Q&A with Magnussen: “We have high hopes with the new Corvette!”
This weekend, Jan Magnussen will join Mike “Rocky” Rockenfeller as the duo team up in the brand-new Corvette C8.R at the Lone Star Le Mans in Austin (22-23 February).
Magnussen is an endurance racing supremo having competed at the 24 Hours of Le Mans a staggering 21 times (including four category wins), but this will be his first time out in the C8.R and at a resurfaced Circuit of The Americas.
Below is what Denmark’s Magnussen had to tell us in our exclusive Q&A…
1. Welcome back to Corvette Racing, Jan! What are you most looking forward to about the upcoming race at COTA?
"I'm looking forward to getting back to Austin and COTA. It's a new car obviously, and I'm excited to drive the Corvette C8.R at COTA. I've had some really good experiences with the C7.R at COTA in the past. Hopefully this will be another great result for Corvette Racing."
2. Have you completed much testing with the new Corvette C8.R? If so, what can you tell us about the car?
"Obviously I don't have a reference from anything this year. Last week was the first time I've driven the car in the simulator this year. The first time we drive it will be at COTA. But since I drove the sim last year, things have moved along - the entire system and process is better now. Already this year the team has gotten a lot of good information from the simulator. That learning curve is a lot steeper now; they're getting a lot more information being able to prepare ourselves for a race meeting."
3. Does going to the mid-engine platform change how you approach a track?
"The C8.R is a big step forward. It will suit every track better! COTA is more of a modern F1-type circuit, and the new Corvette is perfect for it. The front-engine design was great but it did have its flaws. It was tricky to drive but it was a fast car – not everyone could get their head around how to drive it well. But it was definitely quick and we had good results with it at COTA in the past. The new mid-engine layout from my experience is just a better balanced car... easier to read and easier to race."
4. What do you think will be the biggest challenges at COTA?
"The resurfacing will be new for everyone. Whoever gets their head around that the fastest will be in the best position, for sure. We are going against the best in the business in the middle of their season, so we will go in there a little bit on the back foot. We'll go in there to see where we are, what we can do and will make the best of it. We have high hopes with the new C8.R, so we'll do the best we can to get the best possible result."
5. You’ve competed at Le Mans 21 times including four category wins with Corvette, do you have any stand-out moments or memories?
"Everyone's first Le Mans is very special because it's such a fantastic place with so much history. The track is unlike anything else that anyone goes to the first time. Obviously the first win with Corvette Racing in 2004 was fantastic. I don't know if that's the best win but it certainly sticks out - being on that podium for the first time. The other one that stands out for the wrong reason is 2015 when we had a big crash in the Porsche Curves in qualifying. Unfortunately, we couldn't make the race - which our teammates won - so that stands out as well. But that's Le Mans - it's merciless at times."
6. You spent 16 years of your racing career with Chevrolet, what is so special about the manufacturer?
"The longevity of my time with Corvette Racing means that there are a lot of friendships. I've become close friends with so many people. When you go through a long period of time like that, you'll have some amazing highs and some horrible lows. But all those feelings are super special and makes you feel like part of a big racing family, which I'll remember forever. The absolute best time of my career has been the time I've spent with Corvette Racing, and I feel privileged that I get to do another couple of races with them in the new Corvette."
Hear what Magnussen’s team-mate Rocky had to say in our other exclusive Q&A HERE.
Tickets for the Lone Star Le Mans are still available and can be purchased HERE.