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Tuesday
Mar092010

Challenging weekend for Magnus Racing at Grand Prix of Miami

March 8, 2010 (Salt Lake City, Utah) – What began as a very promising weekend for the No.44 Magnus Racing Porsche GT3 Cup, with a tenth-place qualifying run at the hands of John Potter for the Rolex Sports Car Series Presented by Crown Royal Cask No.16’s Grand Prix of Miami, turned around very quickly as Craig Stanton made heavy contact with the front straightaway retaining wall during Sunday morning practice. A tire failure at nearly 150mph meant Stanton could do little as the Porsche registered a 7G impact with the concrete wall.

However, the day was not over yet for Magnus Racing. With the car returned via flatbed to the garage, the team got started on the very large task of making the car ready to race for the afternoon. There were several passersby who remarked that it would take a miracle to get the car prepared in time for the 5pm starting time, as well as several who felt that it couldn’t be done.

At 5pm, the repaired car lined up on the pit straightaway just in time for the national anthem on Homestead’s front straightaway. In a few short hours, the team had replaced all of the right side suspension and brake components, the front bumper, splitter, radiator, right front fender, right door, as well as engine and transmission. In short, the team had rebuilt 75% of the car in a time frame when most would feel lucky to replace just one of those items.

“Simply put, they did an unbelievable job,” said Potter, team owner of Magnus Racing. “John Bedell and the rest of the crew have shown each time that when they are under pressure and there is major work that has to be done, they get it done. I couldn’t ask for a better crew.”

The No.44 Porsche took the green flag but nearly immediately there were lingering effects from the morning’s crash. Throughout the first 45 minutes, the car was in and out of the pits making more repairs but by the time that Stanton took over the car around the 45 minute mark, all was well with the car and Stanton was posting lap times equivalent to the leading cars. However, well down in the order, the team elected to simply collect laps and collect points as other cars dropped out of the race. When the checkered flew, the team breathed a collective sigh of relief and recorded what may well be the most satisfying 14th place they have ever recorded.

“Those guys just never quit,” said Stanton, following the race. “They just kept plugging away and plugging away until the car was right again. It gives me such confidence as a driver to know that we have the best crew in the paddock right here.”

Potter, Stanton, and the rest of Magnus Racing will see action on April 8-10 at the Porsche 250 at Barber Motorsports Park in Birmingham, Alabama. The race will be broadcast on April 10 at 1:30pm on SPEED Channel.

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 the Grand-American Rolex Sportscar Series can e-mail info@magnusracing.com. All press inquiries can be directed to press@magnusracing.com.

 

Sunday
Mar072010

Grand Prix of Miami - Saturday Report

What a day.

To get things started off, Craig had a right front tire fail on our GT car as he exited the NASCAR turn four banking in morning practice. The result was a Big One – data registered the impact at 7G’s, and Craig decelerated from 128mp to 96mph in two-tenths of a second. As a result, the crew worked throughout the day to repair the car and make it ready for the afternoon’s race – replacing the front bumper and splitter assembly, right front and right rear suspensions, right side front fender and door, repairing the right rear quarter panel, and replacing both the engine and transmission. It was a HUGE job – but the car was on the grid and ready to answer the bell when the time came.

Today was also the day that the Cayman would start its first Continental Sports Car Challenge race in the GS category. John started the car last after the ride-height penalty, but the car was on the move from the word go. The little Cayman and John seemed to get along well, as it wasn’t long before he was in the top-10, running as high as sixth. But, as the team was getting ready to bring him in for fuel and tires, John radioed that the car had lost power steering – just in time to hand it over to Bryan.

Unfortunately for Brian and the team, the decision was made shortly afterward to bring the Cayman in and retire it from the race, to prevent any further damage as a result of the loss of power steering. Considering it was the first race weekend for the Cayman, the team was expecting some teething issues, but came away very impressed with the pace.

With that race wrapped up, it was time to for John and Craig to jump into the rebuilt No.44 Porsche GT3 Cup. John started the race, but we had issues from the beginning with the car alignment not being quite right (no surprise given the 7G impact it suffered in the morning). It took the first part of the race to sort out, but once it was, Craig was running times on pace with the leaders. Far down in the order with a wounded car, Craig brought the car home in 14th place to collect more crucial season long points.

Two major themes from this weekend: one, the Cayman will be a front-runner in GS . Two, there is nothing that the Magnus Racing crew can’t handle.

Friday
Mar052010

Grand Prix of Miami Report – Friday Report

Today was a very busy day for us, as for the first time we were running our brand new No.44 Cayman in the Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge, in addition to the No.44 Porsche GT3 Cup in the Rolex Sportscar Series.

With two different programs and two different schedules going on, things ran really smoothly today. Our only hiccup was a minor mechanical problem in the morning’s first practice session in the Cayman, and that was fixed very easily. Bryan was solid in the car in our second practice session, putting the car fifth overall. Meanwhile, in the Rolex car, Craig was very fast in final practice and team hopes were high heading into the afternoon’s qualifying sessions.

This is where the complexities of running two different programs come into play. Because John is going to start both the Continental and Rolex Series races, he had to qualify both cars. Rolex Series practice was first, but was split into two sessions – one for the Daytona Prototypes, and the second for the GT class. Continental practice would follow, with GS going first and ST second. So, not only would John have to qualify both cars, he’d literally have to jump out of the GT car and jump into the GS car.

But, it proved to be not much of a problem. John put the Rolex Series car in tenth, got out, calmly walked to the Cayman, got in it, and put it 11th overall on the starting grid. Not bad for a car making its debut – and definitely the highlight of the day, as this Cayman project has been ongoing for nine months and hasn’t been without its challenges. Our qualifying spot also made it the quickest Porsche in the field.

Unfortunately, in tech, Grand-Am removed us from the results because the Cayman failed the ride height test by 1/8 of an inch. The test pipe hit an exposed bolt towards the rear of the car, clearing 99% of the car but hitting on that one bolt, which means we have to start tomorrow’s race in last place. But, like our Rolex Series crew chief John Bedell says, “ride height is ride height.” However, the third-placed Audi also failed the ride-height test and has been allowed to keep their position. So perhaps, depending on your car, ride height isn’t ride height.

“This actually worked out better than I had expected,” said John. “My plan the entire time was to get to start next to Craig in his Cayman. As it turned out, he is going to have to start on the last row, and starting 11th wouldn’t have played into those plans at all.”

Other highlights today included watching all of the Magnus Racing groupies get in the way of the yellow Mazda RX-8 pitted next to us. Patrick Dempsey had to keep walking around the assembled crowd, and he seemed annoyed, especially when they kept stopping him to take pictures.



Monday
Mar012010

Magnus Racing to debut Porsche Cayman at Homestead

March 1, 2010 (Salt Lake City, Utah) – The team in green has now grown to two cars. At the Grand Prix of Miami, Magnus Racing will expand into the GRAND-AM Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge when it debuts its 2009 Porsche Cayman in the GS category.

The expansion of the team into a Cayman – and into the Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge – has been a part of the Magnus Racing plan from the beginning. As an undeveloped platform in the series, the Cayman has a tremendous amount of potential against the Mustangs, Camaros, BMW M3’s and Porsche 997’s that currently run at the front of the series.

While the team was focused on its GRAND-AM Rolex Sports Car Series presented by Crown Royal Cask No.16  program for the season-opening event at Daytona International Speedway, the decision was made to delay the introduction of the Cayman until after the Rolex 24. Under development for several months, Magnus Racing’s Porsche Cayman has been built and developed at Magnus Racing’s home base in Salt Lake City, Utah and shaken down by Potter at Miller Motorsports Park.

In order to score points for the championship before the Cayman made its debut, Potter competed in the Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge race in Daytona, renting a Porsche 997 for the race. He ran as high as ninth before a late stop for fuel put him down in 19th. Potter scored a win in the Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge in 2009 at Watkins Glen.

Potter will be joined by open-wheel and sportscar veteran Bryan Sellers at the Grand Prix of Miami. Sellers, having been a front-runner for a number of Continental Challenge teams, looks to add both his talent and experience in developing this brand new car.

“I’m really looking forward to joining the team at this weekend’s Grand Prix of Miami,” said Sellers. “John and I have crossed paths at previous teams in the past, but we’ve never actually driven the same car together, so it should be a lot of fun. The Porsche Cayman could be a really competitive car, so we’ll just have to see how it goes.”

In addition to the debut of the team’s Cayman in the Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge, the team will return with its No.44 Porsche GT3 Cup in the Rolex Sports Car Series with drivers Potter and Craig Stanton. The team is happy to be back in competition after a challenging Rolex 24 at Daytona in which Magnus Racing finished fifth in their series debut.   

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 the Grand-American Rolex Sportscar Series can e-mail info@magnusracing.com. All press inquiries can be directed to press@magnusracing.com.



Monday
Feb012010

Magnus Racing Debuts in GRAND-AM Rolex Series with a Top-Five Finish at Rolex 24 at Daytona

January 31, 2010 (Daytona Beach, Fl) – It was a 24-Hour to remember and, at times, to forget, but the Magnus Racing pits were all smiles and cheers as Austria’s Richard Lietz drove the No.44 Magnus Racing Porsche GT3 Cup across the line under the checkered flag in fifth position in the GT class.

The previous day, the feeling in the team and amongst the drivers – Lietz, Salt Lake City’s John Potter, Long Beach’s Craig Stanton, and the Netherlands’ Jeroen Bleekemolen – could not have been any different. At the start of the 48th Rolex 24 at Daytona, the No.44 Porsche raced up to eleventh from its 22nd starting position before tumbling down the order with black flags for a blown out rear window, before a lengthy period in the garage to replace a radiator after Bleekemolen struck a cone knocked in his way by another car. When the car was repaired and re-emerged with Lietz at the wheel, the car was a lowly 27th on the time sheets. More bad luck struck later, as damaged caused by the cone created damage that led to a vibration, costing the team further laps in the pits.

With the bulk of the team’s trouble over by the early morning hours, the team was able to cycle its drivers throughout the morning making progress through the field. While several cars further up the order began to encounter mechanical problems and fall off course, the Magnus Racing Porsche steadily moved up the field until it cracked the top-10 just after sunrise on Sunday morning.

The heroes of the morning were Bleekemolen and Lietz, who double-stinted the car up to a sixth place in the running order. As the final portion of the race played out, the Magnus Racing Porsche found itself mixed into a battle with four other cars for a sixth place – which later became fifth, and then fourth, due to retirements.

The final hour of the race saw Lietz in the car holding onto a narrow lead over the fifth-placed Chevrolet Camaro. The team’s strategy was to stretch its fuel as long as possible, but at the end the team had to bring Lietz in for a splash of fuel in order to finish the race. At the end of 24 hours of racing, the car finished in fifth place – a huge reversal of fortunes over the course of the 24 hours.

“The race was really an emotional roller coaster, and I’m thrilled for the team and proud of them that we had such a great result,” said team owner and driver John Potter. “From the start, we had a run of bad luck and our team responded by working hard, working fast, and getting our car back on track. Each time we had to do something, they were on it, and they really deserve a lot of credit for keeping us going.

“Craig, Jeroen, and Richard drove spectacularly, kept the car safe and always brought it back as good as they found it. It was a great lineup to be a part of.”

The fifth place result and points gives Magnus Racing a strong foundation for their aspirations for a strong season in the competitive GRAND-AM Rolex Sportscar series. The team will appear next at the second round at Homestead-Miami Speedway at the beginning of March.

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 the Grand-American Rolex Sportscar Series can e-mail info@magnusracing.com. All press inquiries can be directed to press@magnusracing.com.