Jan Magnussen Voted Most Popular Driver, Dan Binks Named GT Mechanic of the Year
BRASELTON, Ga., Oct. 2, 2011 – Twenty-four hours after the checkered flag fell at the season-ending Petit Le Mans, the roar of racing engines was replaced by applause, toasts, and words of gratitude as the American Le Mans Series celebrated its champions. Corvette Racing drivers and team members were among the honorees at the awards ceremony.
Jan Magnussen was voted the Most Popular Driver in online balloting by fans. The Dane is the only ALMS driver to have won a race in every year since the series’ inception in 1999. He joined Corvette Racing for endurance events in 2004, and became a full-season driver in 2007. He was GT1 co-champion with Johnny O’Connell in 2008, and finished second in the GT championship this year with teammate Oliver Gavin. He cited the series’ international appeal as a factor in his selection as the Most Popular Driver.
“I’ve always enjoyed tremendous support from fans, especially in Denmark and Europe,” Magnussen said. “You really have to go to Le Mans to experience their enthusiasm, and they follow me in the ALMS when I’m racing far from home. Driving a Corvette also helps, for sure!
“When I joined Corvette Racing for long-distance events, success at Le Mans was my goal,” Magnussen recalled. “Now my goal is to win another ALMS championship, and there is no better teammate to help me achieve that than Oliver Gavin. We’re going to come back stronger next year and finish one place higher.”
Dan Binks, crew chief for the No. 3 Compuware Corvette C6.R, was selected by International Motor Sport Association (IMSA) officials as the Battery Tender Mechanic of the Year in the GT class. Binks received a $5,000 award in recognition of his wrenching and leadership skills. He then donated the award to the Austin Hatcher Foundation for Pediatric Cancer, the official charity of the ALMS, on behalf of his teammates.
“Donating the award to the Austin Hatcher Foundation on behalf of the entire Corvette Racing team is the right thing to do,” Binks said. “We race as one team, and everyone on the crew deserved this award. We’re fortunate to be able to do what we love, and we all want to help support the work that the Austin Hatcher Foundation does with children and families who are dealing with cancer.”
Corvette Racing was runner-up in the GT Team championship, the team’s best finish since moving to the GT category in 2009 after winning eight straight GT1 titles.
“The competition in the GT class is fantastic,” said Corvette Racing team manager Gary Pratt. “We’re racing against teams representing BMW, Ferrari, Porsche, and Jaguar, and it’s always a fight. We really appreciate the quality of the competition, and it only makes us work harder to get to the top step.”
Corvette Racing technical partner Michelin won the GT Tire Manufacturer championship on the final lap of the final race. The Corvette crew contributed to Michelin’s success throughout the season with a victory at Mosport, runner-up finishes in Long Beach and Mid-Ohio, and third-place finishes in Sebring and Baltimore. Although not a part of the ALMS championship, Corvette Racing’s victory in GTE-Pro at the 24 Hours of Le Mans was the crowning achievement of the 2011 season. The team has now tallied seven class victories in Le Mans
“Looking at our season overall, although we didn’t collect as many victories as we’d like to, we did get the most important one, the 24 Hours of Le Mans,” said Corvette Racing program manager Doug Fehan. “Le Mans is the cornerstone of the Corvette Racing program, a win there is our main objective, and we accomplished that goal proudly for Chevrolet and Corvette.”
Corvette Racing’s next event is the 60th Anniversary Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring on Saturday, March 17, 2012.
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