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Thursday
Mar022017

Pierre Kaffer, Spencer Pumpelly Confirmed for Magnus Racing 2017 GT Effort

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah (March 2, 2017)- Following the recent announcement to enter two cars in the Pirelli World Challenge GT and GTA categories respectively, Magnus Racing is pleased to confirm the addition of Pierre Kaffer for the majority of GT category events during the 2017 season, with Spencer Pumpelly joining as Kaffer’s teammate throughout the series’ SprintX championship. Competing in the No. 4 Audi R8 LMS, both drivers head in to the season with a clear target of overall victories and valuable points toward the Team Championship.

“We couldn’t be happier to have the addition of both Pierre and Spencer to the team,” stated Magnus Racing team owner and driver John Potter. “Pierre Kaffer’s success speaks for itself, and as an Audi Sport provided driver, he clearly has the pace and the talent to compete with the best of them. He’s already proven a good fit with us during testing, and we expect he’ll suit us well going in to the 2017 season. I’ve known Spencer for a while, including briefly driving with him, and know he’ll be a great fit with us for the SprintX races. He’s obviously a proven winner, not to mention has some great experience with Audi machinery, so we’re hoping for good things with the two of them driving together. It’s great to finally kick in to gear with the season beginning next week, we all feel very prepared and ready for St. Petersburg.”

Joining the team for the majority of the 2017 season, Pierre Kaffer comes to Magnus Racing as a proven winner and veteran of sportscar racing worldwide. No stranger to success, the German’s career includes an overall victory at the 12 Hours of Sebring, class victories at the 24 Hours of Le Mans, Petit Le Mans, Sebring, and even a championship in the former American Le Mans Series’ highly competitive GT2 category. Having driven a variety of vehicles in a number of series, including the prestigious DTM championship, the Audi Sport driver joins Magnus as a newcomer to the Pirelli World Challenge and its challenging sprint format. Unfortunately, due to his obligations at the 24 Hours of Nürburgring and 24 Hours of Spa, Kaffer will miss the rounds at Lime Rock in May and Mid-Ohio in July. The team will still be entered in those events with an eye on the Team Championship, with a to-be-named replacement.

For Kaffer, the opportunity to join the most recent team to win with Audi in North America is a welcome one.

“I’m really looking forward to joining Magnus Racing in 2017,” stated Kaffer. “The team has a great reputation for results, and even though it’s their first season of the Pirelli World Challenge I think we all believe we can be competitive. I was able to meet everyone at a recent test, and it’s clearly a great group, and a very comfortable atmosphere. I’m extremely appreciative of the opportunity, and look forward to getting the season started in St. Petersburg.”

Joining Kaffer for the series’ two-driver “SprintX” rounds, Spencer Pumpelly will join the Magnus Racing No. 4 GT entry for the five-race championship. A veteran of American racing, the Georgia resident is one of the most respected drivers in the paddock, having taken two victories at The Rolex 24 at Daytona, countless wins in the IMSA and former GRAND-AM and ALMS ranks, and is the reigning IMSA Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge ST category champion. While new to the team, Pumpelly has worked with a majority of Magnus personnel over the years, including John Potter whom he drove with in 2009 before the current team was formed.

For Spencer, while technically a Magnus newcomer, the feeling within the team is already comfortable.

“I already feel right at home with everyone at Magnus Racing,” stated Pumpelly. “I’ve known almost everyone on the team for a long time, so it’s a very comfortable place to be, and the chemistry is already excellent. The SprintX format is a unique one, as both Pierre and I will be flat out for some very short stints, but it should make for some exciting races. I drove the previous generation Audi for a full season in 2014, so I know what the quality of car and support will be, and with all this in mind we’re definitely optimistic on our chances. Technically my season doesn’t begin until VIR in April, but everyone has been great, including me in all of their plans and testing, so we’re already in great shape. I really appreciate everyone bringing me on, and look forward to what the season brings." 

Magnus Racing’s 2017 season will finally start in one week’s time, with The Pirelli World Challenge taking to the streets of St. Petersburg, Florida, next weekend. Running in conjunction with the Verizon IndyCar Series, official practice begins on Thursday, March 9, with a double-header series of races on Saturday, March 11 and Sunday, March 12. Coverage can be found at world-challenge.com, as well as continuous updates via the team’s Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram feeds.

Thursday
Jan122017

Magnus Racing to Enter Pirelli World Challenge with Full-Season, Two-Car GT Effort in 2017 

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah (January 13, 2016)- After a seven-year history of endurance racing that has included multiple major victories and championships, Magnus Racing will chart a new direction in 2017, operating two full-season entries in the Pirelli World Challenge’s top-tier GT and GTA categories. Continuing their relationship with Audi Sport customer racing, the team will field two Audi R8 LMS machines, driven by team owner John Potter as well as an Audi Sport customer racing-supplied driver to contend in the series’ flagship GT category. 

After an incredible 2016 that saw the team take two victories, including at the famed Rolex 24 at Daytona as part of the team’s Tequila Patrón North American Endurance Championship, the opportunity to enter a new challenge was a welcome one for the team.

“When evaluating our options for 2017, we thought it was a good opportunity to pursue a new challenge,” stated Magnus Racing team owner and driver John Potter. “When I consider that I’ve driven in pro racing for 10 years, I realized that very little of it has been in a sprint format, and the timing seems right to see how we enjoy it. This will be a new era for the team, not only because of the new series, but with the emphasis on sprint racing and solo driving we have to take a whole new approach. Running a two-car team has been an ambition of ours since the beginning, and while we’ve had some experience with two-car programs at The Rolex 24 at Daytona, the unique format of the Pirelli World Challenge provides us an opportunity to really explore this. We really appreciate the friendly and open nature of everyone we’ve met in the Pirelli World Challenge so far, and of course to everyone at Audi for their renewed partnership. Audi Sport customer racing has been incredible so far. Obviously in our very first race together we took victory at the most prestigious race in the country, and that set the course for a partnership that has been beneficial for all of us. We appreciate their willingness to support us in to 2017, and I think together we will provide an incredible program. Creating a program around one of their factory pilots is a unique opportunity and great platform to develop around, and we look forward to being a weekly threat for overall race wins. Of course a personal highlight is having the Utah Motorsport Campus back on the calendar. It’s obviously my home race and we haven’t been able to compete there at a professional level since 2010, so it will be a very welcome return.”

Debuting in the former GRAND-AM Rolex Sports Car Series in 2010, Magnus Racing’s place within the record books has largely been attributed to endurance racing. 

In 2012, the team solidified its place in history by winning the GT class at the 50th Running of the Rolex 24 at Daytona, and has since followed that up with a second victory at The Rolex 24 in 2016, as well as victories at Indianapolis, The Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring, as well as sprint events at Lime Rock Park and Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca, all culminating in two Tequila Patrón North American Endurance Championships.

Becoming a staple of the paddock, the team’s reputation for on-track performance and off-track engagement has been un-matched.

Driving with Porsche from 2012-2014, the team’s performance was demonstrated through not only their four victories during the era, but also serving as the only Porsche team to take victory in their respective classes during that time. In 2016, the same feat was matched with Audi, taking wins at not only The Rolex 24 and Lime Rock Park, but holding the honor of being the lone team to take victory for the marque since 2014.

Off-track the team has been one of the most reputed in the paddock, known for their constant engagement via unique content, including a number of popular videos, live webcasts, and humorous press releases. All of this led to the team becoming one of the most revered in the paddock among fans, winning IMSA’s “Team to Win” Award in 2014, being voted as the most popular team in the series over such fan-favorites as Corvette Racing and beyond.

Looking to 2017, the switch to a full-season of Pirelli World Challenge competition with Audi Sport customer racing provides a renewed approach for the team. No race will be over 60 minutes, placing an emphasis on outright speed to score top results, which is a significant departure from the team’s historic success in longer races. Running a second GT entry with a manufacturer-provided driver should only further the team’s pursuit of victory and championships.

For Pirelli World Challenge President and CEO Greg Gill, the opportunity to bring in a team with the heritage and character of Magnus Racing is a welcome one.

“We are extremely honored to have the team at Magnus Racing join our series for 2017,” stated Gill. “Their success on-track speaks for itself, and coupled with their reputation for fan engagement and off-track fun is something we really enjoy, and we’re confident the team will have a great experience here. The sprint format is something that a lot of teams and drivers grow to enjoy, and I’m confident everyone within the team will enjoy what The Pirelli World Challenge has to offer. With so many great cars and drivers in our series, having another Audi team with the quality and history of Magnus is a great addition, and we look forward to a great season of competition." 

For Tristan Herbert, the Manager of Motorsport and Customer Racing at Audi of America, the continuation of a relationship that started with instant success at Daytona should only become stronger in 2017.

“The strength of Magnus Racing became instantly apparent when we won our first race together, at the biggest event of the year.” stated Herbert. “From there the team has seemed to go from strength to strength, and it’s been impressive to watch how they operate. From Day One we’ve admired the quality and depth of the team, as above all else they come with a strong will to win and that makes for an excellent partnership. The Pirelli World Challenge presents a new opportunity for everyone within the team, and we believe our car should be an excellent contender in that format. We’re well aware of the challenges that a two-car team can create, and we’re prepared to support them as best we can to deliver a winning program.”

Magnus Racing would also like to pay homage to their extremely loyal fan base, who have played an instrumental role in the team’s place within the sport. Through their constant number of at-track and digital initiatives the team has enjoyed a very strong tie to its audience, and hopes to continue that in to the new program.

The Pirelli World Challenge season will officially begin on Saturday, March 10, competing at the Grand Prix of St. Petersburg in St. Petersburg, Florida, an event run in concert with the Verizon IndyCar Series. The team will compete in the “full” championship, which will include the traditional 50-minute sprint races, as well as the newly-introduced 60-minute SprintX format. Additional news, including the team’s GT-category driver, will follow soon. 

 

 

 

Monday
Oct032016

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

Thursday
Sep292016

MR 2 RA 4 WIN @ PLM + TPNAEC + IWTSC 

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.

 

TELEVISION COVERAGE:

11:00AM – 12:00PM EDT: Fox Sports 1

2:30PM – 6:00PM EDT: Fox Sports 2

 

INTERNET COVERAGE: 

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

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

Tuesday
Sep202016

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.

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