After seven years in IMSA competition, Magnus Racing will make the switch to Pirelli World Challenge, announcing Friday a two-car, full-season Audi R8 LMS effort in the sprint race championship.
Team owner John Potter will compete in the GTA class, with a to-be-announced GT factory driver set to pilot the second car in the GT category.
The team’s switch comes after a contentious 2016 season in the WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, marred by penalties that effectively eliminated Potter and co-driver Andy Lally from a potential GT Daytona championship.
“When evaluating our options for 2017, we thought it was a good opportunity to pursue a new challenge,” Potter said.
“When I consider that I’ve driven in pro racing for 10 years, I realized that very little of it has been in a sprint format, and the timing seems right to see how we enjoy it.
“This will be a new era for the team, not only because of the new series, but with the emphasis on sprint racing and solo driving we have to take a whole new approach.”
It will mark the team’s first full-time two-car effort, after having previously fielded two entries in the Rolex 24 at Daytona, a race which Potter, Lally, Rene Rast and Marco Seefried claimed class victory last year.
Discussions for a move to PWC are understood to have begun late last year, along with considerations of a potential European program, with Potter ultimately deciding on remaining in North America and continuing its relationship with Audi.
“We really appreciate the friendly and open nature of everyone we’ve met in the Pirelli World Challenge so far, and of course to everyone at Audi for their renewed partnership,” Potter said.
PWC President and CEO Greg Gill added: “[Magnus’] success on-track speaks for itself, and coupled with their reputation for fan engagement and off-track fun is something we really enjoy, and we’re confident the team will have a great experience here.
“With so many great cars and drivers in our series, having another Audi team with the quality and history of Magnus is a great addition, and we look forward to a great season of competition.”
With longtime Magnus driver Lally moving to Michael Shank Racing and Acura this year, the team will have a new factory pilot in its lineup.
Further driver announcements, including co-drivers for the SprintX races, are expected in the coming weeks.
“Creating a program around one of [Audi’s] factory pilots is a unique opportunity and great platform to develop around, and we look forward to being a weekly threat for overall race wins,” Potter added.