Magnussen set for 20th straight Sebring

March 14, 2018

Magnussen set for 20th straight Sebring

March 14, 2018

When Jan Magnussen takes the green flag at this year’s Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring, he’ll tie a record in the process.

The rapid Dane will start his 20th consecutive March endurance classic, which equals the Corvette Racing driver with his longtime co-driver, Johnny O’Connell for most all-time.

Magnussen’s sports car career started in the 1990s after his open-wheel career petered out. He’d raced off-and-on in Formula 1 and IndyCar from 1995 through 1999. He tested in an IndyCar with Team Penske on Sebring International Raceway’s short course as early as 1996.

It was in 1999 that Magnussen’s Sebring start streak began, somewhat inconspicuously. Co-driving the Panoz GTR-1, the forerunner to Don Panoz’s open-top LMP1 Roadster, he, O’Connell and John Nielsen finished only 16th in the LMP class.

Four more Sebring starts with Panoz and Riley & Scott failed to produce a finish better than sixth in class.

But in 2004, Magnussen’s career trajectory changed, as he joined the fabled Corvette Racing outfit, through four generations of Corvettes (GT1 C5-R, C6R, GT2/GTLM C6.R, C7.R).

Magnussen had not ended better than seventh in class in his first five races at Sebring. In his next 14 races, he’s banked five class wins and three additional podium finishes.

His wins have come in 2006, 2008, 2009, 2015 and last year in 2017. He and regular co-driver Antonio Garcia have won three times together, while he won twice with O’Connell.

It’s serendipitous, then, that Magnussen’s 20th consecutive Sebring start will tie O’Connell’s record, and occurs in Corvette Racing’s 20th year of professional sports car competition.

“It’s such a cool event. The track is very challenging, but there is a great party going on all around,” Magnussen said. “The first thing that comes to my mind is the atmosphere of Sebring. It’s a cool place – from Wednesday when campers start coming in until the end of the race. It’s great.”

Magnussen scored the pole for the season-opening Rolex 24 at Daytona and finished third co-driving with Garcia and Mike Rockenfeller in the No. 3 Corvette C7.R.

That trio will go for a Sebring win repeat in 2018, after Garcia’s final stints last year helped deliver Corvette the victory.

JAN MAGNUSSEN SEBRING RESULTS (1999-2013 ALMS, 2014-2017 IMSA)

  • 1999: 16th LMP, No. 2 Panoz GTR-1 (O’Connell/Nielsen)
  • 2000: 7th LMP, No. 1 Panoz LMP1-1 Roadster-S (Brabham/PHR)
  • 2001: 8th LMP900, No. 50 Panoz LMP07 (Brabham)
  • 2002: 15th LMP900, No. 50 Panoz LMP01 (Brabham/van de Poele)
  • 2003: 9th LMP900, No. 36 Riley & Scott Mk III C (Goossens/Matthews)
  • 2004: 6th GTS, No. 4 Corvette C5-R (Gavin/Beretta)
  • 2005: 3rd GT1, No. 4 Corvette C6R (Gavin/Beretta)
  • 2006: 1st GT1 (3rd overall), No. 4 Corvette C6R (Gavin/Beretta)
  • 2007: 2nd GT1, No. 3 Corvette C6R (O’Connell/Fellows)
  • 2008: 1st GT1, No. 3 Corvette C6R (O’Connell/Fellows)
  • 2009: 1st GT1, No. 3 Corvette C6R (O’Connell/Garcia)
  • 2010: 8th GT2, No. 3 Corvette C6.R (O’Connell/Garcia)
  • 2011: 4th GT, No. 04 Corvette C6.R (Gavin/Westbrook)
  • 2012: 2nd GT, No. 03 Corvette C6.R (Garcia/J. Taylor)
  • 2013: 11th GT, No. 3 Corvette C6.R (Garcia/J. Taylor)
  • 2014: 8th GTLM, No. 3 Corvette C7.R (Garcia/Briscoe)
  • 2015: 1st GTLM, No. 3 Corvette C7.R (Garcia/Briscoe)
  • 2016: 9th GTLM, No. 3 Corvette C7.R (Garcia/Rockenfeller)
  • 2017: 1st GTLM, No. 3 Corvette C7.R (Garcia/Rockenfeller)

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