Detroit, MI (June 3, 2012)-On a day that featured numerous cautions courtesy of the bumpy and unforgiving nature of the Belle Isle street course in Detroit, Michigan, Magnus Racing took their fifth consecutive top-10 in the GRAND-AM Rolex Sports Car GT championship. Taking a very quiet sixth place during this weekend’s Chevrolet GRAND-AM Detroit 200, the team maintains fourth place in a very tight GT championship.
As a 14-turn, 2.1 mile circuit carved out of the public roads located in Detroit’s scenic Belle Isle park, the twisty nature of the course was always going to be a question mark for the Magnus Racing no. 44 Porsche GT3 Cup. With handling and tire management coming at a premium, the lighter, purpose-built “prep two” cars such as the Mazda RX-8 or Chevrolet Camaro were expected to have an advantage. Knowing that caution periods and incidents would be the dominant feature of the race, the driving duo of John Potter and Andy Lally knew a cautious approach would be the right one.
“The car really slides around a lot at this track since it’s built over bumpy public roads,” stated Andy Lally. “The heavier the car, the more you slide, which burns up the tires quite a bit, so our best strategy was to stay out of incidents and see where attrition took us.”
With their first, and only, day of practice occurring the day before, the entire GRAND-AM paddock was greeted to a morning and afternoon of rain-soaked practice. This would prove difficult to get proper practice time on the track. In fact, the first opportunity anyone would have to drive on a truly dry circuit occurred during qualifying, where John Potter drove a solid session to put the car in a top-10 starting position.
"It was actually a very neat experience because none of us had really experienced the track in the dry until qualifying,” stated Potter.
With the green flag dropping on a dry track Saturday afternoon, the race was on in a very tight field. With Potter maintaining his position and never putting a wheel wrong, a timely caution just past the 30-minute mark would create an opportunity for Potter to hand the car to Lally to finish the 2-hour race.
With Lally now behind the wheel, the stage was set for a mixture of on-track action combined with conserving tires as well as fuel strategy. Making work of a few cars in front of him, a series of on-going cautions meant Lally would come in for one more quick fuel stop slightly past the halfway point, allowing the 44 car to run safely to the finish with no worries on fuel. As the race would unfold, continued accidents would be the theme of the day, with Lally driving hard in a nose-to-tail lineup of GT cars. Finding it difficult to pass without taking significant risk, Lally would eventually settle in for sixth behind Bill Auberlin’s no. 94 Turner Motorsports BMW, taking some solace that the team would finish as the top Porsche entrant.
"We walked away with solid points, so we're happy with that,” stated Lally. “To do well at a track like this, the Porsche would definitely need a few rule changes to be able to walk away with top finish, but at least we were the top Porsche. It was a great scrap with the guys we were racing with, and a really stacked field of talented drivers, so we'll take it."
"This is definitely a very interesting track to race on,” continued John Potter. “Overall I'd say we're content with sixth. The guys did a great job and made great calls on the car, but it's just really difficult to pass here. We definitely take satisfaction as the top finishing Porsche, we just wish that was a higher finish!"
The Magnus Racing no. 44 will continue on in just six days with the EMCO Gears Classic, taking place at the famed Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course in Lexington, Ohio. Official practice begins this Friday, June 8, with the Saturday race being featured on SPEED on Saturday, June 9, at 4:30 PM ET.
FOR THOSE IN THE OHIO AREA, MAGNUS RACING WILL ONCE AGAIN OFFER FREE TEAM TOURS AT12PM ON FRIDAY, AND 2PM ON SATURDAY.
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 email@example.com. All press inquiries can be directed to firstname.lastname@example.org.