- Published: Wednesday, 06 May 2015 03:19
MONTEREY, Calif. (May 4, 2015)- Headed into Sunday’s Continental Tire Monterey Grand Prix powered by Mazda, Magnus Racing had just one goal: continue their streak of podiums (cross out) top-six finishes alive at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca. Having finished third in 2012, winning in 2013, and third again during last year’s event, the team would come away satisfied having finished sixth during Sunday’s third round of the GTD class for the TUDOR United Sportscar Championship.
“We took away a lot of positive elements from today’s race,” stated Magnus Racing team owner and co-driver John Potter. “We obviously would have liked to finish higher, but with the way our season has been going, a solid finish is a move in the right direction. We know the speed is there as we showed throughout practice, so we’re definitely headed in the right direction. I’m fairly happy with my stint, Andy did a great job to bring the car home, and all in all I’d say we can at least leave the event knowing there’s a good amount of momentum moving forward.”
With Potter qualifying the No. 44 Flex-Box Porsche 911 GT America in fifth, his first qualifying performance since 2013, the team was optimistic for a strong finish. When the green flag fell the Utah resident did his best to avoid incident successfully navigating the traditionally chaotic start and settling into his own pace. As the field would see a variety of maneuvers and overtakes, John would maintain a grip on the lead pack, battling to stay in the top five but never putting his machine at risk.
With the race requiring John to do a minimum of 60 minutes in the car, an early caution period would see the team elect to bring him in for tires and fuel, however, John would stay in the car in order to fulfill his time requirement. Continuing where he left off, the team owner would do his usual steady job of driving while maintaining lead contact, until surpassing the 60-minute mark and eventually being called in to switch with lead driver Andy Lally.
Crucial in this decision was the timing of the driver change which came early enough that the team was effectively forced to do one more stop to make it to the finish, whereas the teams ahead took the more risky strategy of staying out much longer to make it their final pit stop, meaning they’d all have to run conservative on fuel and tires for the rest of the race.
As Lally circled the track with no worries for fuel, the race simply wasn’t meant to be for the team. Running fast lap after fast lap without trouble, the leading pack of cars were able to successfully run their strategy to the end, miring the No. 44 back in sixth with simply not enough time to catch.
While the team would have liked a stronger finish, a combination of fast lap times and also achieving their first trouble-free run of the 2015 season was still a positive for the team.
“Of course we would have liked to have finished better, but I’m still very proud of the effort,” stated Lally. “This car has been strong all weekend and that bodes very well for us for the rest of the year. This race is so hard to predict, the strategy could have easily gone the other way and worked to our advantage, so we should still be happy with this. All in all I’m happy with the weekend, and it’s great to have our season back on track.”
With a four-week break in store for the series until the next round, Magnus Racing will still be hard at work preparing for the busy summer season with the next round taking place at the unique Detroit Grand Prix on the streets of the scenic Belle Isle Park. Practice begins on Friday, May 29, with the race the next day on May 30. Live coverage can be found on Fox Sports 2 at 2PM ET, with next-day coverage on Fox Sports 1 at 5PM ET.