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Pre-Race Challenges Lead to 13th for Magnus Racing in Monterey

MONTEREY, Calif. (May 2, 2016)- With the real excitement of the weekend occurring before the race had even started, the team at Magnus Racing did a remarkable job to overcome a pre-race pit fire en route to a trouble-free 13th during yesterday’s Continental Tire Monterey Grand Prix at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca. Kicking off the “sprint season” of the IMSA WeatherTech Sports Car Championship’s GTD class, the team retains a solid third-place standing in the championship.

“This was definitely not the race we were hoping for, but it was an absolute testament to the quality of our crew,” stated team owner and co-driver John Potter. “We could have just as easily missed the event with the fire, but the team immediately went in to recovery mode to make sure we made the start, and as the season goes on these are the moments that will make a big difference. It’s a little disappointing to have a drive-through penalty from IMSA in addition to having to start from pit lane, we were already at a deficit by having to start the race from the back, and the drive-through penalty effectively killed all our chances to do well. We were still able to manage points, and given our strong start to the year we’re still very much in the thick of the competition. We would have loved to have shown more for all of our guests on-hand at Auric Solar, but obviously one of the things we all enjoy about this sport is its unpredictability, we were just on the wrong side of it this weekend.”

After a fairly smooth weekend throughout practice and qualifying for the No. 44 Audi Tire Center / Auric Solar Audi R8 LMS, Sunday’s pre-race warm-up, occurring less than two hours before the race start, would change the entire dynamic of the weekend. With driver Andy Lally setting a few final laps to gauge the car’s setup, chaos would ensue as he stopped in the pits for the last time before the race.


As the team re-fueled the car, a rare mechanical problem would result in a small amount of fuel leaking outside of the vehicle, catching on fire as it came in contact with a very hot machine. Thanks to quick work by the crew and track safety personnel, the fire would be put out almost immediately, with no one hurt and no major damage sustained. As the fire extinguishing systems engaged, however, the team would have to take the car back to the paddock to clear it of the powder located all over the vehicle, as well as a thorough mechanical review to make sure there were no other unforeseen damages.

For the next 70 minutes, the team would frantically go through the car, replacing components that appeared effected, as well as vacuuming and cleaning the high amount of foam and powder from the extinguishing. Luckily for all involved, the car would turn on with seemingly no issues, allowing the team to roll back to pit lane in time for the start.

Unfortunately, in the process the team would miss the mandatory reconnaissance lap to take their place on the grid, meaning the team’s opening driver, John Potter, would have to start from pit lane. This would present three challenges. The first would be that Potter had to start from the back and not even begin to join the track until the field came by at full speed. The second challenge would be joining the track with a car that had not been warmed up, putting him at a further disadvantage to the field in front of him that had just run two pace laps. Third, the team would be forced to serve a mandatory drive-through penalty after the opening lap, forcing Potter to crawl through pit-lane at a reduced speed as the field continued to pull away.

As a result of the various penalties placed on the team, by time John was up to speed he was nearly a lap down, with a hard charging GTD field quickly gaining on him. As he got up to speed, the pace of Potter and the Magnus Audi was on par with the majority of the field, setting consistent lap times and running without incident. Understanding that the focus now had to be on simply managing the rest of their race, John drove a relatively calm first stint, holding his own until a timely yellow was able to put the team in a strategic position to rejoin on the lead lap and hand the car over to teammate Andy Lally.

With Lally in the car, all focus turned to salvaging every position he could for the race’s final hour. With no additional yellow flags, however, the Atlanta resident had no real chance to catch the field in front of him. Despite this, Andy would still find himself in a couple of great battles outside the top-10, eventually finding himself in 13th for the finish.

“The pit fire really hurt us for the race, and unfortunately the penalties were sort of the final blow,” stated Lally. “It was an amazing job by the guys, again, to get us out there, and that definitely helps us for the championship. It was just one of those weekends, we’ll just have to turn our attention to the rest of the season.”

While it was the worst finish of the year for the team, the fact that they were still able to complete a full race distance would still mean solid points, allowing them to hold on to third in the championship.

With just under five weeks until the next event, all focus will now turn to the final street circuit of the season, the famed Detroit Grand Prix in scenic Belle Isle, with practice beginning on Friday, June 4. The race will take place one day later at 12:40PM ET.



Magnus Racing Heads to Monterey with Increased (Solar) Power

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah (April 27, 2016)- Increasing a partnership that began at this year’s Rolex 24 at Daytona, Magnus Racing is pleased to announce that Utah-based solar energy specialists Auric Solar will be featured prominently during this weekend’s Continental Tire Monterey Grand Prix at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca. Heading in to the third round of the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship’s GTD category, the weekend marks a critical beginning of the “sprint season” for the championship-leading team.

“The pressure is definitely on to deliver this weekend,” stated Magnus Racing team owner and co-driver John Potter. “We’ve had such a strong start to the season that, headed in to the ‘sprint’ season, there is a major emphasis on maintaining our momentum. The shorter races require a completely different approach, but everyone here has maintained a great focus on development during the off-weeks, and we’re ready to get back on track. Having a larger presence for Auric Solar this weekend is a great opportunity to showcase what they’re all about. It’s a growing company that provides excellent solutions for solar energy, and we’re happy to a part of their marketing development.”

Following a win at the season-opening Rolex 24 at Daytona, followed by a third-place at the most recent Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring, the No. 44 Audi Tire Center Audi R8 LMS heads in to this weekend’s west coast round with a strong wave of momentum. Historically, the rolling hills of the 2.2-mile, 11-turn circuit of Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca has proven strong for the team. From 2012-2014, the team scored a podium finish in every appearance, including a thrilling victory during the 2013 round. While the 2016 GTD category is fundamentally different than previous years, including the team’s switch to Audi machinery, optimism remains high for the group.

Beginning as a small company in 2010 that started out of a garage in South Jordan, Utah, Auric Solar has quickly become the largest solar providers in the area and one of the fastest growing in the U.S. Auric Solar has had an average year over year growth trend of 171%.  This was accomplished by focusing on customer experience, quality, timeliness, and providing a responsible way to switch to solar power. Auric Solar’s headquarters are in Salt Lake City Utah, and the company has expanded to service all of Utah and Idaho with over 150 employees. With eight guests on hand from Auric Solar to enjoy the experience, the utilization of Magnus Racing’s renowned hospitality and experiential entertainment will once again be put to task.

Practice for the Continental Tire Monterey Grand Prix powered by Mazda begins this Friday, April 29. Running under a unique format to accommodate pit capacity, the series will actually split their four classes in to two separate events, with the Magnus Racing’s GTD category race taking place on Sunday, May 1, at 3:45PM PT. Live coverage can be found on Fox Sports 2.




Magnus Racing Makes Appearance at New York International Auto Show

NEW YORK (March 23, 2016)- Continuing the strong support between Audi and Magnus Racing, the team was proud to be represented during today's "media day" during the 2016 New York International Auto Show, North America’s first and largest-attended auto show dating back to 1900. As one of the largest shows in the world, the event is accustomed to some of the biggest brands and manufacturers using the event as a platform for showcasing new cars, launches, and more.

With Audi launching the all-new 2017 Audi R8 Spyder today, the Rolex 24 at Daytona winning No. 44 Audi Tire Center Audi R8 LMS was on display alongside, demonstrating the strong ties between Audi's road and racing development. In fact, nearly 50% of the parts are shared between the two machines, with the Spyder boasting 540-hp and hitting 60mph in 3.6 seconds. 
“It's always exciting to be part of an event like this,” stated Magnus Racing team owner and co-driver John Potter. “We're very proud of our success at Daytona, and it's an honor for everyone at Audi to see the value in their motorsport heritage. The new Spyder seems like a really cool car, and considering how much it has in common with our machine, I'm sure it will be an amazing experience on the road.”


Magnus Racing Takes Dramatic Third at Sebring

SEBRING, Florida (March 21, 2016)- Following their victory at the season-opening round of the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, Magnus Racing continued a strong 2016 with a third-place finish during Saturday’s Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring. With their successive podiums, the team has also retained their lead in both the WeatherTech  Championship’s point standings, as well as Tequila Patrón North American Endurance Championship.
“This year will definitely be one of the more memorable events,” stated Magnus Racing team owner and co-driver John Potter. “We say this after every event, but today’s podium was an absolute team effort, it’s incredible how many ups and downs we had. I feel bad for causing a penalty early in the race, but fortunately a caution came right after to nullify it all. Another trophy from Sebring is as great of a result as we could have asked for, and a great statement on our championship ambitions.”
Taking starting duties for the 64th running of the event, John Potter would take the green flag in the No. 44 Audi Tire Center Audi R8 LMS with consistency at the forefront of his approach, knowing a clean car would be critical for a strong race. Doing just that, the Salt Lake City resident would manage strong times, effectively running his own race with zero mistakes.

With the car running low on fuel, Potter began to duck in to the pits for his first stop, however as he did an on-track incident would bring out a yellow flag, with the series placing the pits under a “closed” condition. This would mean the team would be penalized if Potter proceeded with a pit stop, forcing John to react and pull out of pit entry and rejoin the field.
Unfortunately, the car was so low on fuel that the team was at a major risk of running out of fuel, meaning they would come in one lap later, under a closed pit, for an “emergency” stop for a splash of fuel. This would both force them to the back of the field and also require the team to make their “full” pit stop a lap after everyone else. This would result in the team’s first full-stop occurring as the field went green, meaning John would resume for his second stint well behind the field in front of him. It was an unfortunate series of circumstances caused in no part by team or driver.

Knowing patience would be critical, John simply managed his time for his second stint, once again driving without error and most importantly, never going a lap down. When a timely yellow would come out, it was once again time for pit stops, with the Magnus team performing flawless as usual. Unfortunately, fate would intervene one more time as Potter exited the pits.
If the field is coming back through the main straightaway, the series will often “close” pit exit, meaning a red light is displayed just as the pits end, forcing all competitors in pit-lane to stop until the light goes green. Unfortunately, in the chaos of a yellow-flag pit stop, Potter neglected to see the red light and the No. 44 blew right past, meaning they’d be penalized for a “stop and hold” once the field went green. In a nine-year career between GRAND-AM and IMSA competition, this would actually be the first-ever penalty for Potter. Serving their penalty, Potter was now one lap down, but with under 10 hours to go, plenty of time to gain ground.
That’s when the rain came.
 While the “12 Hour” is notorious for its spring break atmosphere, the off-and-on possibility for rain had been a major talking point before the race began, and it finally began to deliver mid-way through the third hour. Starting with a casual drizzle, the majority of the field elected to stay out on slick tires, but as the rain picked up, it was clear the team had to bring the Audi in for rain tires, something which Potter has earned a reputation for being pretty skilled on. Resuming the field, John did an excellent job of mastering the wet conditions, with a late yellow negating his earlier penalty and putting the car back where it would have been had there been no penalty at all. A few minutes later, the entire race was stopped due to lightning in the area.

From there, the race would be stopped for two hours and 15 minutes, with Potter’s minimum drive time having elapsed due to his triple-stint. This would mean that once the race did resume, the car could be handed over to drivers Andy Lally and Marco Seefried, which is exactly what happened.
With the race resuming at 4:08PM, it was now up to Lally in extremely wet conditions to make up as much ground as he could, and he delivered perfectly. Fighting his way through the field in tricky conditions, the Long Island native would eventually unlap his car on pace alone, showing the strength of both driver and car as his stint proceeded.
With the car back on the lead lap, it was now time to hand hand the car over to Marco Seefried as the team saved Andy for the end. Continuing the team’s rise, Seefried drove through the drying conditions to slowly work his way up through the field. Eventually finding his way in to the top-10, the German continued his ascension, eventually being put in for a second and then a third stint. As the race continued, it was clear the team had a place in the top-five, and Seefried would even lead as pit stops cycled through.
With just under two hours to go, it was now time to hand the car back over to Andy Lally, with a possibility of victory in site. Unfortunately, a costly error during the handover pit-stop would put the team several seconds down, with Lally still in the front pack, however well behind in his pursuit of victory. Caught in an amazing multi-car fight, Andy did an impressive job of mixing it up with the field in front of him, eventually making his way in to the top-three before the team’s final stop.

With a flawless final stop, the team would find itself in the top-five once stops cycled through, with a mix of quick pit stops and off-sequence strategies setting the stage for an exciting finish.
With two series of caution periods in the final hour, it became clear that everyone in front of the No. 44 would have enough fuel to make it to the finish, with the job on Lally to make his way to the front.
Making a strong pass to fourth, a nail-biting last 15 minutes would prove incredible, with the No. 96 BMW, No. 23 Porsche, and Magnus No. 44 in a fight for second, third and fourth. With the Audi proving strong under braking and mid-corner pace, Lally found it difficult to catch his competitors on outright straight-line speed, working hard to get himself in to a podium position, but simply unable to make it work as the laps counted down.
As the white flag waved, Lally would pick his moment with the No. 23 Porsche, making a daring maneuver in the final corner, Turn 17, to dive inside and out accelerate him to barely take third at the finish line.
“I knew it would be tough to make a move where he couldn’t get me back at the next corner,” stated Lally. “The only way it was going to work was in the last turn, and thankfully it did. I couldn’t be happier for everyone at Magnus. Two podiums in two races is an excellent way to start the year, I’m thrilled for where we’re at right now. John did a great job in trying conditions to keep us in contention, and Marco was absolutely amazing. I’m really happy with the week, and with the sprint-race season beginning I’m looking forward to seeing how things develop.”
For Marco Seefried, a similar exuberance is shared.
“The team was fantastic as usual, it’s great to have another trophy from Sebring,” stated Seefried. “It was such a crazy first few hours that I don’t think any of us knew where the race was headed, but the crew did a great job with the pit stops and strategy to keep us in contention, and Andy and John did their parts to get us there. I’m looking forward to the next event, it is a great honor to drive with this team.”
With the second of four endurance races now behind, the team will turn their attention to the first “sprint” race of the year, the Continental Tire Monterey Grand Prix powered by Mazda, taking place at the famed Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca. Practice begins onFriday, April 29, with the race taking place on Sunday, May 1.


Magnus Racing Prepares for Next Challenge at Sebring

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah (March 15, 2016)- Seven weeks after their nail-biting victory at The Rolex 24 Hours at Daytona, Magnus Racing will head to this weekend’s 64th Annual Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring in pursuit of yet another victory. Serving as the second round of the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship as well as Tequila Patrón North American Endurance Championship, the team is as prepared as ever for the historic event. 

“We obviously have a lot of momentum coming in to this event, and the team is well prepared,” stated team owner and co-driver John Potter. “After Daytona, Sebring is of course the other huge historical event to conquer, and we’ve already had that feeling once. We’re all eager to repeat, and while we certainly savored our moment at Daytona, everyone’s been very focused on this weekend. Based on testing we believe we have a pretty solid package, prepared team, and the exact same lineup that won in 2014, so we’re quietly pretty confident. It’s been great to have a few weeks off, but we’re definitely excited to get back to racing.”

In addition to their two victories at Daytona, Magnus Racing also comes to Sebring as a prior winner, having taken a shock victory in 2014 when a combination of speed and strategy would get them to the front for the closing laps. Having spent the team’s entire history with another manufacturer prior to 2016, this will also mark the team’s first visit with the formidable No. 44 Audi Tire Center Audi R8 LMS. 

Serving as an airbase during WWII, the long and bumpy surface makes for one of the most unique visits on the calendar, with many features of the 3.74-mile course remaining unchanged in the track’s 64-year history. With the bumps and surface changes creating what is arguably the toughest challenge on both driver and equipment throughout the season, the team has actually used the course for pre-season testing as well as during the series’ annual open test, meaning they’ll arrive on the week with plenty of experience to draw from despite making their Audi debut.

Joining full-season drivers John Potter and Andy Lally will be Marco Seefried, who made his debut with Magnus Racing at this very event in 2014, in which they won. With the the trio now running their third time together at Sebring, the team’s stability should serve as a major strength.

“It’s great to return to Magnus Racing once again,” stated Seefried. “Obviously the team’s results speak for themselves, we’ve now shared two victories and five podiums together, so I’d say we all work well as a group. Sebring is such a special track, unlike anything in the world, and I think we have a good opportunity to do well. Our tests were all positive, but of course you never know what to expect, so I’m looking forward to the challenge.”

Finally, Andy Lally looks forward to the pursuit of his second victory at the famed event.

“There is no event in the world like Sebring, it’s unlike anything in the world,” stated Lally. “The guys at Magnus have not slowed down since Daytona, and we’re hoping this will show well for us at Sebring. There’s no reason to think we can’t do really well here, but it’s an incredibly tight field. During last month’s test it was clear there are going to be a number of good cars, so it will be interesting to see how it all unfolds.”

Official practice for the event takes place this Thursday, March 17, with the race beginning at 10:40AM on Saturday, March 19 and ending 12 hours later. Broadcast coverage within the US will run as follows:

10:30AM ET: Fox Sports 1

12:00PM ET: Fox Sports 2

7:00PM ET:

10:00PM ET: Fox Sports 2