Laguna Seca presents a unique challenge to the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship field, as the technical, low-grip track and extreme elevation change tests both the cars and the drivers in the two-hour, 40-minute race. The biggest change in elevation, and most iconic corner on the circuit is the corkscrew—where the track drops five and a half stories in just 450 feet of distance.
Despite the challenges, Magnussen has conquered the track before. Magnussen, Antonio Garcia and Corvette Racing share two wins at the historic track, taking back-to-back victories in 2013 and 2014. Magnussen has an additional two wins in Monterey, tying him for second all-time at the facility.
The No. 3 team enters the race third in the championship. Still alive in the title fight, they sit 21 points off the lead in the IMSA GTLM championship standings.
Magnussen and Garcia come into the weekend with momentum, having returned to the podium with a third place finish at VIRginia International Raceway. The Danish and Spainish pair is hoping the return to form will catapult their No. 3 car to the top step of the podium, a place they haven’t been since VIR 2017, and propel them to a third consecutive championship and fourth consecutive for Corvette Racing.
The action at the 2.238-mile, 11-turn WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca circuit kicks off on Friday with first practice at 10:55 AM Pacific time.
Jan Magnussen Q&A
Q: What are the unique challenges at a place like WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca?
A: “You can’t talk about Laguna Seca without talking about the corkscrew. There’s really no other corner like it, and it’s massively fun, but also challenging. Just the elevation change at Laguna keeps you on your toes lap after lap.
“On top of that, it’s a really low-grip track. Finding the perfect balance of the car that gives you enough grip to set a fast lap is really tricky. Luckily, we’re pretty good at that at Corvette Racing and so hopefully we can have a good car this weekend and make the most of Laguna Seca!”
Q: What are the secrets to a good lap time here?
A: “The fans talk a lot about the corkscrew and it’s an iconic corner, but there is not a lot of time to be gained there.
“The real secret to success is the exit off the Andretti hairpin and the following run up to the corkscrew. You have four medium speed corners which you have to get right. You have to be careful you don’t carry in too much speed—if you run wide on the exit you are in the dirt and it can take a while to get your tires cleaned up.
“Late in the race there can also be a lot of rubber build-up off line so if you are forced wide in traffic it can be a problem.
Q: How big a challenge is the traffic at Weathertech Raceway Laguna Seca?
A: “After not having the prototypes at VIR, we’re back to having to keep an eye on our mirrors this week. Fortunately at Corvette we also have the great radar system which helps us work out what the following car is and how fast it is closing.
“Traffic can be your best friend or your worst enemy at times—you have to be careful and sometimes also commit early for a corner to tell a prototype they have to wait one more corner before going by.
“The last thing you want is to leave a big door open and have a prototype dive bomb you and make contact. It might not be your fault, but you have to manage the traffic so you don’t put yourself into a dicey situation.”
Q: With two races left in the 2019 IMSA season, what is your goal to finish out the year?
A: “The biggest goal is to finish with a win for the No. 3 car. Corvette Racing is still chasing our 100th IMSA win, and I know Antonio and myself want to be the ones to deliver that. We haven’t won since VIR of 2017, even though we’ve been so close so many times. So, getting that victory is mission number one for us in these last two races.
“The other goal is the championship fight. We’ve got an outside chance at it, so we can’t go risking good points days when there’s still the opportunity to take home a title. It will be difficult to do, but as long as we’re mathematically still in it, we have to give it everything we’ve got to try and get three championships in a row for ourselves, and four for Corvette.”
Source. Paul Ryan Media/Photo. Corvette Racing