Kevin Magnussen said it’s a “big privilege” to be able to again race with his dad, Jan, in next weekend’s Gulf 12 Hours.
The Haas Formula 1 driver will make a rare cameo appearance in the Intercontinental GT Challenge powered by Pirelli season finale, sharing a MDK Motorsports-entered Ferrari 488 GT3 Evo 2020 with his father and team owner Mark Kvamme.
It will mark the 30-year-old Dane’s GT racing debut after spending a season in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship with Cadillac Chip Ganassi Racing in the DPi ranks, while contesting last year’s 24 Hours of Le Mans with Jan in a LMP2 class High Class Racing Oreca 07 Gibson.
“It’s kind of funny, I’ve been around GT cars my whole life,” said Kevin, referring to Jan’s long career with Corvette Racing. “My dad has been racing GT cars for 20 years.
“So I’ve been there at the track looking at the cars and I’ve always had a passion for that. It’s not like I grew up watching F1 cars all the time.
“That was my dream, but I actually grew up around GT cars and sports car racing. So it is really cool to be able to do this.
“Of course driving any race car is always fun but doing it with these guys and getting the opportunity to do this stuff with my dad is very special and I think it’s a big privilege to be able to do this.
“We’ve both done this our whole life and kind of done it separately.
“We’ve been having careers at the same time, so our paths have never really crossed. So it is great to be able to do this.”
Kvamme, who won this year’s Porsche Carrera Cup North America presented by The Cayman Islands Am class championship, explained that the opportunity came through his Le Mans co-driver Renger van der Zande, who was Magnussen’s teammate at CGR last year.
“Renger is a good friend of mine and obviously Kevin and Renger raced together,” Kvamme explained.
“So when he got called up to do F1 again, we actually met in May at the Miami Grand Prix. I was doing the Carrera Cup race at the Grand Prix and we were just sitting and chatting (pictured above).
“One of the things I love to ask people is, ‘What’s your passion and what do you want to do?’ He said one of the things I really want to do in the future is race more with my father.
“So I said, ‘Let’s see if we can put that together. Let’s take a took at the schedule and we were able to put it together for the Gulf 12 Hours.’ I mean, Kevin’s schedule is nuts, [but] we were able to make it work.”
All three drivers took part in a test at Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya on Thursday in preparation for the around-the-clock enduro at Yas Marina Circuit on Dec. 11.
While Kevin said he’s hoping to “just have fun with it,” the trio are heading into the race with serious expectations.
“The problem with having fun with this stuff is that it’s just more fun to win,” Kevin said. “So that’s really what we are focusing on.
“Me and my dad, we’re not on holiday. We know each other. When we get into these kind of things it just gets competitive and we want to as well as possible because that’s the most fun you can have.”
Jan added: “It’s fantastic for me to compare myself to Kevin. Not just purely on lap times, but also on data and videos to see how we operate the car and how we extract lap time.”
Future Outings Beyond Gulf 12H Not Ruled Out
Their AF Corse-supported Ferrari will be one of eight cars in the Pro class, although the only expected entry to feature a Bronze-rated driver, a rating that Kvamme carries.
“The slow guy here has got to get a little faster,” he joked. “So I’m working with two great coaches and we’ll see what the future brings.
“There’s a lot of opportunity to go forward. Should we do it again, I think a Pro-Am type class, where I’m racing against other Bronze guys, would be helpful.
“I’m a little concerned going into this one. It’s going to be a lot of Pro guys, so I’ve got to be at the top of my game.
“The minimum drive [time] is two hours, so I think I’ll be driving two hours and one minute. We’ll see where it goes, but we just love hanging out together and racing together, so I’m sure there’s new ideas coming forward in the future.”
When asked if there could be an opportunity to race together in the Rolex 24 at Daytona, Jan admitted it could be a “possibility” in the future.
“For now it is just Abu Dhabi and we will focus on the race there and enjoy being together,” he said.
“Kevin’s schedule is tight and it needs to be the right opportunity with the right team. But MDK is a great place to be, so who knows.”