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FULL REPORT: Magnus Racing Takes Victory at Rolex 24 at Daytona

DAYTONA BEACH, Florida (February 3, 2016)- In one of the most exciting finishes in the history of the famed Rolex 24 at Daytona, Magnus Racing played a daring fuel strategy to limp across the finish line in first, taking victory in the GTD category by just over three seconds. This would serve as the second victory at Daytona for the team, the first victory for driver Marco Seefried, second for drivers John Potter and René Rast, and fifth for Andy Lally.

“It’s pretty overwhelming to return to victory lane,” stated team owner and co-driver John Potter. “This race had such an endless series of ups and downs, straight down to the final laps, that I think everyone on this team was overcome with emotion. This was such a team victory, I couldn’t be happier for everyone here.”

As the debut for the No. 44 Audi Tire Center Audi R8 LMS in IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship competition, the process of just getting to the race has been a hard-fought road for the team. With zero experience with the machine, the team has had a busy off-season since taking delivery, taking part in an endless series of tests and simulations. Running through the holidays, taking victory at Daytona was the perfect reward for what had been a busy winter season.

After a challenging qualifying, Andy Lally would take on starting duties for the twice-around-the-clock adventure. Knowing that this would serve as one of the most competitive fields in series history, the Northport, New York native simply managed his time as he came to paces with his machine. 

When an opportune yellow would present itself, the team opted to remove Lally for John Potter, with the Salt Lake City resident fulfilling the first of a required five hours behind the wheel. Despite having never raced the Audi R8 LMS before, Potter was impressive in his debut for the marque.

Setting lap times within site of the top contenders, John would keep the car on the lead lap throughout his run with the team opting to put him in for a double stint. 

As the afternoon fell and the evening rose, Potter would finally pit in favor of Marco Seefried who immediately made work of the field in front of him, slowly moving up through the top ten. Eventually Seefried would give way for René Rast, who demonstrated his ability as a Audi factory driver by taking the car in to the lead as the evening hours continued.

With all four drivers cycling through overnight, the most noteworthy moment came in the complete lack of incidents of missteps throughout the tricky hours of the night. With the key to winning an endurance race lying in a problem-free run, all signs were positive for Magnus as neither driver nor crew made a single misstep overnight.

The same could not be said for the leading No. 48 and No. 16 Lamborghini’s, however, as contact between the two dominant leaders would set the stage for a non-Lamborghini victory, something that up until that point did not look likely. From that point on, there was a palpable change in the atmosphere with the crew at Magnus realizing victory was possible.

As the sun rose, all attention shifted to setting up the race for the final two hours, with drivers Andy Lally and Marco Seefried driving multiple shifts as the team kept René Rast fresh for the end.

When the time came for Lally to pit for the final time in favor of Rast, the entire team knew that they were just outside the window to do the race in one more pit stop.

Under the assumption that a yellow would come, Rast merely did his laps, ultimately taking the car to the lead as the team turned their attention to fuel strategy.

With no yellows coming, it was time for Rast to make one more stop with just under an hour to go, making it questionable that he could go the distance on fuel. With the rest of the GTD field in the same position, the majority of the field would pit for a splash of fuel in the remaining laps, guaranteeing they could make the distance.

Magnus Racing, however, opted to stay out and the next 45 minutes became a constant series of coaching over the radio as the team calculated what sort of fuel numbers Rast would need to make it to the finish, all the while maintaining a gap to the field behind him.

As the laps ensued, the No. 28 Lamborghini who was questionable on fuel, would eventually catch the No. 44. With Rast unable to provide a challenge, the team fell to second with only a few laps to go. Miraculously, however, the No. 28 would sputter eventually making way to Rast as he ran out of fuel.

From that point on, it was about conserving fuel and keeping an eye on the second place No. 540 Porsche who was fast approaching with no concerns for fuel. As the No. 44 circled the track for the last time, the tension was high within the team due to the uncertainty he could make it, and a combination of relief and elation would fill the pits as he took the checkered flag.

Proving just how close the team ran on fuel, the No. 44 would actually run out of fuel on the cool-down lap, with Rast having to be towed to victory lane.

“It was absolutely incredible,” stated Rast. “The last time I drove for Magnus we won, and to come back and do it again is amazing. This car was absolutely perfect. The last stint was probably the hardest of my life. They kept yelling different lap times and fuel numbers at me, sometimes five or six times a lap, and it was clear that it was going to be close. It was a huge relief to see the finish line, and I couldn’t be happier for this entire team.

For Andy Lally, celebrating his fifth Daytona victory, elation is high. 

“What an amazing finish,” stated Lally. “These guys had such a rough 2015, and with all the work they put in during the winter, their preparation really showed. This was a team victory. Perfect pit stops, no mistakes from the drivers, and excellent pit strategy down to the end, unbelievable.”

For Marco Seefried, the sentiment is shared.

“Finally, we won this thing together,” stated Seefried. “Magnus has now provided me with wins at Daytona and Sebring, I couldn’t be more thankful to be here and for the opportunity provided. This was a crazy race, but we pulled it off, I couldn’t be happier for this team.”

While the next race is not for another seven weeks at the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring, there is little down time for both Magnus and the entire series, as there is an upcoming Sebring test in just a couple weeks, as well as several other prep items for the team. 

Read more: FULL REPORT: Magnus Racing Takes Victory at Rolex 24 at Daytona

Seefried, Rast Complete Magnus Lineup for Daytona

DAYTONA BEACH, Fl. (January 7, 2015)- Although this year’s Rolex 24 at Daytona will mark the first event for Magnus Racing in their new Audi R8 LMS, the car will be the only new component of the team as they announce the completion of their four-driver lineup. Having both taken victory in Magnus machinery before, Marco Seefried and René Rast will join full-season drivers John Potter and Andy Lally in the No. 44 machine with a combined total of six victories at the famed season opener of the IMSA WeatherTech Championship.

“This was the exact lineup we were hoping for, and we couldn’t be happier with our prospects,” stated Magnus Racing team owner and co-driver John Potter. “We’ve had a great history with both Marco and René, and beyond being incredibly quick and reliable in the car, they’ve both proven an instant fit with our way of working. It’s great to get the whole group back together, and with a new car taking us into the race, we know consistency in every other aspect is critical.”

Returning to Magnus after sharing victory at the Rolex 24 in 2012, René Rast will head to Daytona in the hopes of maintaining a 100% win rate with the team. Playing a critical role in the organization’s first win nearly four years ago, the German has had an incredible career since signing as a factory driver for Audi and proceeding to compete and win in such series as ADAC GT Masters, the Blancpain Endurance Series and more. Most notably, the 28-year-old was given the opportunity to compete in the prestigious Audi R18 e-tron during the 24 Hours of Le Mans, a high honor to drive one of the most revered LMP1 machines in history.

With Magnus Racing driving Audi machinery for this year’s race, the choice to bring in Rast was clear.

“I have great memories with everyone at Magnus Racing, and it’s very special to return,” stated Rast. “A lot has happened since 2012, but that event was a career highlight for me and very special to share with such a great team. This new 2016 Audi R8 LMS is a fantastic car and should be very well suited to Daytona. I’m very eager to earn another victory for the team and Audi, and we definitely have the lineup to do it.”

Driving his sixth race with the team, Marco Seefried is opening up his 2016 campaign after a stellar 2015 season. Competing in IMSA, the Blancpain Endurance Series, as well as VLN, the German also took part in a full season of the World Endurance Championship, where he took a victory and three podiums, including a third at the famed 24 Hours of Le Mans. Additionally, Seefried took podium honors with Magnus Racing at the Six Hours of the Glen last year, his third podium with the team including a victory at the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring in 2014.

“It’s always a joy to return to Magnus Racing,” stated Seefried. “It’s such a fun and warm team, but also incredibly competitive. The new Audi looks really strong and I think at Daytona it should be a real contender. Anything can happen at this race, but with John, Andy, René and the whole team, I’m very excited to see where this race goes.”

Official testing for the race begins tomorrow, January 8, as part of the annual Roar Before the 24, a three-day event in which all IMSA teams are invited to take part in the first official pre-season test. The Rolex 24 at Daytona will take place on Saturday, January 30, with series’ television coverage still to be announced.

Read more: Seefried, Rast Complete Magnus Lineup for Daytona

Magnus Racing’s Webcast Returns to the Pits at Rolex 24 at Daytona

DAYTONA BEACH, Fl (January 27, 2016)-Continuing a tradition that has carried since the team’s first victory in 2012, Magnus Racing’s annual “Live at Daytona!” pitside webcast will once again happen during this weekend’s Rolex 24 at Daytona. Running live for all 24 hours of the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship’s marquee event, the drivers and crew of the No. 44 Audi Tire Center Audi R8 LMS will once again offer their insight in to the operation unlike any other.
 
“We’re very excited to bring the webcast back again, “ stated Magnus Racing team owner and co-driver John Potter. “We obviously make a big commitment to entertaining our fans, and the webcast has become a staple of that. It’s a big undertaking, but we’re very happy to present something unique and to our voice. More importantly, we couldn't be more enthusiastic about returning to Daytona. We’re excited to embark on this new adventure with Audi, and based on our test and lineup we’re all very optimistic on our prospects for the race.”
 
With a line-up featuring three drivers who’ve won the prestigious race before, for a combined total of six victories, the team heads in to this weekend’s race with a certain sense of optimism following a successful test during the annual Roar Before the 24 just three weeks ago. The combination of full-season drivers John Potter and Andy Lally with team endurance driver Marco Seefried and Audi factory driver René Rast presents one of the most formidable lineups in the highly-contested GT Daytona (GTD) category.
 
“This is an amazing lineup, and I think we all know we have a real shot at this,” stated co-driver Andy Lally. “The last time René drove with us, Magnus took its first ever victory, and I don’t see why that can’t be repeated. A lot can happen and this is probably one of the tightest fields I’ve ever seen, but we’re prepared and ready.”
 


Running live for all 24 hours of the race, the team’s pitside webcast not only gives fans an opportunity to listen in on team communications and view a live working pit, but to interact as well. With key members of the team and IMSA paddock sitting in throughout the race, the team will offer fans a chance to write in via chatroom to ask questions and interact with the team through all 24 hours of the famed race. Once again hosted by team stalwart Sean Heckman, long-time paddock personality Melissa Eickhoff will take on co-hosting duties as well, with the duo currently planning a number of segments and games for their guests throughout the event. Joining the team will be Emily Potter who has become synonymous with her hosting duties, as well as all of the team’s drivers and random IMSA drop-ins.

Fans can watch all 24 hours live on magnusracing.com, or directly on uStream via ustream.com/liveatdaytona. You can also follow via smartphone by either checking the uStream app or following the team's Twitter and Facebook pages.

Additionally, the team’s “Magnus Challenge” will return, however in very modified form. In previous years, the team gave out a secret word every hour to see who managed to stay up for the whole race, however for 2016 the team will be introducing an, err, very different challenge… presented by a very famous personality within the motorsport scene.
 
With practice and qualifying beginning tomorrow, the race will begin this Saturday, January 30 at 2:40PM.

The team’s webcast is aiming to start at 2PM(ish), with the official series television and broadcast schedule below:

  • 2:00 PM ET, 1/30/2016, FOX Sports 1
  • 4:00 PM ET, 1/30/2016, FOX Sports 2
  • 10:00 PM ET, 1/31/2016, IMSA
  • 7:00 AM ET, 1/31/2016, FOX Sports 1
  • 10:30 AM ET, 1/31/2016, FOX Sports 2
  • 1:00 PM ET, 1/31/2016, FOX Sports 1

Read more: Magnus Racing’s Webcast Returns to the Pits at Rolex 24 at Daytona

Audi Tire Center to Sponsor Magnus Racing

DAYTONA BEACH, Florida (January 28, 2016)-Further enhancing a relationship that officially kicks off during this weekend’s Rolex 24 at Daytona, Magnus Racing will proudly adorn Audi Tire Center as a primary partner of the No. 44 Audi R8 LMS. With the team making their race debut for the marque on Saturday, the team looks forward to continued opportunities to work in partnership.


“It will be great to have Audi Tire Center on the side of our car,” stated Magnus Racing team owner and co-driver John Potter. “As we all know, partnerships in this sport are both critical and challenging to find, so it was great to not look much further than Audi to see how we could all work closer together. We look forward to a fruitful season and helping to expand their message however we can.”
 
Audi Tire Centers are the best place to shop for Audi-approved tires. No one knows how to care for your Audi better than the experts at your Audi dealership. When it comes to tires for your Audi, your dealership understands that the right tires support your Audi's superb performance and outstanding handling. Certified service advisors and technicians know your vehicle inside and out. Trust them to have the right tires, including Audi Original (AO and RO1) tires, when you need them. Help ensure a safe, comfortable ride with a set of Audi recommended tires.

Audi owners can shop for tires and schedule an appointment through www.auditirecenter.com or by contacting their local Audi dealer.
 
Carrying the Audi Tire Center colors all year along the side of the Magnus Racing machine, the team will continue to work closely with their OEM partners to see how they can assist with a number of facets of the brand.
 
The Rolex 24 at Daytona, the first race of the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, begins this Saturday, January 25. Coverage will begin at 2PM ETon Fox Sports 1.

Read more: Audi Tire Center to Sponsor Magnus Racing

Magnus Racing Learns Plenty About Car, Nothing About Competition at Roar

DAYTONA BEACH, Florida (January 11, 2016) - With an all-new rules set for the GT Daytona (GTD) category of the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, Magnus Racing and the No. 44 Audi R8 LMS came in to the annual Roar Before the Rolex 24 at Daytona with the goal of furthering their learning curve on the new car, as well as learning about their fellow category competitors. While the team gathered plenty of data on both the machine and drivers, understanding the strengths and weaknesses of their competition was pretty much pointless.

“Overall we’re definitely happy with our performance, I think we’re one of a dozen teams that feel very confident about the race,” stated team owner and co-driver John Potter. “This was our first time taking the new Audi to Daytona, and the car was very strong. I pulled my fastest lap times ever at the track, and all of my teammates proved very quick, so I know we’re in the hunt. Where any of us stand for the race, who knows. Every session showed different cars and different teams at the top of the time sheets, and I think all that proved is just how close this category will be. It’s going to be a real fight and we’re all looking forward to it.”

With drivers John Potter, Andy Lally, René Rast and Marco Seefried taking their time behind the wheel, the team was consistently in the mix through the majority of sessions during the three-day test, with the team working on everything from setup, to reliability, to simply gaining seat time for their drivers. Despite having never driven the car at Daytona, the team was able to manage a 1:48.070 lap-time, just 15 hundredths of a second off of the top time on the weekend, and with five different manufacturers all within a half-second of one another. With a variety of teams and drivers trading top times, it’s anyone’s guess as to who will be the favorite for the race.


For Andy Lally, a quiet confidence is the feeling of the team after the weekend.

“We’re all pretty happy with the Roar,” stated the four-time race winner. “This field is incredibly close, it’s so tough to gauge where anyone stands, but we learned a ton about this car and we’re definitely a contender. We still have a few things we want to work on, but we have a strong Audi R8 LMS and and an awesome lineup. John pulled the best lap times he’s ever run, René was exactly what we all expected, and Marco was right there as well. The guys put in a lot of time this winter getting us ready, we’re all as prepared as we can be.”

For Rast, the sentiment is shared.

“The Audi R8 LMS is always an excellent car at this track,” stated the German. “Obviously I have many fond memories with Magnus given that we won together the last time I was here with them, and after the test I definitely feel as though we’re as strong as ever. It’s a great team, a great car, now we just have to see where we are in a few weeks.”

For Marco Seefried, another chance at Daytona is always welcome.

“We’re definitely very strong here, so I think everyone is pretty confident,” stated Seefried. “The car is very impressive and should be very solid, and obviously our driver lineup is incredibly quick. Andy, John and René have all won together here, and based on this weekend we all know it’s possible to return to victory lane, but obviously there are many factors so we’ll just have to see what happens during the 24.”

With only a couple weeks between the test and the race, the entire WeatherTech championship is hard at work getting both car and team ready for the upcoming Rolex 24 at Daytona. As both the season opener and the biggest race of the year, there is a lot at stake for everyone on the team, who will take to competition on Saturday, January 30. A full-team preview, including television details, will be announced shortly. 

Read more: Magnus Racing Learns Plenty About Car, Nothing About Competition at Roar

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