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5+5: 10 Moments that Shaped Magnus Racing’s 2014 Season

As one of 29 teams in the GT Daytona (GTD) category to arrive in Florida this January for the debut of the all-new TUDOR United SportsCar Championship, Magnus Racing can look back fondly at a season that featured a number of highs, lows, and everything in between.
 
Following two incredible final years in the GRAND-AM Rolex Sports Car Series in which the team took three victories, including at the 50th running of the Rolex 24 and the inaugural Brickyard Grand Prix, the team entered 2014 as a championship contender. During the previous two seasons, the team took the title in the inaugural North American Endurance Championship, followed one year later by a runner-up ranking in the Rolex Series, creating high expectations for this year’s revamped category.

While the team would enjoy a number of highlights, including five podiums and an incredible victory at the historic 12 Hours of Sebring, a series of incidents combined with off-form weekends would set the inaugural championship out of reach, with the team ultimately finishing fifth in both Team and Driver categories. One significant highlight, however, is the team’s No. 44 Flex-Box Porsche 911 GT America holding the distinction of being the lone Porsche to take victory in its respective category, a tradition that has carried since the 2012 Rolex season.
 
Additionally, the team was voted by the fans as the “Team to Win” at the end of the year, a Microsoft-sponsored competition in which motorsports fans around the world were encouraged to vote for their favorite team, with Magnus taking top honors against such names as Corvette and Dempsey Racing.
 
“We certainly had our struggles in 2014, but we ended the year on a high,” stated Magnus Racing team owner and driver John Potter. “Winning Sebring was huge, and set us on a good bit of momentum in to the spring, but unfortunately we had our struggles during the summer. That set us up for an incredible rebound during the fall, however, and we ended the season on a high which was incredible. It was a great tribute to the crew who put in an amazing effort to get to the bottom of our struggles, and ultimately we could walk away satisfied.”
 
Continuing the team’s annual tradition of pinpointing the most defining moments of the season, below are the five incidents the team could have done without, and the five highlights that made for an incredible year.
 
FIVE MOMENTS WE COULD HAVE DONE WITHOUT:
 
5. An Indy Misfire. Following a couple of off-song performances at Detroit and Canadian Tire Motorsport Park, Magnus came into the famed Brickyard Grand Prix in search of a turnaround in form. Having visited the podium in the two previous visits, and knowing that their championship was in need of a bump, the final 90 minutes of the race halted any hope of momentum. The usually bulletproof Porsche engine developed a strange misfire as Andy Lally’s stint progressed., and the team was helpless to do anything to cure it. While the car was able to continue, the souring pace was amiss with the lead pack, eventually falling back to 12th and further behind in series standings.

 

4. Daytona Goes Down the Splitter. The known Achilles heel of the Porsche, the very fragile front splitter that helps maintain aerodynamic downforce to the front of the car, has long been a problem at the storied Daytona International Speedway. Preventing the team from possible victory in 2013, the issue once again appeared during the 2014 Daytona 24, with the team needing to replace the splitter several times, through no fault of the drivers. The issue was such a prevalent factor for all Porsche teams that there were no spares left during the closing hours of the race, with the team having no choice but to limp home with a damaged car for hours, eventually finishing 12th, the worst finish at Daytona in team history.

 
3. Canada Remains Green. While “green” racing is very sought after these days, it didn’t help Magnus at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park. The traditionally caution-filled race was anything but, which provided a trying day for the team. Struggling to find the pace of the lead cars, the team turned their focus to one of their core strengths, pit strategy. Unfortunately with no caution flags to encourage alternative pit stop decisions, the team simply ran their pace to ninth.

2. Butchered in Wisconsin. If the Championship wasn’t out of reach before the eighth round of the championship at Road America, it certainly was after. With the team showing a few moments of speed in practice and possible renewed form, a race restart would ruin the day for the Magnus team. With John Potter showing strong, a rookie driver behind him failed to properly understand the “accordion” effect during a restart and clocked the No. 44 in the rear, causing Potter to not only run in to the cars in front of him, but created substantial damage to his Porsche in the process. The crew would do a remarkable job to get the car turned around and back on track, but the time spent in the garage would send the car down 15 laps and in 14th place. Critically important, Andy Lally also failed to get his minimum drive time in the car, meaning he would score zero points on the day and was effectively eliminated from the championship.
 
1. Detroit. Everything. It’s tough to define one moment about Detroit that we could have done without because the whole weekend was a disaster. Qualifying last, an incredible amount of confusion on a yellow flag procedure, all topped off by a late-race mechanical black flag… it was forgettable in every way.

 
 

FIVE MOMENTS THAT MADE THE SEASON AWESOME:


5. Lally Goes Twice in Monterey. Quickly. So often races can be won by fuel mileage, but Andy Lally and the team proved sometimes the opposite is true. With the shortened format of the series’ third round at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca, combined with a timely yellow pushing some teams to try and run the event in one stop, the team decided to try the opposite with one hour to go. Pitting Lally for fresh rubber and plenty of fuel to go the distance, the Georgia resident had a sprint ahead of him. Whereas the leading competitors would spend their time running conservative, Lally drove flat out for the entirety of his final stint, climbing to fourth by the white flag and eventually taking third when the leader ran out of gas. It would serve as the team’s third straight podium at Laguna Seca and put the team in the thick of the championship chase.

4. Testing Positive in Atlanta. Often times it’s not the race that generates the result, but the time leading up to it, a reality never proven more true than during an early fall test at Road Atlanta. Following a disappointing, and busy, summer season the crew of our small team gave up any hopes of time off to make the hike down to Atlanta to get a handle on their performance woes. With the following two rounds at Circuit of The Americas and Road Atlanta netting podiums on both occasions, the effort clearly paid off.
 
3. Preparation for 12 Hours. While issues with the splitter put the proverbial nail-in-the-coffin for any hopes of a good performance at Daytona, one underlying issue also presented itself during the race and pre-season tests: the Porsche’s shift mechanism. With the 911 GT America being an all-new car and for the first time including a paddle shift mechanism, the process in which the system that changed gears had a few nagging issues. Unable to diagnose the specifics of the problem, the team instead turned their attention to being able to replace the key components in a timely fashion should it occur again, and this paid dividends at Sebring. When Andy Lally encountered the problem early in the race, the team was ready, and in under 90 seconds they were able to switch out the ailing system, preserving the team’s contention… and ultimately contributing to their historic win.

2. Potter Goes Three Times in Atlanta. One critical component of the GTD category rules was the ever-present minimum drive time. Designed to enforce each entry as a team effort, a driver who wants to score points is required to compete for a defined amount of time at each race (specific to the race length), which in the case of the season-ending Petit Le Mans was two hours and forty-five minutes. This effectively meant a triple stint if the team wanted Potter to start the race and not get back in, thereby eliminating the need for a costly driver change. However, with many teams electing to put their veteran drivers in early, Potter attempting a triple stint ran the risk of losing a lot of ground to the more experienced leaders. You would have never known this, however, as John drove a masterful series of stints, maintaining a pace with the lead pack through the entirety of his run, and when he pitted for the final time he was right with the lead pack. This opened the door for the more experienced Marco Seefried and Andy Lally to drive the remaining seven hours, meanwhile the cars in front still had to rotate their lesser experienced drivers through… ultimately playing a big role in the team’s fifth podium of the season.
 
1. A Quick Call Wins Sebring. There’s an old adage that the “first team to make the last stop wins,” and that proved true at Sebring. With Andy Lally running among the leaders but struggling to get to the front, a slowing car on the track caused the Magnus crew to call in the No. 44 for the final stop with 45-minutes to go. This proved a critical move as the other cars stayed out, and when a yellow flag would eventually come about the Magnus Porsche found itself in the lead with 30 minutes to go. Lally would take the job on from there, defending his position well and crossing the finish line in first, and ultimately the lone Porsche GTD-category victory in 2014.

With the season now behind, all attention is now focused on the next venture for 2015. While the team has yet to announce any firm plans on the specifics of the program, rest assured the team will be back in action and ready for a new series of highlights by this time next year.

Read more: 5+5: 10 Moments that Shaped Magnus Racing’s 2014 Season

Magnus Racing Signs New Driver for 2040

John Magnus Potter, Jr. Signed for Team’s Development Program


SALT LAKE CITY, Utah (October 25, 2014)- While the team is always hard at work to ensure the future competitiveness of the program, Magnus Racing has signed newcomer John Magnus Potter, Jr. to an exclusive new development program, headed up by team principal John Potter and his wife, Emily.
 
Born on Friday, October 24 and weighing six pounds, 13 ounces, “Jack” Potter has already impressed his parents, err "team management," by being on time.
 
“When I look at Jack, I can see he comes from greatness,” stated Potter. “It’s important that our team always looks to the future, and having a driver who was not only on time, but also cries less than Andy Lally is a fantastic statement about our little guy. Emily is also doing very well and we’re very excited for the future of our family.”
 
Going by the nickname “Jack,” both baby and mother are in great health, and resting comfortably in their Salt Lake City home.
 
They should enjoy it now, they won’t be resting much longer.

Read more: Magnus Racing Signs New Driver for 2040

FULL REPORT: Magnus Racing Closes Season with Another Podium at Petit Le Mans

BRASELTON, Georgia (October 6, 2014)- Following yet another wild endurance race in the inaugural TUDOR United SportsCar Championship, Magnus Racing withstood a chaotic event to take third-place honors during Saturday’s Petit Le Mans powered by Mazda. This would serve as the team’s fifth podium for the year, shoring up fifth in both the GT-Daytona (GTD) category Team and Driver’s championships.
 
“It’s great to close the season with another podium,” stated Magnus Racing team owner and co-driver John Potter. “To have had such an up and down season, we came here wanting to build momentum into the off-season and I think we’ve done that. It’s actually bittersweet as we might have even finished higher if things had shaken out differently at the end, but any time we can come home with a trophy it’s still satisfying.”
 
Starting from the ninth position, John Potter would take opening duties for the No. 44 Flex-Box Porsche 911 GT America. Having recently tested at the circuit just weeks earlier, the Utah resident came in with a renewed confidence, and as the race unfolded, it showed. Setting times on par with the lead pack, Potter maintained a healthy gap to the top group of cars, all without putting a foot wrong.
 
When a timely yellow would come out for pit stops, the team elected to keep Potter in the car for a double stint on the foundation of his strong showing. Running a second stint even better than the first, Potter continued to run lap times that maintained with the lead pack, so much so that when the time came for yet another pit stop, the team elected to keep John in for a third stint.
 
Running yet again with the same consistency as the first two rounds, John kept the car clean and continued his faultless run eventually making his third stop under an ideal caution period, handing the car over to teammate Marco Seefried having completed his minimum drive time before the three-hour mark had arrived.
 
“I’m admittedly very proud of that stint,” stated Potter. “I think this may have been my first triple stint, and it felt great. The car was easy to drive and the team did an excellent job of keeping me informed and on top of the race, and I think it showed.”
 
With team returnee Marco Seefried back in the car, all focus now turned to moving to the front. Seefried, who last drove with Magnus during their victory at this year’s 12 Hours of Sebring, was instantly on pace in the Porsche. Knowing that his job would be to drive a series of fast stints and back-and-forth runs with teammate Andy Lally, the German made immediate work of the field in front of him. As the various driver rotations worked their way through the competitors, the No. 44 threatened for the top five with the team confident that they’d further advance with Seefried and Lally doing the remaining hours.
 
After a clean first stint, the team elected to keep Marco in for a second getting the team close to the halfway point before Andy Lally had even taken the wheel.
 
As the stint progressed, an extended series of yellows would draw the race on further and further with track conditions changing, and equally important the “build-up” of tire rubber on the outer portions of the racing surface increasing. Unfortunately for Seefried, this would get the better of him during the later portions of his stint. Cresting the hill on the way to the treacherous Turn 12, a rare mistake would put the car in the thick of this off-line debris, and as the car lightened over the hill, Seefried was sent spinning on the approach to the corner with Marco doing a great job to get turned around and recover quickly. No substantial damage was done to the car.
 
With his tires now sufficiently worn, the team would bring Seefried to the pits in favor of Lally who was getting his first taste of the machinery near the halfway point. Having dropped down the order as a result of Seefried’s spin and pit stop, the Georgia resident would have the difficult task of trying to re-advance as quickly as he could, with the team knowing a strong middle stint would create better options for them as they started considering race-ending strategy.
 
Once Lally found his rhythm, it was business as usual and the march up field once again continued. Steadily gaining ground, by the halfway point the team once again looked set for a top five, and by the time Lally’s first pit stop would come the team was in contention for a top three.
 
With Lally now in his second stint, all focus shifted on a podium and possible win until once again disaster struck. With the No. 44 running some of its best times yet, the left front tire had a surprise blowout through the back straightaway with Lally immediately slowing to preserve his car but also trying to minimize the time lost. Limping his way back to the pits, the positions gained during his opening stint were all for not as by the time the team was able to make their full-service stop, they were now a lap down.
 
With a caution period following shortly after, clever strategy by the team would put them back on the lead lap, although at the tail end and with four hours to climb back.
 
Marching back through the field yet again, Lally had the car poised for a top five by the time his stint would come to an end, handing the car back to Seefried just past the six-hour mark.
 
It was in this pit stop that the team would once again suffer another setback, this time in the form of their radio. In the process of the driver change between Lally and Seefried, the mechanism that holds the driver’s in-car radio was damaged, meaning the drivers could hear the radio commands of the team but could not speak back.
 
With Seefried behind the wheel, the team would spend the majority of his stint trying to diagnose the problem, and with three hours to go they would examine the issue once an opportune caution came to perform a scheduled pit stop. Determining there was nothing they could do to fix the problem in time, the team simply had to manage the situation from there on out.
 
Completing a strong double stint, Seefried was up to fourth with just under two hours to go when the car was handed over to Lally for the final time.
 
Climbing to third, Andy would drive in a spirited battle with the No. 23 Porsche of Mario Farnbacher with just over an hour remaining, successfully holding him off and eventually forcing the German into a mistake.
 
With the team electing to bring the No. 44 in for its final stop with just 50 minutes remaining, a perfect stop would mean clear sailing for Andy who would go to the checkered flag without the ability to speak back to his team.
 
As pit stops cycled through, the No. 44 was in a strong third and as the laps continued, it looked likely to stay that way. However, with 15 minutes to go, a heavy incident would bring out the race’s final caution and once again bunch the field up for a sprint to the finish with six minutes remaining.
 
Once the green flag fell, Lally was unfortunately pushed wide through the tricky Turn One by some optimistic traffic, being forced to high-side the curbing and falling to fourth in the process.
 
Doing his best to hold position through the final two laps, the team was resigned to a fourth-place finish until a surprise last lap incident with the No. 23 Porsche would advance Lally up to third, taking back the podium position a mere three turns from the finish.
 
An ecstatic team would celebrate, resulting in their second podium at Petit Le Mans, fifth podium during this year’s 11-race season, as well as securing fifth in the Team Championship and for John Potter in the Driver’s rankings. It would also seal Magnus as the only GTD team to win for Porsche in the inaugural 2014 season.
 
“What a crazy race,” stated Lally. “I couldn’t talk to anyone during those last few hours, and that made it tough. I like to know everything that’s going on around me when we get in a situation like that, so driving blind is extremely tense, but I’m glad we were able to pull it off. Everyone on this Magnus crew deserves such high praise for their efforts, and I’m happy we could deliver this today. We were the only Porsche team to win all year, and fifth in the championship for the team and John is not a bad way to go, so we should all enjoy this.”
 
Echoing the sentiments, Marco Seefried has enjoyed a 2014 season in which he has had a 100% podium success rate. At the Rolex 24, driving for another team, he was third, followed by his victory at Sebring with Magnus and now Petit Le Mans.
 
“I can’t believe that finish,” stated the German. “It’s such a great feeling and everyone on Magnus deserves this. They’re such a fun and talented team that you can see why they have as much success as they do, and I’m glad that I could be a part of it. It’s great to go home with yet another trophy, what an incredible season.”
 
With the 2014 season now over, the team will turn their attentions to a number of matters in the off-season. With no firm announcements in place, stay tuned for several upcoming developments concerning the team.

Read more: FULL REPORT: Magnus Racing Closes Season with Another Podium at Petit Le Mans

Magnus Racing Takes Top Honors in Fan Vote, Children’s Tumor Foundation Reaps Rewards

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah (October 15, 2014)- Following a six-day voting session designed entirely for the fans of the TUDOR United SportsCar Championship, Magnus Racing has been voted as the fan favorite for the inaugural Microsoft Visual Studio “Team to Win” Grand Prize. In honor of the award, team owner John Potter will be donating $10,000 to a long-time associate of the team, the Children’s Tumor Foundation and their Racing4Research™ program.
 
“It means a lot to be voted as the favorite team by the fans,” stated team owner John Potter. “Our priority is of course on winning races and championships, but we put a lot of effort and commitment toward our unique brand, especially delivering something different for our fans, and it’s great to know it’s recognized. The ‘Magnus Militia’ is unlike anything out there, and I’m proud to see this kind of response. We couldn’t be happier to turn around and donate to the Children’s Tumor Foundation. Our partnership with CTF dates back to our victory at Daytona in 2012, and one that we’ve always been very happy to be associated with. The Foundation does great work raising awareness and donations for research toward helping children suffering from NF, and I’m more than happy to represent our fans by donating.”
 
With the contest featuring eleven teams who’d won their respective fan votes following each individual round of the TUDOR Championship, this week’s grand prize vote was a chance for fans to unite behind their favorite team. Facing stiff competition against such prodigious names as Corvette Racing, Dempsey Racing and many others, a weekend surge of support elevated Magnus Racing to the top of the standings, a lead that was never relinquished.
 
In addition to the loyal Magnus fans, the tremendous support of the Children’s Tumor Foundation also proved pivotal. With a network of families, donors, and supporters worldwide, the continued effort to raise awareness and donations for those suffering from neurofibromatosis is unparalleled.
 
Neurofibromatosis – known simply as NF – is a common yet under-recognized genetic disorder that can cause tumors to grow on nerves throughout the body. NF affects one in every 3,000 people, more than cystic fibrosis, Duchenne muscular dystrophy, and Huntington’s disease combined. The Children’s Tumor Foundation actively supports research into treatments and a cure for NF by bringing academics, scientists, clinicians, and companies together to work in collaboration towards an end to neurofibromatosis.
 
Developed by the Children’s Tumor Founda

Read more: Magnus Racing Takes Top Honors in Fan Vote, Children’s Tumor Foundation Reaps Rewards

Marco Seefried Returns to Magnus for Season Finale

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah (September 29, 2014)- Following an impressive debut for the team in which they took victory at the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring, Marco Seefried will once again return to Magnus Racing for this weekend’s season-ending Petit Le Mans.
 
“It’s great to have Marco back for Petit,” stated team owner and co-driver John Potter. “He’s such a great fit with our team, and did everything we asked of him in Sebring. Overall, we’re feeling very strong for the event. We had a successful test at Road Atlanta a few weeks ago, and it would be great for both the team and Porsche to end the year on a high.”
 
Seefried, hailing from Germany, will be competing in his first ever 10-hour classic. Beyond his victory with Magnus, the 38-year-old is a veteran of sports car competition around the world. In addition to previous U.S. events in the former American Le Mans Series, Marco has extensive experience in international series such as the Blancpain Endurance Series, VLN, GT Masters, and Porsche Carrera Cup.
 
“It’s great to be back with Magnus Racing,” stated Seefried. “The team is incredibly professional, but a lot of fun at the same time. Sebring was an incredibly exciting event, and a big honor to be part of the victory. I am thankful to John Potter, Flex-Box, and everyone on the team for welcoming me back, and I’m confident we’ll have a great race.”
 
As the final round of the TUDOR United SportsCar Championship, the debut season for the series, Magnus Racing looks to put a strong stamp on their year. Following a difficult summer season, the team recently showed renewed form at the most recent round in Texas, where the No. 44 Flex-Box Porsche 911 GT America set the fastest race lap en route to a second place finish.
 
The team’s renewed form is also directly related to a series of tests conducted three weeks ago at Road Atlanta, the very circuit they will be returning to.
 
Living just a few minutes from the circuit, former Petit Le Mans winner Andy Lally also looks to end the season on a high.
 
“It’s always exciting to return to Petit Le Mans,” stated Lally. “Beyond being my home track ever since I moved to Georgia a decade ago, it’s also just an excellent track to drive. We had a great test there recently, and everyone on this team is focused on winning. Even if we’ve had our challenges this season, I’m proud to be a part of an organization that has stayed positive through it all, and I know we’re all expecting good things this weekend.”
 
Practice for Saturday’s event begins Thursday, October 2, with Saturday’s 10-hour race taking place at 11:15 AM ET. Live coverage for the event will begin on IMSA.com at 11:00 AM ET, with FOX Sports 2 taking the race on at 3:00 PM ET. Additionally, Sunday will carry a highlighted re-broadcast on FOX, airing at 8:00 AM ET.

Read more: Marco Seefried Returns to Magnus for Season Finale

Off-Season Testing
United States, multiple tracks
Winter 2014
2015 Season Schedule Coming Soon
January 2015
Off-Season Testing
United States, multiple tracks
Winter 2014
2015 Season Schedule Coming Soon
January 2015