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Monday
Apr102017

Podium Result for Magnus Racing and John Potter at Long Beach Return

LONG BEACH, Calif. (April 10, 2017)- Following the team’s strongest run in Pirelli World Challenge competition so far, Magnus Racing driver John Potter would take the team’s first series podium with a third-place finish in class during yesterday’s Grand Prix of Long Beach, the third round of the GT and GTA championship. Pierre Kaffer would also enjoy a solid run in their GT entry, running quietly to eighth.

“I’m extremely happy with our first podium of the year,” stated Magnus Racing team owner and driver John Potter. “This was our first time at the track in six years, and with a completely different car, so we had no idea what to expect. Luckily we rolled off competitive in our first practice, and at a venue with so little track time we were fortunate that we stayed ahead all weekend. I was very happy with my own performance, but this podium is a testament to the team effort of this whole group, as we showed up prepared and ready, and the results bared the fruit of it. It was a lot of fun racing with the other guys in class, and it’s nice to come home with some hardware!”

Driving the No. 44 Audi Tire Center Audi R8 LMS, the 2017 race would serve as the first-time the team had been at the famed street circuit since 2011. As a 1.9-mile configuration literally built out of the city streets of downtown Long Beach, the challenges of the course are unlike any other, with walls on all sides and very little track time to truly get comfortable. 

Driving in the series’ GTA category, Potter wasted no time getting up to speed, immediately on pace throughout practice and consistently within the top-five. In his best qualifying performance so far, John would find himself starting third in class for Sunday’s race.

During the race, the Salt Lake City resident would do a remarkable job of staying clean throughout a chaotic first lap in which several cars around him would make heavy contact. As the race settled in, John would maintain the strong pace established in practice, comfortably in third until one of the most unique caution periods in the history of the sport would show itself. Fifteen minutes in, a nearby fire hydrant outside of the circuit was hit by a passing street car, creating a flood of water that eventually flowed on to the track, creating an unsafe situation for the race cars to pass over. As a result, the event was red flagged until the hydrant was fixed and water cleaned up.

Following the 20-minute delay, the race would resume, once again with Potter in third and now engaged in a strong defensive battle with a hard-charging McLaren. Doing an excellent job of preserving his podium position, a mistake by his competitor would lead to a crash, bringing out the final caution of the race. 

With race re-starts being the best opportunity for passing, Potter’s podium position was under threat as the race resumed, dealing with two separate cars making daring moves to overtake in to the tricky Turn One. Fighting hard, Potter did an excellent job of defending his line on the inside as they approached, forcing his competitors to move on the outside unsuccessfully. As a result, John was unchallenged through the remaining laps, with the competitors behind him unable to match the pace of the third-place No. 44.

In the team’s GT entry, the No. 4 Audi Tire Center Audi R8 LMS of Pierre Kaffer would run a fairly quiet race. Qualifying seventh, the opening-lap calamity that is notorious with the street circuit failed to disappoint, with the German avoiding major incident but nonetheless falling back slightly in the process. Within the Top-10 and setting some of the fastest times of the race, the track’s configuration unfortunately means it’s nearly impossible to pass, with Pierre doing all he could to get around his competitors but left helpless to make large gains.

As attrition and incidents continued, Kaffer would manage a couple of passes, ultimately working up to eighth by time the checkered flag fell. 

For Kaffer, the potential is definitely there for a top finish.

“We had a great car for sure, we just needed a few breaks to get the most out of the weekend,” stated Kaffer. “The team at Magnus Racing did a great job of preparing our Audi, unfortunately Long Beach is such a unique race that you can’t really predict how it will go. There were some crazy moments that we managed to avoid which was great, we just need a little better luck during the whole weekend to really see our best result. I expect our next race will be a really strong one in Virginia.”

With the third round of racing behind, the team will now focus on the first SprintX race of the year in three weeks’ time, where the team will return to the familiar territory of multi-driver racing. Continuing their two-car effort, Kaffer will be joined by co-driver Spencer Pumpelly, with Potter joined by long-time team driver Marco Seefried.

Practice begins on Friday, April 28, with racing action taking place throughout April 29 and 30.

Wednesday
Apr052017

Magnus Racing Returns to Long Beach Grand Prix After Six-Year Hiatus

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah (April 5, 2017)- Following a six-year absence from the world-famous Grand Prix of Long Beach, Magnus Racing will once again return to action this weekend, campaigning two Audi R8 LMS machines in the Pirelli World Challenge. In a packed weekend that runs in conjunction with the Verizon IndyCar series, the team will return to action at a venue they haven’t visited since 2011.

“It’s great to be back at Long Beach,” stated Magnus Racing team owner and driver John Potter. “The last time we visited in 2011 we had a really fun weekend, capped off with a podium, and it’s something we hope to repeat heading in to this year’s race. Between the scenery, the crowd, the whole atmosphere, it’s one of the best events of the year for our series, and we’re excited to be back. After our debut at St. Petersburg we walked away with a lot of lessons learned, and heading in to Long Beach I think there’s a lot we’ve learned. Of course visiting another street course, and one we haven’t been to in a while, creates a big challenge for us compared to our competitors, but obviously with the talent and experience behind this whole team we’re ready for it.”

Although the team has only competed once at the venue made of up of Long Beach’s downtown city streets, the legacy from that 2011 experience has lived on. It was during that weekend that the team debuted their partnership with Roscoe’s House of Chicken ‘N Waffles, located just two blocks from the track, which created a legacy that is still talked about today. Listed as one of the top Porsche liveries in the history of the marque, the “Roscoe’s Car” can still be found on many video games and posters today.

("Roscoe's" Magnus Porsche, 2011)

Driving in the series’ GTA class, Potter will once again take to the wheel of his No. 44 Audi Tire Center Audi R8 LMS following his series debut just one month ago on the streets of St. Petersburg. Running an error-free weekend on a circuit he’d never been to, the Utah native will arrive for the series’ second round on a track he’s at least driven before, albeit in a very different car and format.

Driving in the premier GT class, Pierre Kaffer will return in the No. 4 Audi Tire Center R8 LMS, looking for redemption after a muted weekend in St. Petersburg. During the series’ opening weekend, the German qualified on the front row and showed promise throughout practice, only for in-race contact to create a blown tire in Race One, followed by being forced wide in to an escape road during Race Two.

With the team knowing the speed of both driver and car, Long Beach presents a new opportunity on a circuit the Audi factory driver is very familiar with.

“Long Beach is a fantastic event, and one I’m excited to be a part of again,” stated Kaffer. “The whole Magnus Racing team demonstrated a lot of potential during St. Petersburg, we just had some bad luck. I’m confident we will be strong again, but it should be a very close race. The configuration of Long Beach is unlike any other, so it’s tough to say who will be strong, but we know we have a great team behind us to maximize every opportunity.”

Practice for the Grand Prix of Long Beach begins this Friday, April 7, with the race taking place on Sunday, April 9. Same-day television coverage will be available on CBS Sports Network at 2:30 PM ET.

Thursday
Mar162017

Marco Seefried Joins Magnus Racing for SprintX Rounds

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah (March 17, 2017)- Continuing a relationship that began with victory at the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring three years ago, Marco Seefried will once again return to Magnus Racing in 2017, joining teammate John Potter for the majority of Pirelli World Challenge SprintX rounds.

“It’s great to re-team with Marco for the SprintX rounds,” stated Magnus Racing team owner John Potter. “Over time he’s become an instrumental part of our program, and as teammates we have a really well established working history together. We really appreciate his willingness to re-join, and I look forward to working with him to fight for class wins.” 

Driving the No. 44 Audi Tire Center Audi R8 LMS, Seefried will return to the very car with which he had tremendous success throughout the 2016 endurance season. As part of the team’s endurance line-up last year, the German went on to win The Rolex 24 at Daytona, a podium in Sebring, as well as leading much of the season-ending Petit Le Mans en route to helping the team win its second North American Endurance Championship. Prior to the team’s Audi entry, Seefried made his debut with the team at Sebring in 2014, taking a class victory, and following that up with three additional podiums during the 2014 and 2015 seasons. 

In a busy 2017 that will see Marco drive a number of big international races for a variety of teams and manufacturers, Seefried will be with the team for all of the SprintX rounds with the exception of Lime Rock, due to a schedule conflict with the 24 Hours of Nürburgring. The Pirelli World Challenge SprintX championship is a unique, five-race championship that features two-driver combinations over the course of 60 minute races.

For Seefried, it’s good to be back in his American home. 

“I’m extremely happy we were able to make this work,” stated Seefried. “Magnus has been such a great part of my career, and the SprintX races should be a unique opportunity to just drive flat out. So many of my greatest victories have been with this team, and hopefully we can continue that in the Pirelli World Challenge. While I’ve never competed in this series, it’s obviously grown in to a very strong championship, and with a very impressive roster of teams and drivers now. I’m thankful as always to John and the rest of the team for the opportunity, I look forward to helping them earn the championship.”

While the next round of The Pirelli World Challenge and Magnus Racing will come in just over two weeks’ time at the Grand Prix of Long Beach, Seefried and the series’ two-driver SprintX format will begin in six weeks’ at VIRginia International Raceway, April 28-30. 

Tuesday
Mar142017

Strong Promise Shown in Magnus Racing’s Pirelli World Challenge Debut

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (March 13, 2017)- Making their series debut in the Pirelli World Challenge, Magnus Racing would end their double-header weekend at the Grand Prix of St. Petersburg having demonstrated an immediate pace and contention for race victories. Qualifying on the front-row in their series debut, drivers John Potter and Pierre Kaffer would both demonstrate a strong combination of patience and aggression, with Potter taking sixth and eighth place finishes in class, and Kaffer surviving a frought weekend to finish 15th and 19th.

“Overall we have a lot of things to be happy with this weekend,” stated Potter. “It’s a brand new series, brand-new tire, and at a track we’d never been to, and for the most part we had a seamless transition to the Pirelli World Challenge. Behind the scenes, every series runs a little different in the way of procedures, administrative elements, etc., and the fact that we didn’t have a single misstep all weekend long is a strong testament to the quality of everyone on the team. Our only ‘incidents’ were track related, and that’s just a byproduct of the hard racing that this series brings, and that’s what we came here to experience. A front row qualifying effort in our first try is something we should all be happy with, and had it not been for some contact Pierre would have had a great weekend. While obviously I would have liked to have finished higher, I’m happy with my own performance considering how new it all was. In general we learned a lot, which will only make us that much stronger going in to Long Beach.”

Driving the No. 44 Audi Tire Center Audi R8 LMS, John Potter would take top team honors on the weekend. Arriving to not only a new series but a new track, the Utah resident knew that patience would be a virtue at the tight street-course, with the wall-lined layout providing little room for forgiveness.

Driving in the series’ GTA class, Potter would enjoy a patient run during Saturday’s Race One, familiarizing himself with the nature of the format and getting a sense of his competitors. Not putting a foot wrong for all 50-minutes, John would make steady progress as the race endured, ultimately finishing sixth in class.

For Sunday’s Race Two, a frantic opening lap would lead to a mixture of positions and incidents synonymous with the series, however Potter would manage to avoid all of it, once again demonstrating remarkable patience as he acclimates to the new format. Engaging in a number of battles throughout the 50-minute race, John would set some of his fastest laps of the weekend en route to an eighth place class finish.

Driving the No. 4 Audi R8 LMS in the series’ GT class, Pierre Kaffer would impress in his series debut, even if the ultimate finishing results didn’t demonstrate it. In both the driver and team’s first ever qualifying effort, the German did a remarkable time to set the second fastest time on the day, qualifying himself outside of the front row and setting the stage for what everyone had hoped would be a good weekend. 

When the green flag dropped for Saturday’s Race One, Kaffer would engage in a strong four-way battle for the lead, with four different drivers in four different marques constantly switching positions in the all-out sprint race. Maintaining a podium position through his run, an aggressive pass by the No. 007 Aston Martin would put Pierre in a bad spot on track, with the No. 58 Porsche making a diving move in to Turn Three as a result. This would lead to contact, ultimately cutting down the Audi’s right-rear tire as well as leading to light wall contact. While Kaffer would continue in the race, he would be forced to pit for a new tire and continue on with a slightly damaged rear suspension, finishing 19th overall.

For Sunday’s Race Two, Kaffer’s race misfortunes would continue. Due to running much of Saturdays’ race with a damaged car, the Audi factory driver’s fastest lap would only place him 12th fastest for the race, and with 50-minutes to move up to the field Pierre would have to move quickly. Unfortunately, due to a chaotic opening lap, Pierre would end up caught out approaching the treacherous Turn Four, being forced wide in to the corner and with no choice but to take the turn’s escape road to avoid crashing. As a result, Kaffer would lose nearly a minute trying to re-join the track, which in a sprint race creates an insurmountable gap. While Pierre would do his best to gain ground, a lack of caution periods left him helpless to do much to the field in front of him, settling for 15th overall.

 

“Even though there were some disappointments, I really enjoyed my first weekend with Magnus,” stated Kaffer. “The team is extremely professional, fun, and they gave me a great car. Everything was working very well throughout practice and it showed in qualifying, the races just didn’t go our way. These things can happen and the series is incredibly competitive. Now that we have a better understanding we’ll be that much stronger headed to Long Beach I’m sure, I thank everyone for the opportunity to be here.”

With the first weekend behind, all focus now shifts to a circuit the team has visited before, albeit not in six years, at the Grand Prix of Long Beach. Taking place on the city streets of the seaside California city, the team looks forward to the next round of competition, taking place April 7-9.

Friday
Mar102017

Audi Tire Center Extends Magnus Racing Sponsorship for Pirelli World Challenge Season

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah (March 7, 2017)- Extending a sponsorship that began in 2016, Magnus Racing and Audi Tire Center will once again re-unite for the entirety of the 2017 Pirelli World Challenge season.

“It’s great to see Audi Tire Center back with our program,” stated Magnus Racing team owner John Potter. “It goes without saying we’ve enjoyed a strong relationship with Audi as a whole over the last year, and the mutual support with an organization such as Audi Tire Center is a great demonstration of just how deep the partnership extends. We were fortunate enough to take part in a few Audi events over the course of 2016, and it’s clear how committed a group like Audi Tire Center is to their customers and quality of service, and that resonates very strongly within our own group, as obviously we pride ourselves on being competitive but also delivering a unique voice for our fans. We look forward to representing them well with both of our cars this year.”

 

Now in their second year together, the relationship between Magnus Racing and Audi Tire Center was immediately solidified dating back to their debut race together, when Magnus Racing, competing for the first time in the prolific Audi R8 LMS, went on to take victory at the Rolex 24 Hours at Daytona. Since that time, the relationship has only strengthened, with Magnus taking an additional victory at Lime Rock Park, and podium honors at the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring and Sahlen’s Six Hours of the Glen. Capping off an incredible season, Audi would go on to win the Manufacturer’s Championship, a role that Magnus was proud to contribute to.

Moving to 2017 and Magnus Racing’s new entry in to the sprint format of The Pirelli World Challenge, the continuation of the relationship will extend, with the team continuing to support Audi’s efforts in properly servicing their large customer base.

For Audi customers, only Audi Original Tires are engineered specifically for their Audi model. To help maintain the outstanding ride and handling characteristics of a customer’s Audi, tire installation at an authorized Audi dealership will ensure their benefit from factory-trained technicians with extensive Audi knowledge, best utilizing tire mounting and balancing equipment specified by Audi to help ensure a smooth ride.  Finally, customers can be assured that their tires are protected by complimentary Road Hazard Coverage.  

For Anthony Russo, Parts Program Specialist for Audi of America, the opportunity to re-unite with Magnus’s new two-car effort is a welcome one.

“We’re very excited to be back with Magnus Racing in 2017,” stated Russo. “Our 2016 season was a tremendous success, and the on-track results the team achieved were some of the best we’ve seen in company history. The move to the Pirelli World Challenge offers us a unique opportunity to extend our message to a new community, and the sprint format puts a real premium on performance which resonates well with us. Seeing our brand on both the No. 4 and 44 cars is fantastic, and we look forward to being part of an event where we can compete for overall victories. It’s a great next step for our program, and only further extends the parallels between on-track performance and the quality of service provided by Audi Tire Center.”

Official practice for the season-opening Grand Prix of St. Petersburg begins tomorrow, March 9, with an event double-header taking place on Saturday and Sunday. Magnus Racing will place continuous updates via their social media channels, as well as live coverage on world-challenge.com/streamvideo/