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Monday
Mar182019

Strong Run at Sebring Results in Second-Place Finish for Magnus Racing

SEBRING, Fla. (March 18, 2018) – Enjoying one of their strongest performances in recent months, Magnus Racing and the No. 44 Lamborghini Huracán GT3 EVO would close Saturday’s 67th Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring with a second-place finish in the GT-Daytona (GTD) category. Executing strong pit stops and strategy to lead on multiple occasions during Saturday’s round-the-clock campaign, drivers John Potter, Andy Lally and Spencer Pumpelly would manage to take the fight all the way to the closing lap, finishing right behind the class winner.

“Any time you take a podium at Sebring it’s a great result, but we should be especially happy with this weekend,” stated Magnus Racing team owner and co-driver John Potter. “Every part of the effort was on form, which gives us a great step heading in to the rest of the season. Our pace was as good as anyone, the guys made some great calls, and we made the most of our opportunities. Additionally, I’m really appreciative of the support we received through Lamborghini Squadra Corse as well, their involvement in our effort has gone a long way in being instantly competitive. Of course you always want to win but I’m extremely proud of the effort by everyone on the team, it was a great race for us.”

With a series of late night and early morning rain showers greeting the team as they arrived on race morning, the constant precipitation failed to stop as the race began. With the series opting to start under caution due to the weather, John Potter would spend much of his opening laps under pace car speeds, with nearly 40 minutes going by before the race began. 

Once the racing was under way, the treacherous conditions would show as many cars would struggle for grip and run off track, however a patient drive by Potter would show well, advancing several positions as he managed the wet. Opening with a double stint, John would keep the car in contention through the opening two hours, eventually handing over to endurance teammate Spencer Pumpelly, who would continue the team’s charge. 

With the track now dry, Spencer would run in to the team’s one and only setback, as contact from behind would lead to a small bit of damage to the right rear bodywork, which in-turn was rubbing in to the tire and forcing an unscheduled pit stop.

Luckily the damage was only minor, and Spencer would complete his own double stint, eventually handing over to Andy Lally, transitioning to the mid-portion of the race.

As things settled in, Lally would enjoy a quiet stint, followed by John Potter to make his final run, and then Pumpelly, and back to Lally, etc.

As the race headed in to the night, the No. 44 was in strong top-five contention, and with limited caution periods the focus shifted heavily toward fuel mileage and pit strategy, which ultimately played a major role in the day’s success. 

As the race wore on, the ability of Pumpelly and Lally to extend the fuel window with each stint would put the team in a favorable position with three hours remaining, the team now poised to complete their race with only two more pit stops while much of the field looked unlikely to be able to do the same.

As more teams began to stop, the No. 44 would actually lead several times throughout pit cycles, and as the race hit its closing hours, it was clear that the No. 44 and No. 11 Lamborghinis would be the two cars racing for the checkered flag, with victory likely going to whomever could do the best job of managing pace while conserving fuel.

During the final hour, Andy Lally would pressure the race leader for the near entirety of the stint, pushing the car ahead to use up all their fuel in a bid to win on strategy, however it was all not-to-be when an untimely yellow with 12 minutes to go would curtail the effort. By time the race resumed with seven minutes remaining, the leading car no longer had to conserve fuel, and with the GTLM category of cars getting between the two on the restart, Andy was helpless to be able to make a pass. 

“It’s always tough to finish second when you’re right there behind the leader,” stated Lally. “We should still all be extremely happy with the result though, this was a huge weekend for the team. We unloaded for practice with a car that was a real struggle, and to arrive on Saturday with a real shot at winning is a huge testament to the chemistry and effort we have right now. The team is very much getting back to their ways, and we’re in a good spot for the rest of the season.” 

 

 

 

For Chris Ward, Senior Manager of Motorsport for Automobili Lamborghini America, an impressive effort by the team should be celebrated.

“This was a great weekend for our entire organization,” stated Ward. “We put a premium on making sure our programs have all of the resources and information necessary to succeed, and the one-two finish for Lamborghini is the perfect result. Magnus Racing has been impressive in their 2019 effort so far, we’re all incredibly pleased to see them run as well as they have, nearly taking victory in only our second race together.”

With the busy “sprint” season now upon the team, all focus will turn to the next GTD round at the famed Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course, a popular event among the locals. As the first sprint race of the season, Potter and Lally will share driving duties for the two-hour, forty minute round. Practice begins on Friday, May 3, with the race taking place on Sunday, May 5.