Magnussen to Start on GT1 Pole in Sebring 12-Hour Endurance Race
Magnussen Takes Top Spot on Grid After Qualifying Cancelled
SEBRING, Fla. – Jan Magnussen will start first in the GT1 class for the second straight year in the No. 3 Compuware Corvette C6.R in Saturday’s season-opening American Le Mans Series Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring. During today’s scheduled 25-minute qualifying session for GT cars, Magnussen negotiated the historic 3.7-mile, 17-turn course in 1:56.539, bettering his pole-winning time in last year’s race by .522 seconds. Oliver Gavin also eclipsed last year’s pole-winning time in the No. 4 Compuware Corvette C6.R with a time of 1:56.928.
The qualifying times for the GT categories were subsequently nullified when the following session for the prototypes was red-flagged before the 10-minute minimum for a qualifying session had elapsed. In accordance with the series’ rules, the starting grid for all classes was then determined by practice times recorded during three official sessions.
This decision did not affect the GT1 starting lineup, as Magnussen had turned the quickest lap in practice at 1:56.269 (114.562 mph) and Gavin was second fastest at 1:56.547 (114.289 mph).
“It was a lot warmer during qualifying than it was in the testing and practice that we’ve done this week at Sebring, so my Corvette was a little bit different than what we were used to,” Magnussen said after his two-lap qualifying run. “I had to pass the GT2 Aston, but he was pretty good to me so I don’t think I lost any significant time. The Michelin tires came in great on the first lap, and on the second lap I was just polishing the lap time.”
Magnussen was first in line when the timed qualifying session began, with Gavin fourth behind a pair of GT2 cars on his out-lap. By the time the yellow Corvettes began their timed laps, they were already beginning to catch the back of the queue.
“Traffic is the nature of the game,” said Gavin. “Jan had to pass a car going into the hairpin, and I had to try to pass a car going into Turn 17. It didn’t play out quite so well for us, but congratulations to Jan and the No. 3 Corvette crew.
“Even though qualifying was abandoned, both Compuware Corvettes were under last year’s pole qualifying time, and that shows the hard work that the team has done,” Gavin added. “My qualifying run was the best the car’s been since we arrived, so I’m very happy with its balance.”
The weather forecast for Saturday’s 12-hour endurance contest is predicting temperatures in the high 80s.
“If the prediction for warmer temperatures during the race is accurate, we’ll have to choose our tires wisely, whether we’re running on hard, medium or soft compound Michelins,” Gavin noted. “Corvette Racing has a great deal of experience here, so the engineers and drivers are familiar with how this circuit evolves over 12 hours – but it’s such a long race that you never know what’s going to happen. It’s certain to be a long, hard-fought battle, and we’re ready to go at it.”
Corvette Racing will make its season debut in the opening round of the 11-race ALMS series, the 56th Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring, on Saturday, March 15. The race will start at 10 a.m. ET and will be broadcast live on SPEED, which will begin its coverage at 9:30 a.m.
Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring GT1 Qualifying:
Note: Practice times used to establish starting grid.
1. O’Connell/Magnussen/Fellows, Chevrolet Corvette C6.R, 1:56.269/114.562 mph
2. Gavin/Beretta/Papis, Chevrolet Corvette C6.R, 1:56.547/114.289 mph
3. Borcheller/Ducote/Garcia, Aston Martin DBR9, 2:00.730/110.329 mph
Release Date: March 13, 2008