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Magnus Racing Closes 2016 Season with Tequila Patrón North American Endurance Championship Title

BRASELTON, Georgia (October 3, 2016)- Closing out a season that included victories at The Rolex 24 at Daytona as well as Lime Rock Park, four podiums, and strong performances at nearly every race, Magnus Racing beat the rest of the field to the finish line during Saturday’s Petit Le Mans at Road Atlanta, with the team having clinched the 2016 Tequila Patrón North American Endurance Championship (TPNAEC) in the process. This would serve as the team’s second championship, having clinched the inaugural title in 2012. 

“To win as a team puts an excellent stamp on a tremendous year,” stated Magnus Racing team owner and co-driver John Potter. “We took a very specific approach to this race, with all of our attention firmly on maximizing the points at various stages of the TPNAEC. What’s especially satisfying is that endurance racing emphasizes teamwork above all else, so everyone in this organization shares in this. To think that we completed every lap of the endurance season, were first to the checkered flag twice, and all in a car that we’d never had any experience with until December, is incredible. I couldn’t be more proud of everyone on the team, and it’s a great way to close out.” 

Taking starting duties, John Potter would begin the 10-hour classic in much the same form as previous years. Driving the No. 44 Audi Tire Center Audi R8 LMS, the Salt Lake City resident would continue his Petit Le Mans tradition of running one of his best stints of the year, constantly chasing after the field in front of him and making two excellent passes on the BMW’s in front of him.

Handing the car off to endurance teammate Marco Seefried just under the one-hour mark, the German would continue where Potter left off, working hard on the field in front of him with the team keeping a firm eye on the first of three milestone marks in the event.

Unique to the Endurance Championship, teams are not only awarded points for their finishing position, but also at dedicated points throughout the event. In the case of Petit Le Mans, the four-hour and eight-hour marks would play equally critical roles to the finishing position, meaning the team would consider their race strategy in three segments, as opposed to building the entire thought process around the finish.

With Seefried performing an incredible double-stint, the team would find itself in contention for the lead by time they would put season-long co-driver Andy Lally in to close the first segment. With the former Petit Le Mans winner behind the wheel, the team found itself comfortably in first by time the four-hour mark elapsed, giving the team maximum points at the close of the first milestone.

Entering the second segment of the race, hours four-through-eight, the team would focus on a series of double stints between Lally and Seefried to carry them through, with the team consistently leading throughout a see-saw series of pit strategies that would see a variety of leaders cycle through.

Nearing the halfway point, however, the team would face one of its largest obstacles of the day as Lally came out of the pits for his second stint. Following another strong stop by the team, Andy would merge on to the track in to the tricky Turn Two and Three, with cold tires forcing him to slow down more than usual in to the series of corners. Unfortunately, an aggressive GTLM field would be in close pursuit behind him, with the No. 912 Porsche failing to anticipate the Audi’s slower pace and making strong contact with the rear of the car. While the No. 44 would suffer rear damage, the car did not suffer from any significant performance decline, and the team continued on in pursuit of victory. 

As the race continued, a surface breakup in the same area would lead to an extended yellow for track repairs, and the team would elect to swap out Lally back for Seefried to complete the middle portion of the race.


Following an extended yellow, the race action would resume with just over over five hours remaining, and all focus turned to maximizing the team’s position for the second milestone of the race, Hour Eight.

With the GTD field on two separate strategies, it became clear as the race went on that the team would not have enough fuel to make it to Hour Eight on only one additional stop, meanwhile those on an alternative strategy would. Since the team was focused on Hour Eight rather than thinking about the ultimate finish, the team had to consider a splash of fuel somewhere deep in the seventh hour, rather than a full-service pit stop, in the hopes of exiting the pits in the top-three. It had the potential to have a negative effect on the team’s ultimate finish due to forcing a pit stop later in the race, however in the interest of maximizing “Hour Eight” points it seemed to be a sensible call.

Proving true, Seefried would pit for fuel and tires with just minutes to go before the Hour Eight mark, and he would re-join the race with enough to points to clinch the team’s championship position for the TPNAEC.

With the championship over, and under two hours remaining, all attention would turn to the race finish with Andy Lally owning final driving duties in pursuit of the No. 33 Viper GT3.R.

For the next 110 minutes, both Andy and Viper driver Jeroen Bleekemolen would engage in one of the most incredible races of the season, with the two pushing each other hard, but clean, all the way to the end. While Lally’s Audi would catch the Viper under braking and in the turns, the immense straight-line speed of the Viper would prove nearly impossible to catch, with Andy spending much of the final laps giving chase and trying to consider his options to finish in first.

Following the final series of pit stops, the two would resume in to the closing stages of the race, with Bleekemolen seemingly having the upper hand as the race came in to its final laps.

Suddenly, with three laps remaining, a rare mistake from Bleekemolen would send him wide exiting the notorious Turn Five, forcing the Viper in to the dirt and giving Lally just enough of an opportunity to run alongside him and make a diving move for the lead. Andy would just barely manage the pass, crossing the finish line in first with two laps to go and spending his remaining laps in defense of the position, ultimately seeing the checkered flag in front of the Viper.

“This was a great race that I’ll remember for a long time,” stated Lally. “Jeroen is one of those guys that you enjoy racing because he’s respectful and clean, and for both of us it felt like qualifying laps for two hours straight. We all really wanted this championship bad, so to walk away with our second one in team history is a great ending. This might have been the strongest year we’ve ever had with the team. Obviously we had a few very specific challenges this year that ultimately hurt our championship, but we should be proud of what we accomplished. It’s an excellent group that gave me a great car in every race.”

For Marco Seefried, a similar sentiment is shared.

“As always, this was a great weekend with everyone at Magnus,” stated Seefried. “I’m honored to have been a part of another season with them, and glad I was able to do my part towards their championship. Who knows what the future may hold, but it was a true joy.”

With the season at a close, the team will issue further updates on their future in due time.
















Oh yeah, the team was actually not given credit for the race win due to a minimum drive-time failure. Unfortunately, a miscommunication with the team and series officials led to a strategic error, resulting in the team being put to the back of the running order. They were still given credit for winning the Tequila Patrón North American Endurance Champion



SALT LAKE CITY, Utah (September 29, 2016)- Despite the frustrations of recent rounds amid what had otherwise been a fantastic season, the team at Magnus Racing (MR) will head to this weekend’s Petit Le Mans (PLM) at the famed Road Atlanta (RA) circuit looking to close out their season with a win. Having competed at the famed endurance race beginning in 2010, a win at “Petit” would complete an amazing record of endurance success that has included victories at Daytona and Sebring.

“With the season we’ve had, we really want to end with a victory,” stated team owner and co-driver John Potter. “When we look at our endurance racing record as a team, it’s been incredible. Two wins at Daytona, a win at Sebring, four consecutive years of taking the podium at Watkins Glen, adding to the tally with winning Petit Le Mans would be a great piece to add. Beyond personal ambition, I’d really like to bring home a win for this team who’ve worked incredibly hard for this. It’s been a non-stop season for everyone involved, and considering the setbacks we had in August, there’s no doubt this is how we want to end it. Having Marco return will help our cause a lot, it goes without saying that his success rate with us has been remarkable.”

Joining the No. 44 Audi Tire Center Audi R8 LMS for the 10-hour classic, Marco Seefried will return to the team for his third race of the season, previously participating at The Rolex 24 at Daytona (D24) and Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring (S12H). Joining the team for the eighth time in his career, Marco has had an incredible history with Magnus Racing, not only taking victories at Daytona and Sebring, but podium finishes in all but one event. 

“It’s great to be with Magnus Racing once again,” stated Seefried. “The team is incredible with their commitment to preparation and performance. I think we all want to close out with a win, and I’m very dedicated to doing my part.” 

Additionally, the team is also entering the finale in strong contention of the highly touted IMSA Tequila Patrón North American Endurance Championship (TPNAEC). Just one point out of the lead of the all-endurace-race championship, the team will head in to the finale sitting second, with the top-five cars all separated by five points. 

For Andy Lally, closing out 2016 with victory will put a stamp on a strong run.

“We all want to win this,” stated Lally. “We have some of the best guys in the paddock. The team has been virtually faultless all year, so I’m confident in what we can achieve, but at a place like Road Atlanta you never know what to expect. We all want to close this out on top, and we absolutely have the team and car to do it.” 

Official practice begins this Thursday, September 29, with the race taking place on Saturday, October 1. Live coverage can be found on a variety of sources, see the full list below.



11:00AM – 12:00PM EDT: Fox Sports 1

2:30PM – 6:00PM EDT: Fox Sports 2



Full Race (11:00AM-9:30PM EDT): FOX Sports Go App

Full Race (11:00AM-9:30PM EDT):


Magnus Racing Takes Fourth in Texas

AUSTIN, Texas (September 20, 2016)- Following a quiet race that was most noted for its late-race battles, Magnus Racing drivers John Potter and Andy Lally would fight hard to take fourth during Saturday’s Lone Star Le Mans at the famed Circuit of the Americas. With both drivers doing an excellent job to work their way up the field throughout the two-hour, forty-minute event, the team will head to the series finale within sight of a top-three finish in the championship.

“This was another great day showing the team’s resolve, as the weekend was extremely smooth for all involved,” stated Magnus Racing team owner John Potter. “We’ve been in championship form all year, and it’s a shame that circumstances have prevented the potential, as a fourth today is exactly the kind of result that proved our continued consistency. I’m really happy with how everyone performed on the team, as no one has lost any sense of focus or drive, and it showed on a weekend like this.”

Starting the No. 44 Audi Tire Center Audi R8 LMS just outside of the top-10, John Potter’s strong form would continue during the opening stint of Saturday’s race, taking the opening laps with a great combination of patience and speed, ultimately settling in to a number of on-track battles that would move him up the field. Running some of his fastest lap times of the weekend, Potter would bring the car inside of the top-10 as they approached their first round of pit stops, handing the car over to teammate Andy Lally for the remaining two hours. 

With Lally in the car, all focus would turn to making the most out of the day, beginning a march that saw him grab position after position as the mid-race wore on.

By time the final round of pit stops were over, the New York native would find himself in sixth, giving chase to the No. 73 Porsche of Joerg Bergmeister. Previously, at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park, the duo had engaged in a similar battle that would see Lally spin from contact, and ultimately crash out of the race, giving the team much to consider as they watched the laps continue on. 

With the Audi showing strength under braking and mid-corner, and the Porsche showing strength under acceleration, the battle between Lally and Bergmeister would prove intense, with Lally often climbing right on to the back of the Porsche but unable to pass due to the Porsche’s straight-line advantage. With the pursuit continuing lap after lap, the intensity would ramp up in the closing minutes, with the two making light contact, and Andy eventually able to pass by taking advantage of a defensive maneuver by the No. 73.

Settled in to what seemed like a fifth place finish, a late-race issue for the second-place No. 23 Porsche would add to the team’s success, with Lally advancing one position on the final lap to fourth. 

It would prove a solid round to end the team’s “sprint season,” and a great omen headed in to the series finale at Petit Le Mans.

“Of course on a weekend where you have nothing to lose, you always want to risk it all and go for it,” stated Lally. “Obviously we would have loved to fight for the win, but this just wasn’t on the cards for us and I think think taking fourth was actually a great testament to everyone on the team. I couldn’t be more proud of everyone here, and we’ll definitely head to Petit Le Mans very focused.”

With only one more round of competition left in the championship, the team will be ready for the season-ending Petit Le Mans, where the team will bring three drivers to the 10-hour classic. Still with a fighting chance at taking the Tequila Patrón North American Endurance Championship, and with hopes of a top-three in their season long efforts, the team’s determination has never been stronger. Practice will begin on Thursday, September 29, with the 10-hour event occurring on Saturday, October 1. Further details will be revealed shortly.


Magnus Racing Excited for Five Hours, Twenty Minutes of COTA

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah (September 14, 2016)- With the penultimate round of the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship taking place at this weekend’s Lone Star Le Mans, held at the famed Circuit of the Americas (COTA) in Austin, Texas, Magnus Racing couldn’t be more excited for 160 minutes of racing followed by another 160 minutes of sweating and nail-biting during post-race technical inspection.

“The first half of these races are incredibly fun,” stated Magnus Racing team owner and co-driver John Potter. “For the first 160 minutes, we leave it all on the track. It’s about speed, patience, strategy, teamwork, all the elements required to win. For the following 160 minutes, you hope that you didn’t actually leave it all on the track. It’s like the worlds longest slow-moving crash, you hope you can avoid it but at a certain point you just know it’s not in your hands. What makes it even harder is that most restaurants close at 8PM on a Sunday, thankfully this weekend’s race is on a Saturday.”

Following the most recent round at VIRginia International Raceway where the team took third during the first 160 minutes of racing, and then had the result altered 160 minutes later, the team is looking forward to laughing it off and moving on with the business at-hand, racing the No. 44 Audi Tire Center Audi R8 LMS. With the team effectively out of contention now for the WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, all focus now turns to race wins and development for the season finale, where the team is still in contention for the North American Endurance Championship.

For co-driver Andy Lally, an opportunity to race no-holds-barred for the win is an exciting one.

“As disappointed as we all are after VIR, the positive is that we’re coming in to this weekend just to race,” stated Andy Lally. “I’m always thinking about championships when I drive, so to just be allowed to go full-tilt will be a lot of fun. This is a team that always wants to win so we’re excited about that, but of course we’re really looking toward to the Endurance Championship in two weeks, so we’re focused on that.”

Practice begins this tomorrow, September 15, with race-day action taking place on Saturday, September 17 at 12:30PM ET. Live coverage will be available on FOX Sports 2.


REACTION: Magnus Racing Takes Third at VIR, Then Excluded by Series

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah (August 31, 2016)- Following a hard-fought race that saw the team advance seven positions during a nearly “all green” race, Magnus Racing’s recent third-place finish at the Michelin GT Challenge, the ninth round of the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, has been completely excluded at the discretion of series officials due to a ride height infraction.

This is a highly contested point by the team, as they were able to clearly demonstrate on-track incidents led to the infraction. The decision has resulted in a significant change in the team’s championship standings, taking them from second place and only eight points out of the lead with two races to go, to mathematically completely out of contention. It is worth noting that the penalty was for one small part of the car failing by just over 1mm, or the thickness of a penny.

Strongly disagreeing with the penalty, resulting punishment, as well as process to get there, the team will continue to honor their 2016 season commitments in IMSA.

“Disappointment is not the right word, I’m flat out shocked with how this whole affair has been treated,” stated Magnus Racing team owner and co-driver John Potter. “We’re the first people to advocate for rules being followed, we have zero history of disqualification, and within IMSA’s own precedent we were able to demonstrate what led to the ride height failure, and yet this is all just being ignored and we’re basically not able to contend for a championship we’ve fought hard for. This isn’t just a decision that takes away a podium, this is a decision that ruins an entire season’s worth of work, over something that is both debatable and with a completely disproportionate punishment. While we do appreciate IMSA’s efforts over the last two days to re-evaluate, we are fundamentally upset with how this has been handled and the inability to do anything about it.”

Starting in 10th, John Potter would take on opening duties for the GT-only race. With a hard charging No. 23 Porsche coming from behind, the two would make contact, twice, exiting Turn One before the race settled in. This contact specifically occurred on the right front of the car and was clearly visible both from outside the car as well as from on-board footage. Despite the damage, Potter continued on, eventually handing the car over to teammate Andy Lally. Lally would proceed on, proving unable to keep pace with the leading No. 48 Lamborghini and No. 9 Audi, but still managing third. It is also worth noting, at one point Lally also would go off road, demonstrating the potential to further the damage to the body work and undercarriage.

With the car in third place, the No. 44 Audi Tire Center Audi R8 LMS would go through the mandatory post-race technical inspection process. While series officials found that the vast majority of the car cleared the minimum ride height, a small area toward the center of the splitter and a foot behind the leading edge, failed by just over 1mm. It is worth repeating, one small area of the car, failed by just over 1mm, and the rest of the car was in complete compliance.

By series definition, the car was deemed in violation of: Article 13.1.2.a of the 2017 GTD Technical Regulations (minimum ride height as referenced in Technical Bulletin #16-37). While the team is not contesting the existence of the failure, the precedent and counter arguments against both the enforcement and resulting penalty are vast.


Infraction Due to Contact

While not written in the rulebook, there is an established historical precedent within the series of accepting on-track incidents as a possible cause for an infraction. Though arbitrary by design, the existence of this kind of exception exists for incidents such as: damage causing parts to fall off leading to minimum weight violations, car damage leading to ride height violations, etc.

Within Magnus and IMSA, there is already a precedent for such an occasion. At the “Lone Star Le Mans” at Circuit of the Americas in 2014, heavy contact with the No. 94 BMW created a similar circumstance to the most recent incident. Damage to the Magnus Porsche led to a partial failure of ride height, however the series waived it due to the visible damage on the car. Beyond Magnus, of course, there are multiple other occurrences of this very standard being set repeatedly with other teams, as acknowledged by most in the paddock. 

As seen from the team’s on-board video, there was a very clear moment of contact between the No. 23 Porsche and No. 44 Audi. The “crunch” is the effect of the right-front bodywork caving in from the contact. As proof, the center of the nose was shifted, as shown to series officials. Therefore, the team’s splitter, which for the Audi R8 LMS is normally a concave structure, was put under undue stress and was likely compressed and warped to the point that the center was likely drooping.

As continued proof, the splitter’s usual concave nature results in the outer-most points of the splitter registering as the lowest, and the center sitting high. Yet on this occasion, the opposite was true, leading to a clear conclusion that an outside influence (such as contact) clearly bent the splitter during the race.

Yet, despite this contention from not only Magnus Racing, but also management at Audi Sport customer racing, who have an intimate knowledge of their machine and agreed with the team’s conclusion, IMSA officials could not be convinced.


The Punishment Does Not Fit the Crime

While the team at Magnus Racing strongly disagrees with the penalty itself, the second major source of frustration is the resulting punishment and implied lack of consistency.

Under race conditions, the team has found no precedent for outright exclusion due to a technical infraction of this nature. Given the debatable nature of the infraction, it’s even more frustrating.

Based on the rulebook, the penalty to the team reads as follows:

Article 56.4: Cars receiving a penalty applied post-Race that alters the finishing position order shall result in all other affected Cars advancing accordingly. Any Car found out of compliance with the RULES may be removed from the results (Exclusion) and other finishers advanced accordingly.

The key term in this is IMSA “may” exclude a team from a race under this condition.

“May” is not clear wording, and in a situation where the difference between third-place points (31) and zero points is the difference of a championship, to enforce the strongest possible penalty is a stretch.

If defining the enforcement is vague and leaves wiggle room, then one must look at previous examples to set the context, which again presents a serious concern.

At the Rolex 24 at Daytona, all Lamborghini Huracán GT3 machines were found to be in violation of Attachment 2, Paragraph 2.9 of IMSA’s rulebook, effectively violating the series’ “sandbagging” rule. This was arguably a blatant violation of series regulations, and could in no way be attributed to “on track” factors the way Magnus Racing’s infraction could.

Yet, despite this, teams were given a five-minute penalty for the infraction, thereby meaning the only “loss” individual teams suffered was any change of position as a result of this penalty. Proportionally, a five-minute penalty in a 24-hour race is equal to a 34-second penalty during a traditional sprint race. The worst case for any of the Lamborghini teams was a loss of five positions. None were outright excluded. 

While series officials would argue the difference was a violation of “sporting code” vs. technical regulation, at a certain point this becomes an issue of semantics vs. a clear examination of looking after the best interest of the competitors. One incident had a clear situation of manipulating the rules for performance enhancement, the other had a questionable infraction, which at most, provided minimal to no performance gain, yet the it’s the latter that received the harshest penalty.

Most recently, during this weekend’s same race at VIR, the championship-leading No. 63 Ferrari was given a penalty for “over-boost,” in which it was detected their turbo-powered engine was producing an excessive amount of pressure from the turbo system. The team was first given a warning, and then given an in-race penalty of a “drive-through,” in which the car was forced to come in to the pits and drive through pit lane at the pit road speed limit. The team dropped back several positions, but was still able to rebound to seventh, and more importantly gain seventh-place points.

While an “in-race” penalty is considered separate from post-race, the spirit of the infraction is similar. The Ferrari was found in violation of a technical item that was beyond its dictated limit, and yet the team was given a penalty that allowed them to finish the race, and more importantly score points.

The other argument provided by series officials is citing past exclusions, however all of these citations were from qualifying infractions. 

The series has excluded cars for ride height violations in qualifying, most recently in the GTD class at Watkins Glen International. Once again, however, Magnus Racing finds this logic flawed.

First, ride height violations under qualifying scenarios are usually harder to debate. In none of these circumstances was there ever any on-track contact. The nature of qualifying typically means cars are distanced from one another.

Second, disqualification from qualifying provides a far less severe penalty. While the team’s time is excluded, they’re still allowed to compete the next day, the only challenge being they start from the back. They still have the potential to race, they still have the potential to win, and most notably they can still score points.

Under race conditions, there has been no known citation for this type of infraction. 

With an outright exclusion effectively treating the event like the team was never there, this in essence serves as the largest penalty in series history. Again, all over 1mm of ride height in a small section of the car, induced by crash damage.

If you consider operational costs and entry fees, “not showing up” acts as a $150,000 penalty when you consider the whole thing. Considering Lamborghini was fined $25,000 for a blatant violation of sporting code, it’s once again a tough item to accept. 

All in all, while Magnus Racing appreciates the competitors, the relationship with Audi Sport customer racing, and of course the fans above all else, the frustration is beyond reproach.