Lexington, Ohio (June 10, 2012)- Continuing the team’s impressive form of completing every lap of the 2012 GRAND-AM Rolex Sports Car Season, Magnus Racing took fifth place during yesterday’s EMCO Gears Classic at the historic Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course.
Known for its twisty series of corners complimented by multiple elevation changes, the 2.2 mile, 13-turn road course was always a circuit that Porsche teams feared might be difficult for the rear-engined vehicle. With tire management at a premium this year, the inevitable balance between preserving the Continental tires and outright speed is always a difficult one, and yesterday’s race proved no exception. Having finished in the top-seven in all six rounds of the championship, Magnus Racing can at least take some solace that they were the top finishing Porsche, something that has proven true in four of the series’ six rounds.
"It's nice to be top Porsche, but a lot of the point leaders finished ahead of us,” stated co-driver Andy Lally. “At a track like Mid-Ohio, it was tough to do any more than we could do. The guys did a great job putting together a fast car, we just need to capitalize at some of the upcoming tracks that will favor us."
Qualifying again in the top-10, Team Owner and Co-Driver John Potter was off to a solid start during the race, getting through a chaotic first lap to keep the car in one piece. While the famed Mid-Ohio circuit is historically known for continuous caution periods, surprisingly Potter’s run was completely caution-free, putting the Salt Lake City-based driver in a position to knock off a series of impressive laps as he maintained pace with the lead pack.
When the time came to pit, Potter’s work was well rewarded with a quick stop, putting Andy Lally in the car and well within sight of the leaders.
Driving an impressive middle stint, Georgia-based Lally was flying during the middle portion of the race. Having a particular flare for the circuit, Lally made continuous work of the field in front of him, and had the car up to second place as the race headed to near mid-distance, just in time for a caution to come out. With the car about halfway through the fuel cycle, Team Engineer Lars Giersing made a crucial call to bring Lally in for fuel and tires in order to play it safe. The no. 44 Porsche GT3 Cup would lose track position, but be in a strong position to capitalize on running less conservative with fuel and tires.
Proving that once again the Magnus crew had put together a quick car, Lally was immediately off to a flying pace once the green flag waved, now all the team had to do was wait and see how the off-setting pit strategies would unfold.
Unfortunately, with just outside of an hour to go in the race, the entire nature of the race for Magnus changed when Lally sensed a strange vibration out of the right rear of the car.
“I started to hear a funny noise while cornering. In my experience, this was the noise of a corded or delaminating tire,” stated Lally.
With the car just being outside of the fuel window to comfortably make it to the end, Lally was asked to gently hold on for a few more laps, which he did without incident. Bringing the car in on the outer edge of their pit stop window, the team re-fueled and changed all four tires, and Lally was off to finish the race. The team is investigating an internal problem on the tire.
Forced to stretch both the tire life and fuel mileage for an extraordinarily long run to the finish as a result, Lally resumed at an extremely conservative pace, with both team and driver left to just sit and wait. Once the final set of pit stops shook out, Lally would settle in to the top-seven, eventually making some impressive on-track passes to finish fifth.
Overall, everyone is pleased with a top-five and Porsche honors, but in an ultra-tight GT Championship everyone is definitely in search of even stronger results. Magnus Racing currently retains third in the championship.
"I guess we finished 'best in class,' so we do take some satisfaction in that,” stated John Potter. “Everyone did a great job all weekend to get us as far up the charts as we could. The GT field is extremely competitive this year, and having five different manufacturers win in the first six races demonstrates that."
Magnus Racing and the entire GRAND-AM Series will take a one-week break, and return in two weeks' time to the famed Road America circuit in Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin, a track which could definitely hold strong potential for Porsche. Official practice begins Thursday, June 21, with the race taking place on Saturday, June 21 featuring LIVE coverage SPEED on Saturday, June 23 at 12PM ET.
Magnus Racing would also like to thank Russel Smith and Kinetic Motorsports for making good on their bet, unlike their filthy Swedish driver. Picture attached.
Magnus Racing will continue to provide updates and coverage throughout the week via their Facebook (facebook.com/RacingMagnus) and Twitter (@MagnusRacing), as well as via www.magnusracing.com. You can also follow Andy Lally on Twitter (@AndyLally).
More information about Magnus Racing can be found at www.magnusracing.com. Any organization interested in learning more about how to be involved with one of the most unique and visible teams in sports car racing can e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. All press inquiries can be directed to email@example.com.