GM Racing

Magnussen Sets GT1 Record in Pole-Winning Run at Laguna Seca

Magnussen Wins Pole for Second Straight Year in ALMS Season Finale

MONTEREY, Calif. - Jan Magnussen made an enduring mark in the record book in qualifying today at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca. On a track that Magnussen describes as "my favorite circuit in the world," the Danish driver eclipsed the record he set last year with a fast lap at 1:19.291 (101.611 mph) that put his No. 3 Compuware Corvette C6.R on the GT1 pole for Saturday's Monterey Sports Car Championships. With the championship-winning Corvette C6.Rs making their final appearance at Laguna Seca in the GT1 division, Magnussen's mark will likely stand for many years.

"I pushed really, really hard - and it was our best lap ever!" Magnussen exclaimed. "My fast lap came early in my qualifying run, so I could afford to gamble a little and go for it. If it didn't work out, I knew I could have another go."

Magnussen turned his quick time on the second of his four flying laps, while Gavin posted his best time on his third circuit of the 2.238-mile course on California's central coast.

"I didn't have any traffic, and not too many guys had been over the curbs, so there wasn't a lot of dust dragged onto the track," Magnussen explained. "Then on my last lap I had a huge moment. A GT2 car had gone straight through the Corkscrew and dragged a lot of dirt onto the track. My crew chief called me on the radio and told me to keep the car straight - and when I drove through the dirt, I went completely sideways one way and then completely sideways the other way."

Magnussen's quick early pace put Gavin in the position of playing catch-up. "It was a case of not getting a quicker time in the first timed lap, but Jan managed to do that," Gavin said. "I would have thought the tire pressures would come up a little more gradually, but Jan got on it straight away. Then when I was ready to go, I got caught up in a lot of traffic as often seems to happen in the GT qualifying session. By the time I'd got myself out of that, I'd missed my opportunity."

"You always want to be on pole, but it's a long race and we're ready to take the fight to the other car," Gavin noted. "It's great to race here. I love the track and it's a great facility, so it's a fitting place to finish the season."

A victory by Magnussen and his teammate Johnny O'Connell would be their ninth win in 2008, tying the ALMS record for most wins in a season.

"I feel very optimistic," said Magnussen. "This is my favorite circuit in the world, and I'd love for Johnny and me to finish off with a win tomorrow. If we don't, it's still been a great year."

The four-hour ALMS race, the headline event of the Monterey Sports Car Championships, is scheduled to start at 2:45 p.m. on Saturday, October 18. NBC will televise the race tape-delayed from 2 to 4 p.m. EDT on Sunday, October 19.

Monterey Sports Car Championships GT1 Qualifying:
Pos./Drivers/Car/Time/Speed
1. O'Connell/Magnussen, Chevrolet Corvette C6.R, 1:19.291/101.611 mph
2. Gavin/Beretta, Chevrolet Corvette C6.R, 1:19.790/100.975 mph

Release Date: October 17, 2008