What A Ride: Magnussen and Corvette Racing Through the Years
Thursday, October 24, 2019

Jan Magnussen and Corvette Racing wrapped up a fantastic, 16-year run together with last week’s announcement that the Dane would be exploring other opportunities for 2020.

It’s a ride that included 35 victories – including five wins in the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring Presented by Advance Auto Parts, four 24 Hours of Le Mans victories, four Motul Petit Le Mans victories and a Rolex 24 At Daytona triumph. It also included five IMSA titles and played a significant role in Magnussen’s selection as one of the 50 Great IMSA Drivers in the IMSA: Celebrating 50 Years book published last year to commemorate IMSA’s 50th Anniversary season in 2019.

Let’s look at some of the highlights of Magnussen’s Corvette Racing career over the years:

First Win Was A Big One

Magnussen drove in a total of 156 races with Corvette Racing from 2004 through 2019, and his first victory with the team couldn’t have been a bigger one. Sharing the No. 64 Chevrolet Corvette C5.R with Oliver Gavin and Olivier Beretta in the GTS class, Magnussen claimed his first career victory in the 24 Hours of Le Mans.

It turned out to be the first of three consecutive victories at La Sarthe for Magnussen, who went on to win the GT1 class alongside Gavin and Beretta in 2005 and 2006 as well. In 2009, he claimed his fourth Le Mans win – again in the GT1 class – co-driving the No. 63 Corvette C6.R with Johnny O’Connell and Antonio Garcia.

Speaking of Races with “Le Mans” in the Title…

Magnussen’s first IMSA victory with Corvette came a few months after the 24 Hours of Le Mans win in 2004. Reunited with Gavin and Beretta in the No. 4 C5.R, Magnussen won the 2004 Petit Le Mans in the GTS class.

It was the first of four Motul Petit Le Mans victories for the Danish racer. The next year, Magnussen returned to victory lane at Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta alongside Gavin and Beretta, this time aboard the then-new Corvette C6.R.

Magnussen won another Motul Petit Le Mans in 2008 with Johnny O’Connell and Ron Fellows as his co-drivers in the No. 3 Corvette C6.R and added a fourth in 2010 in the No. 4 Corvette with Gavin and Emmanuel Collard.

Respect the Bumps and They’ll Respect You Back

Of all the crown jewels in sports car racing, the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring Presented by Advance Auto Parts is considered one of the toughest – if not THE toughest – of them all.

Magnussen was at his best on the punishing, 3.74-mile, 17-turn Sebring International Raceway circuit, scoring five victories with Corvette Racing in the Twelve Hours. His first, a GT1 class win in 2006 alongside Gavin and Beretta in the C6.R, was followed by GT1 wins in 2008 with O’Connell and Fellows and 2009 with O’Connell and Garcia.

He added two more Sebring wins with the Corvette C7.R, winning the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship GT Le Mans (GTLM) class in 2015 with Garcia and Ryan Briscoe as his co-drivers in the No. 3 machine and again in 2017 alongside Garcia and Mike Rockenfeller.

Completing the Triple Crown

Sports car fans generally consider the triple crown of endurance racing to include the Rolex 24 At Daytona, Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring and the 24 Hours of Le Mans.

Magnussen had multiple wins at both Sebring and Le Mans with Corvette Racing. Still, it wasn’t until the American Le Mans Series (ALMS) and GRAND-AM merged to create the WeatherTech Championship in 2014 that the Corvette team became annual competitors in the Rolex 24 apart from a couple early runs in 2000 and 2001 before Magnussen joined the team.

Nevertheless, the Dane completed the triple crown in the 2015 twice-around-the-clock classic, co-driving the No. 3 Corvette C7.R to the GTLM win with Garcia and Briscoe. Incidentally, he, Garcia and new endurance co-driver Rockenfeller came just 0.034 seconds short of a second consecutive GTLM win at Daytona in a near-photo finish behind their teammates, Gavin, Tommy Milner and Marcel Fassler in the No. 4 C7.R in 2016.

Five-Time IMSA Champ

In addition to the major endurance race victories, Magnussen’s trophy case is also overflowing with a total of five IMSA championship trophies as a member of Corvette Racing. He scored two ALMS titles, the first in the 2008 GT1 class with O’Connell as his season-long co-driver in the No. 3 C6.R.

But the bulk of Magnussen’s championship success came alongside Garcia. They won the final ALMS GT title in 2013 – also the last year of the C6.R – and then parlayed wins in the 2015 Rolex 24 and Twelve Hours of Sebring to claim that year’s IMSA Michelin Endurance Cup in the GTLM class.

Becoming a model of consistency and expert collectors of podium trophies, Magnussen and Garcia partnered for back-to-back WeatherTech Championship GTLM titles in 2017 and 2018. The 2018 title was particularly impressive as the No. 3 duo won it without winning a single race but scoring eight podium results in the 11-race season.

Last Win with Corvette

We didn’t know it at the time, but Magnussen’s last Corvette Racing victory would come alongside Garcia in the No. 3 Corvette C7.R at VIRginia International Raceway on Sunday, Aug. 27, 2017 in a two-hour and 40-minute contest.

It was their third victory of that season, following wins at Sebring and Circuit of The Americas, and came at a critical juncture in their chase for the 2017 GTLM title. Two races later, they were crowned champions.