SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – After a seven-year history of endurance racing that has included multiple major victories and championships, Magnus Racing will chart a new direction in 2017, operating two full-season entries in the Pirelli World Challenge’s top-tier GT and GTA categories. Continuing their relationship with Audi Sport customer racing, the team will field two Audi R8 LMS machines, driven by team owner John Potter as well as an Audi Sport customer racing-supplied driver to contend in the series’ flagship GT category.
After an incredible 2016 that saw the team take two victories, including at the famed Rolex 24 at Daytona as part of the team’s Tequila Patrón North American Endurance Championship, the opportunity to enter a new challenge was a welcome one for the team.
“When evaluating our options for 2017, we thought it was a good opportunity to pursue a new challenge,” stated Magnus Racing team owner and driver John Potter. “When I consider that I’ve driven in pro racing for 10 years, I realized that very little of it has been in a sprint format, and the timing seems right to see how we enjoy it. This will be a new era for the team, not only because of the new series, but with the emphasis on sprint racing and solo driving we have to take a whole new approach. Running a two-car team has been an ambition of ours since the beginning, and while we’ve had some experience with two-car programs at The Rolex 24 at Daytona, the unique format of the Pirelli World Challenge provides us an opportunity to really explore this. We really appreciate the friendly and open nature of everyone we’ve met in the Pirelli World Challenge so far, and of course to everyone at Audi for their renewed partnership. Audi Sport customer racing has been incredible so far. Obviously in our very first race together we took victory at the most prestigious race in the country, and that set the course for a partnership that has been beneficial for all of us. We appreciate their willingness to support us in to 2017, and I think together we will provide an incredible program. Creating a program around one of their factory pilots is a unique opportunity and great platform to develop around, and we look forward to being a weekly threat for overall race wins. Of course a personal highlight is having the Utah Motorsport Campus back on the calendar. It’s obviously my home race and we haven’t been able to compete there at a professional level since 2010, so it will be a very welcome return.”
Debuting in the former GRAND-AM Rolex Sports Car Series in 2010, Magnus Racing’s place within the record books has largely been attributed to endurance racing.
In 2012, the team solidified its place in history by winning the GT class at the 50th Running of the Rolex 24 at Daytona, and has since followed that up with a second victory at The Rolex 24 in 2016, as well as victories at Indianapolis, The Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring, as well as sprint events at Lime Rock Park and Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca, all culminating in two Tequila Patrón North American Endurance Championships.
Becoming a staple of the paddock, the team’s reputation for on-track performance and off-track engagement has been un-matched.
Driving with Porsche from 2012-2014, the team’s performance was demonstrated through not only their four victories during the era, but also serving as the only Porsche team to take victory in their respective classes during that time. In 2016, the same feat was matched with Audi, taking wins at not only The Rolex 24 and Lime Rock Park, but holding the honor of being the lone team to take victory for the marque since 2014.
Off-track the team has been one of the most reputed in the paddock, known for their constant engagement via unique content, including a number of popular videos, live webcasts, and humorous press releases. All of this led to the team becoming one of the most revered in the paddock among fans, winning IMSA’s “Team to Win” Award in 2014, being voted as the most popular team in the series over such fan-favorites as Corvette Racing and beyond.
Looking to 2017, the switch to a full-season of Pirelli World Challenge competition with Audi Sport customer racing provides a renewed approach for the team. No race will be over 60 minutes, placing an emphasis on outright speed to score top results, which is a significant departure from the team’s historic success in longer races. Running a second GT entry with a manufacturer-provided driver should only further the team’s pursuit of victory and championships.
For Pirelli World Challenge President and CEO Greg Gill, the opportunity to bring in a team with the heritage and character of Magnus Racing is a welcome one.
“We are extremely honored to have the team at Magnus Racing join our series for 2017,” stated Gill. “Their success on-track speaks for itself, and coupled with their reputation for fan engagement and off-track fun is something we really enjoy, and we’re confident the team will have a great experience here. The sprint format is something that a lot of teams and drivers grow to enjoy, and I’m confident everyone within the team will enjoy what The Pirelli World Challenge has to offer. With so many great cars and drivers in our series, having another Audi team with the quality and history of Magnus is a great addition, and we look forward to a great season of competition.”
For Tristan Herbert, the Manager of Motorsport and Customer Racing at Audi of America, the continuation of a relationship that started with instant success at Daytona should only become stronger in 2017.
“The strength of Magnus Racing became instantly apparent when we won our first race together, at the biggest event of the year.” stated Herbert. “From there the team has seemed to go from strength to strength, and it’s been impressive to watch how they operate. From Day One we’ve admired the quality and depth of the team, as above all else they come with a strong will to win and that makes for an excellent partnership. The Pirelli World Challenge presents a new opportunity for everyone within the team, and we believe our car should be an excellent contender in that format. We’re well aware of the challenges that a two-car team can create, and we’re prepared to support them as best we can to deliver a winning program.”
Magnus Racing would also like to pay homage to their extremely loyal fan base, who have played an instrumental role in the team’s place within the sport. Through their constant number of at-track and digital initiatives the team has enjoyed a very strong tie to its audience, and hopes to continue that in to the new program.
The Pirelli World Challenge season will officially begin on Saturday, March 10, competing at the Grand Prix of St. Petersburg in St. Petersburg, Florida, an event run in concert with the Verizon IndyCar Series. The team will compete in the “full” championship, which will include the traditional 50-minute sprint races, as well as the newly-introduced 60-minute SprintX format. Additional news, including the team’s GT-category driver, will follow soon.