SALT LAKE CITY, Utah (March 8, 2017)- Following the recent announcement of Magnus Racing’s switch to the Pirelli World Challenge series after seven years of endurance racing, the team’s two-car effort will make their series debut at this weekend’s Grand Prix of St. Petersburg. With the series’ unique sprint format featuring two 50-minute races, the debut event around the temporary circuit built on the city streets of downtown St. Petersburg, Florida, promises to be an exciting one.
“We’re all very eager to finally get our season going,” stated Magnus Racing team owner and driver John Potter. “It goes without saying this is a big shift for our team, but there are a lot exciting elements to the championship. The series’ sprint racing format means that you have 50 minutes, including caution periods, to maximize your position, so you can’t hesitate at all. It’s the first time in a very long time that I haven’t had to worry about handing over a ‘clean’ car to a co-driver, so I’m excited to just push hard for the whole race. Of course with Pierre Kaffer in our second car we’re also aiming for overall wins, which is something totally new for us since in the past we’ve always had to compete with other classes. None of us have ever been to this track before, and as a temporary course there are walls all around us, so the penalty for making a mistake is very high, but that’s what makes this series very exciting.”
Driving the No. 44 Audi Tire Center Audi R8 LMS, John Potter will enter the series’ GTA category for the first-time in his career. With a resúmé that includes two victories at the Rolex 24 at Daytona, a win at the 12 Hours of Sebring, and a total of seven IMSA-sanctioned victories, the Utah resident’s first professional sprint race will present a new focus. Not only will Potter have 50-minutes to maximize his position, but he will do this at a temporary street course that he’s never visited before, meaning tomorrow’s two practice sessions will be his first and only opportunities to practice before Friday’s qualifying session.
In addition, Pierre Kaffer will make both his team and series debut in the team’s No. 4 entry. Competing in the GT category for overall victory, the Audi Sport factory driver faces some stiff competition against a number of factory drivers from marques including Porsche, Ferrari, Acura, Cadillac and McLaren, which promises to create some thrilling competition at the front of the field. No stranger to success, Kaffer also joins the team with a multitude of endurance accolades, including an overall victory at the 12 Hours of Sebring, and multiple GT class titles including the 24 Hours of Le Mans, American Le Mans Series, and beyond.
While Kaffer has also never competed on the streets of St. Petersburg nor the Pirelli World Challenge series, the opportunity is one he looks forward to.
“It’s great to finally begin our season,” stated Kaffer. “The sprint format of the Pirelli World Challenge should be very exciting for the fans, and for the drivers it’s great to just be able to push flat out the whole time. I was very impressed with the team during our pre-season testing, Magnus Racing is very fun but very professional. St. Petersburg definitely makes for an interesting event to debut at since we’ve never been there, but I’m confident in the team and of course our Audi R8 LMS that we can have a competitive weekend.”
Official practice begins tomorrow, March 9, with the first of two races taking place on Saturday, March 11, followed by the second race on Sunday, March 12. Saturday’s race will begin at 9:30AM ET, and Sunday’s race at 3:00PM ET. All Pirelli World Challenge races are all streamed live at www.world-challenge.com/streamvideo/