Jan Magnussen: Missed opportunities really hurt us in 2016
Motorsport.com’s Jan Magnussen reflects on his IMSA campaign with Corvette Racing, and after starting on a high with that team 1-2 photo-finish at Daytona there were some speedbumps along the way.
I’ll look back on 2016 as a bit of a bittersweet year. The good thing was the fact we had some great pace aboard the No.3 car with Antonio Garcia, but there were some missed opportunities which really hurt us in the points at the end.
The good thing is Corvette Racing won the teams’, manufacturers’ and drivers’ championships – and I have to say a huge congratulations to Tommy Milner and Oliver Gavin – but with a bit of luck it could have ended up being a huge inter-team battle at the end.
Daytona runner-up… but it was close
The season started in the best possible way at Daytona with a 1-2 for Corvette Racing. Antonio gave it everything but we just fell short by about a foot.
Things were also looking good at Sebring. We led the race for about three seconds – then got punted off by the Porsche and finished in the tire barrier.
The No.4 car went on to win the race and we really ended up playing catch-up from there.
With a bit of luck – and a couple of wins – the end result could have been a lot different at the end of the year.
Despite that misfortune at the start, we never gave up and kept digging every step of the way.
The Lime Rock weekend was another brilliant weekend for the team. A penalty for our car put us in fightback mode again but a 1-2 result for the team and recording the team’s 100th victory was still awesome.
Canadian Tire Motorsport Park was another one of “those weekends”. We started on the pole and dominated at the front but the way the pit stops worked out we had to settle for a podium finish.
Back to winning ways
But when we got to VIRginia International Raceway things really clicked. We had a great test just before that weekend, and things really started to step up from there.
We led two of the three practice sessions at VIR, I scored my first pole since Long Beach in 2014, we went 1-2 in the warm-up and then dominated the race for the win. Taking the overall win in the GT-only event was pretty cool.
We didn’t expect much at COTA because our car typically hasn’t been strong there but Antonio and I finished up with a podium.
Winding up the year at Petit Le Mans it was great to have Mike Rockenfeller back with us and we finished up with a fourth place finish. We had a throttle problem which put us on the back foot but we kept pushing hard for the entire race.
Great season for GT racing
Considering how tough the competition has now become in the GTLM class, we’re very pleased with our overall speed.
Third place in the championship is still a great result but we know we’ll have to step it up again next year. The Ford guys were strong all year and dominated at Le Mans and I’m sure the championship is going to be next on their list.
The best thing about Corvette Racing is we never settle and rest on our laurels. We may have won all three championships, scored a pair of 1-2 finishes and won the “36 Hours of Florida” – but we know next year is going to be tougher.
Thanks again to all the Corvette Racing fans for their support. The season may be over but I’m counting down the days until we’re back in the car ready to kick things off at the Roar before the 24 at Daytona in January.
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2016 Championship Rewind: Tommy Milner, No. 4 Corvette C7.R