SALT LAKE CITY, Utah (August 25, 2016)- With a slew of recent withdrawal announcements from GTD-category teams in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, Magnus Racing and Olympic gold medalist Ryan Lochte have announced a partnership in advance of this weekend’s Michelin GT Challenge at the famed VIRginia International Raceway to help handle the many media requests for the team’s “opinons” on the matter. Taking on a spokesman role for the team at a time when he’s found himself suddenly in search of work, the decision to hire the renowned swimmer, who is no stranger to forcibly uncomfortable public speaking, seemed a perfect fit.
“We felt Ryan would be the best person for the job in addressing the Magnus take on recent team withdrawals headed in to VIRginia International Raceway,” stated Magnus Racing team owner and co-driver John Potter. “As someone who, even when we weren’t competitive, has maintained all of his commitments to the series, manufacturer, and of course team personnel, I really don’t think I can say anything on the recent occurrences. That’s why Ryan is such a good fit. He clearly has no trouble going on national television, looking someone straight in the eye and developing a story to fit his need, so he’s the perfect person to handle any more “developments” like this in the coming months. It’s a shame we can’t just talk about racing, because this weekend’s race at VIR should be a great one.”
As the lone GT-only race of the season, Sunday’s Michelin GT Challenge at VIR promises to be an exciting one. With the GT Daytona (GTD) category facing competitors from Audi, BMW, Ferrari, Lamborghini and three entries a lone entry from Porsche, the team behind the No. 44 Audi Tire Center Audi R8 LMS looks forward to the daunting 3.27-mile circuit. Following a strong series of runs, including a victory, during the last two races, drivers John Potter and Andy Lally are optimistic on their chances to gain on the championship-leading No. 63 Ferrari.
Unfortunately, in a 24 hour-time span, two potential competitors withdrew from the event, citing their own “reasons” for the occurrence. These were reasons which clearly did not include upholding commitments made to the series, their manufacturer, and team.
Taking a spokesman role with immediate effect, Lochte, the 32-year old six-time gold medalist, couldn’t be more excited about the opportunity to speak on Magnus Racing’s behalf.
“When the guys at Magness called me I was like, jeah!” stated Lochte. “It sounds like there’s been a lot of shady stuff going down, and I’m here to talk for the Magness guys about it. I totally understand why teams would complain about this ‘bop’ thing all the time, we’ve been trying to get the same thing in swimming for years. When we went to Brazil, we tried to petition to have Michael Phelps carry Verne Troyer on his back to make things fair, but the Olympic dudes were like ‘no, you just have to swim faster.’ That was total dank BS. I wanted to just pack up and go home too after that, but I couldn’t find my wallet so I stayed in Rio. I read the reason why those car teams couldn’t make it to Virginia, and it totally sounds legit, I don’t know why people are being so hard on them. It’s like, come on, these guys have totally legit sponsors on the side of their car, they have to show them that it’s worth the money. I’m sure there were lots of proposals, pitch meetings, and other fancy stuff to get these sponsors, right? How else would a race team find its money? From what I can tell, people don’t just hide behind their sponsors to address their own agenda. That would be totally not cool if they did.”
Unfortunately, Lochte will not be physically present at the famed Alton, Virginia circuit, as he was reportedly robbed at gun point at a gas station in nearby Danville for $20. According to sources, $20 goes a long way in Danville.
It’s possible, however, that he may have just slipped on a floor mat.
For Andy Lally, however, a return to one of his favorite circuits is a welcome one.
“VIR is unlike any other circuit in the country,” stated Lally. “Long straights, rolling hills, an excellent series of switchbacks, this course has it all. As a GT-only race it should be pretty interesting, and I believe we should be pretty strong there. With three races to go, every point matters, and we’ve all been very focused on achieving the maximum.”
Practice begins this Friday, September 26, with live coverage of the race featured IMSA.tv on Sunday, August 28 at 1:30 PM ET.