Magnus Racing from last weekend’s Michelin GT Challenge at VIR has been upheld by IMSA, despite claims from the team citing the technical infraction was caused by on-track incidents.
The No. 44 Audi R8 LMS of Andy Lally and John Potter lost its third place class finish, and GTD championship points, after the car did not meet the minimum ride height requirement.
According to the team, only a portion of the Audi, near the front splitter, was found to have been in violation, by 1mm, which they have linked to contact with another GTD car in the race and an off-course excursion.
The exclusion has effectively taken Lally and Potter out of the GTD championship race, with the pairing now sixth in the drivers’ standings, 40 points behind leaders Alessandro Balzan and Christina Nielsen, instead of an eight-point deficit to the Ferrari should they have retained a third place finish.
IMSA released the official results on Friday, after days of deliberation with the team on this matter.
“Disappointment is not the right word, I’m flat out shocked with how this whole affair has been treated,” Potter said.
“We’re the first people to advocate for rules being followed, we have zero history of disqualification, and within IMSA’s own precedent we were able to demonstrate what led to the ride height failure, and yet this is all just being ignored and we’re basically not able to contend for a championship we’ve fought hard for.”
The team claims the exclusion came at the discretion of series officials, and that it’s the first of its kind in the WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, in a race.
Per IMSA Article 56.4: Cars receiving a penalty applied post-Race that alters the finishing position order shall result in all other affected Cars advancing accordingly. Any Car found out of compliance with the rules may be removed from the results (Exclusion) and other finishers advanced accordingly.
A similar incident at Circuit of The Americas in 2014, with contact between the Magnus Porsche 911 GT America and the No. 94 Turner Motorsport BMW Z4 GT3, led to a partial failure of ride height, but according to the team, the series waived it due to visible damage on the car.
“This isn’t just a decision that takes away a podium, this is a decision that ruins an entire season’s worth of work, over something that is both debatable and with a completely disproportionate punishment,” Potter added.
“While we do appreciate IMSA’s efforts over the last two days to re-evaluate, we are fundamentally upset with how this has been handled and the inability to do anything about it.”
The team has vowed to remain in the WeatherTech Championship for the remainder of the season, despite the exclusion.