The No.3 Corvette Racing piloted by Magnussen, Antonio Garcia and Mike Rockenfeller recorded the fastest time at the two day test. Their teammates Oliver Gavin, Tommy Milner and Marcel Fassler took the victory here last year and Corvette Racing has recorded an 10 victories, nine pole positions and six fastest race laps in 18 appearances.
However, when it comes to race day, Magnussen knows that can all count for nothing in what is one of the toughest endurance races on the planet.
The Danish ace took the lead in last year’s race – albeit for a split second – before the No.3 Corvette was hit in turn one and sent spinning into the tire wall.
Together, the Danish/Spanish/German trio of Magnussen/Garcia and Rockenfeller have a total of six wins in the 12 hour event between them. The trio enter this weekend’s event after a strong showing at the Rolex 24 at Daytona where they just missed out on a podium finish in fourth place.
The GTLM class battle in the 65th running of the Sebring race kicks off on Thursday morning with the first practice at 11:10am. Qualifying is at 1:25pm on Friday with Saturday’s race greeting the green flag at 10:40am.
Jan Magnussen Q&A
Q: How did the recent Sebring test and how important was it as part of your Sebring preparations?
A: “We had a good test, got through a lot of stuff on the car and got Mike (Rockenfeller) a ton of laps to familiarize himself with the track and the car again.
“I’m quite happy with where we ended up at the test, came away fastest, although come race time that probably won’t mean so much.
“But it’s a good, positive feeling in the team of where we are, but we won’t know until qualifying exactly how we stand.”
Q: What were your first impressions of Sebring when you first raced here back in 1999?
A: “Sebring is a pretty unique place in terms of what goes on around the track during the race.
“There’s such a fantastic atmosphere and the people that go there, a lot of them having been coming here since back in the 50s.
“There’s a lot of history here. It’s just a fantastic place. The track itself is not, it would be wrong to say it’s not a great track, because it is, but it’s an unusual track because it’s so bumpy.
“The way the layout is, when the car is good this place is really nice, but when the car’s a handful it’s the exact opposite.
“It’s bumpy, it beats you up, it’s a long race, 12 hours, and so the rule of thumb is, if your car can last 12 hours here, 24 hours at Le Mans should be no problem.”
Q: How dark is it at night at Sebring compared to Daytona?
A: “At Daytona there’s so much light there, driving all through the night is no big problem because visibility is pretty good.
“But here it does get super dark. And all you have is the light on the car, so that is a challenge.
“The track limits are difficult to see at night here so when you’re fighting in traffic you can get blinded by the other cars’ lights.
“Sometimes you don’t quite know where you are or where the track limits are and that can put you in some pretty hairy situations.”
Q: How important is the radar rear camera system that is installed in the Corvette C7.R?
A: “It’s a great help. The radar system in the daytime is also a good help, but when it is dark or raining it is a incredible bonus
“At night you can get blinded in the car by the lights coming from behind, but you still have the possibility to see how far behind he is and what side of the car is he going to come with the radar.
“ I think it’s a big advantage but it’s less of an advantage now since our rivals now have similar systems.”
Q: The weather forecast looks promising but how challenging out there is it when it rains?
A: “Last year’s rain put a stop to everything because the rain was just simply too heavy for the cars to go around, plus the lightning started as well.
“It looks like we should have a dry race, at least for now. But if it does start to rain here, it becomes such a challenge just to stay clear of damage, hitting other cars, going off track.
“It’s a bumpy track and water tends to collect in every little hole on track. So even if it’s not a massive amount of rain, you should still expect to be aquaplaning pretty much everywhere.”
Q: This year’s Australian Formula 1 Grand Prix is next week and doesn’t coincide with Sebring this year. Will you be able to get an earlier night on Saturday night rather than staying up to watch your son Kevin race?
A: “That’s one thing. The other thing is Thursday and Friday night I’ll be able to also get some sleep and not be up checking on Kevin’s progress. The last couple years I haven’t slept much during the weekend. It’s nice that the Grand Prix opener is the next weekend, that means I can come straight home, keep my bedtime and then watch him race next week.”
Q: Has he been pleased with the testing and preparations for 2017? Is he fitting in well at Haas?
A: “I’m pleased that Kevin has had a lot of laps in the car and they haven’t had any major issues.
“Pretty much straight away they were able to get into the program and start developing the car.
“I know he’s in a good place, he’s super happy with the situation and very motivated. “I can’t wait until Melbourne to see how they stack up against everyone else.”
Source. Paul Ryan Media