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Magnussen: First LMP2 Experience ‘Quite Enjoyable’

Corvette Racing refugee Jan Magnussen targeting 24 Hours of Le Mans effort in LMP2…

Photo: Jose Bispo/JB Photo

Jan Magnussen said his first laps in a modern-day prototype were ‘quite enjoyable’ as the Dane targets a run in next year’s 24 Hours of Le Mans in LMP2.

The ex-Corvette Racing driver took part in Sunday’s FIA World Endurance Championship Bahrain Rookie Test at the wheel of High Class Racing’s Oreca 07 Gibson, sharing the car with fellow countryman Michael Markussen.

It marked Magnussen’s first time in a prototype since Spirit of Daytona Racing’s Corvette DP in 2012, which came amid his 15-year run as a Corvette Racing factory driver that was primarily focused on the GT ranks.

“I got six laps in just before the rain,” Magnussen told Sportscar365. “It was the first time in [a prototype] in a lot of years.

“The initial feeling was good. The power is quite good and the downforce levels are a lot higher than in the GT car.

“I think the rain came at an opportune time to get out and get my mind around a new car like this. I enjoyed all of it. It was quite different.”

Magnussen said he immediately felt “pretty comfortable” in the car although admitted he’s had to adapt his driving style.

“It’s a lot harsher and a lot stiffer than a GT car,” he explained. “The GT car, the way it behaves on track, kind of makes you know you’re going to kill every curb.

“This is the exact opposite. I’m going to stay away from every curb! 

“That’s the feel it gives. But you want to run flat. It’s nice.”

Sunday’s test outing could serve as a precursor to a run at Le Mans next year, should the Danish squad secure a second LMP2 invite alongside its full-season WEC entry.

“If the get a second entry, we’ll plan on doing that,” Magnussen said.

“This is to try and get an extra entry for High Class Racing so we can do Le Mans. And if we can do it with an all-Danish lineup, it would be fantastic. [But] I think the main thing would to get an entry.”

A clash with the Formula One Canadian Grand Prix will prevent Jan’s son, Kevin, from competing in the French endurance classic this year, which had been a long-held ambition of the two racing together in the same car.

Retirement “Not on My Mind At All”

Magnussen said he’s working on a “bunch of other stuff” in addition to his already confirmed full-season drive in TCR Denmark.

It includes possible outings in North America, with IMSA Michelin Endurance Cup races the most likely option at this point.

“With me having committed already to the Danish TCR, it does take a lot of weekends out of play for me,” he said. “But that’s how it is.

“When it all ended with Corvette, I had to make some decisions. That was one of them. I want to be back in sports car racing. I’m working my way back in.

“It is a challenge. The market is not great right now for guys like me that need to be paid. But I’ve got enough on my plate that I know I won’t be bored.”

The 46-year-old has reiterated he has no plans to hang up the helmet anytime soon.

“I have lots of motivation,” Magnussen said. “Retirement is not on my mind at all. As long as I enjoy it and I’m competitive, those two things are the most important things.”

John Dagys is the founder and Editor-in-Chief of Sportscar365 as well as the recently launched e-racing365 Web site for electric racing. Dagys spent eight years as a motorsports correspondent for FOXSports.com/SPEED Channel, and contributes to other publications worldwide. Contact John

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