Third time as fastest qualifier at Long Beach – two others led to race wins
LONG BEACH, Calif. (April 7, 2017) – Corvette Racing’s Jan Magnussen captured his third class pole position on the streets of Long Beach on Friday. If previous years are any indication, Saturday could be a very good day for the No. 3 Mobil 1/SiriusXM Chevrolet Corvette C7.R.
Magnussen set a GT Le Mans (GTLM) class record in qualifying for the Bubba Burger Sports Car Grand Prix of Long Beach with a lap of 1:16.090 (92.1 mph) in the Corvette he shares with Antonio Garcia. The veteran also won pole position for Corvette Racing at Long Beach in 2008 and 2014. Both times, he went on to victory including three years ago with Garcia. Magnussen and Garcia also won last year at VIR after Magnussen scored an overall pole position.
“It was an outstanding effort by Jan and everyone on the Corvette Racing team today in qualifying,” said Mark Kent, Chevrolet Director of Motorsports Competition. “This is a great result coming off the victory at Sebring and bodes well for our chances at a sixth Long Beach class win tomorrow.”
Qualifying was extremely competitive with only 0.578 seconds covering eight GTLM cars. That included Oliver Gavin, who was sixth in the No. 4 Mobil 1/SiriusXM Chevrolet Corvette C7.R with a lap of 1:17.115 (91.9 mph). He and teammate Tommy Milner were runners-up last year in class at Long Beach and won the 2012 race together.
Both Corvettes showed strong pace in the two practice sessions Friday ahead of qualifying. That should be no surprise considering Corvette Racing has won five times at Long Beach. The four Corvette Racing drivers have combined to win seven times at Long Beach. It’s an impressive record on such an historic course.
Magnussen and Garcia also are coming off a GTLM victory at the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring, the most recent round of the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship. It moved them to second in GTLM Driver’s Championship points; Chevrolet holds the same position in the Manufacturer’s Championship.
The Bubba Burger Sports Car Grand Prix at Long Beach is scheduled for 1:05 p.m. PT on Saturday, April 8 from the famed Long Beach Street Circuit. FOX will have live coverage beginning at 4 p.m. ET with live audio coverage from IMSA Radio is available on IMSA.com.
JAN MAGNUSSEN, NO. 3 MOBIL 1/SiriusXM CHEVROLET CORVETTE C7.R – FASTEST QUALIFIER IN GTLM:
“Qualifying here is a fantastic experience. I love this place. It’s one of my favorite tracks. Qualifying at any street circuit is always special. You can get so close to the walls… as long as you bring it back fastest you can scrape it a little bit! The Corvette was good. We had a good session just prior to qualifying where we did a simulation where we found a couple of areas where we could change a little bit. Those were good changes and allowed us to find what we needed.”
DID YOU THINK THE CAR HAD THAT IN IT? “It did feel like that this morning, but that can guide you off in the wrong direction. But it did feel like if the track gripped up then, the Corvette would be super nice to drive. So this session the car did bog down, so we made some changes for that. I think that the engineers found that last little bit that they needed.”
THE IMPORTANCE OF BEING IN THE FRONT HERE CAN’T BE OVERSTATED: “Of course it is important – track position here when everybody is this close. (Oliver) Gavin is P5 and he is just two tenths back. It’s pretty crazy… absolutely crazy. Track position is going to matter here. You have to fight for your position.”
OLIVER GAVIN, NO. 4 MOBIL 1/SiriusXM CHEVROLET CORVETTE C7.R – QUALIFIED SIXTH IN GTLM:
“It was a frustrating session for sure. The session before we were in P1 and I really thought we were in a good spot. The car felt great. We made a small adjustment, and I was just waiting for everything to come together. I had a good lap going. I came through Turn 10 and into 11… that is the corner where maybe I’ve been not quite so natural through. And I just made an absolute dog’s dinner of it. That is where any chance of me getting pole just disappeared and went. Then when we got bumped to P6, I was just ‘what!’ I couldn’t believe it. I wanted to make it so both cars were on the sharp end. That is where both cars should be. I’m frustrated now that we have made it harder on ourselves. But that seems to be the story of our year so far. It isn’t exactly going smoothly for us. It’s a shame. Congrats to Jan. He had a fantastic lap. I’m glad one of our cars is there in P1. It’s turning into a good season for them.”