It’s been a battle for former Corvette Racing driver Jan Magnussen, but it appears that his streak of appearances in the 24 Hours of Le Mans will continue after all.
Corvette Racing dropped Magnussen from its full-season lineup for 2020, but he managed to latch onto a slot with High Class Racing, only to see that squad’s Oreca 07 Gibson moved onto the reserve list.
That development threatened to keep Magnussen from making his 22nd consecutive Le Mans appearance, but now comes word that last week he received “an offer [he] couldn’t refuse” from JMW to race with partners Richard Heistand and Max Root in a Ferrari 488 GTE in the GTE-Am category.
“I have been working on a couple of opportunities over the last couple of months, but when I got the call from JMW I knew it was an offer that I couldn’t refuse,” Magnussen told Sportscar365.com.
Magnussen praised his new squad as a “well-established factory team” that won the 24-hour race in 2017 and finished second last year.
“With a great car and a strong driver lineup,” Magnussen said, “we are definitely fighting for the victory.”
Magnussen started his streak of Le Mans appearances in 1999 with Panoz, and this year’s race will be his first without Corvette since 2003. (He actually missed the 2015 race after a qualifying crash, ending his streak of 16 straight starts.)
The Sept. 19-20 Le Mans race will be his first with a new team and a new car in a new category since 2004, but Magnussen isn’t fretting, saying, “As always, I cannot wait to get back on track.”
He’s hoping his 20-plus years of experience will prove helpful for JMW and points out that the Ferrari 488 GTE “has already proven to be one of the best GT cars, and the GTE-Am category looks extremely challenging.”
Magnussen won’t be the only racer experiencing new feelings. The 88th Le Mans will also feature a new look for other competitors and fans, too, since the race will be held behind closed doors because of COVID-19 and will be run in September for only the second time ever.
“This year will certainly differ a great deal due to the COVID-19,” Magnussen said. “I will miss the spectators and all the fan activities during race week. But Le Mans is Le Mans, and I’m looking forward to getting another opportunity to race at this fantastic event.”
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