Sign Up for Magnus Emails!

« Magnus Racing Completes Quiet Weekend in Canada | Main | Magnus Racing Looking for Elusive First “Six Hour” Win »

Early Contact Maligns Strong Run for Magnus at Watkins Glen

WATKINS GLEN, New York (July 1, 2019) – After showing promise throughout practice and qualifying, a strong run by Magnus Racing and drivers John Potter, Andy Lally and Spencer Pumpelly would suffer an early setback due to unavoidable contact from the series’ prototype category. While the team’s struggles were limited only to bodywork damage, the long straights and high speed corners or the famed Watkins Glen International would mean the team would spend the majority of the event simply managing their pace and making the most of the situation, ultimately finishing seventh.

“It’s unfortunate to have contact like that,” stated team owner and co-driver John Potter. “The early pace from the prototypes was frantic, and they continued to make daring moves around us in the GTD field, and unfortunately that got the better of us. I was sandwiched by two cars in a pretty precarious spot, so when the car on the outside turned down on me I really had nowhere I could go and the contact was inevitable. It’s very unfortunate as this was a race we really wanted, but that’s the nature of it. The team still did a great job making back all of the ground they could, I think seventh was the best we could have asked for with the challenges.”

Following a strong qualifying performance, John Potter’s opening stint for the six-hour classic was off to a stong start. Avoiding first lap chaos in the No. 44 Magnus Racing Lamborghini Huracán GT3 EVO, as the race would settle in his pace would prove one of his strongest yet, running similar times to the lead pack and well on his way to maintaining a healthy gap while finishing his required drive-time.

After a smooth pit stop, Potter would arrive at the 90-minute mark well within distance to the leaders, knowing he simply needed to manage the remainder of his run until it was time to a pit. A few minutes later, a timely caution would arrive, however it was actually contact between Potter and one of the prototypes that would prove the culprit. Exiting the treacherous bus-stop chicane and in to the high speed outer loop, a pair of faster prototypes would opt to split the Utah resident as they approached, with the No. 31 car on the inside and No. 85 on his outside, putting John in a position with nowhere to go. Doing his best to avoid incident, the outside No. 85 would turn down on the Lamborghini, clipping Potter’s left front and sending both toward the outside barriers, with Potter doing a great job to avoid further contact. 

From that point, the No. 44 would slowly head back to the pits, where quick work from the team would do their best to repair the damage, but due to timing had no opportunity to do any detailed work.

With Spencer Pumpelly now in the car, the middle of the race would turn all attention toward regaining their lost lap from the chaos. Doing his best to keep pace, Spencer would actually run right with the race leader, proving the pace of the car, but was unable to safely regain his lap in the process. With a long run of green flags throughout the middle of the race, Spencer would drive a fast but uneventful series of stints, finally handing the car over to Andy Lally for the final two hours.

Still in search of the lead lap, Lally would find himself in a similar position to Pumpelly, finally taking advantage of an opportune yellow with just over one hour remaining. Now on the lead lap, the team would managefuel and examine alternative strategies to jump further up the order, but fate was simply not on the team’s side and Andy would bring the car home in seventh.

While there was disappointment in the result, the overall pace of the car and cohesiveness of the group left a lot of promise for the team.

“There were a lot of positives on the day,” stated Lally. “Our strategy was on point, the car was really good all weekend, John drove incredibly well, and overall the guys are really working in the same direction. We have very good momentum headed in to the second half of the year, and we’re not out of the championship, so we have to keep focus.”

Facing the shortest turnaround of the year, the team now only has a few days to prepare for the sixth round of the IMSA GTD championship, taking place north of the border at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park. Practice begins this Friday, with race action on Sunday, July 7 at 1PM ET on NBCSN.