Former Formula One driver Kevin Magnussen is following in his father Jan’s wheel trackers by joining the IMSA WeatherTech Sportscar championship however that is where the similarities end. The Dane is paving his own path in the series as he prepares to make his endurance race debut with Chip Ganassi Racing this weekend at the Rolex 24 Hours of Daytona in the Cadillac Dpi and speaking about the move the former Haas F1 Team driver said:
I can’t say exactly how many IMSA races I went to with my father, maybe 10 or 12. But I definitely got a feel for the racing here and for a lot of the tracks “So I was really interested in racing in America when it looked like my time in Formula 1 was ending.
Chip Ganassi Racing Managing Director Mike Hull recalls a meeting with Magnussen several years earlier when the Dane arrive at CGR HQ for an unannounced visit. Hull says:
“The front desk called one day and said, ‘There’s a guy down here from somewhere in Europe. He asked if you were in the building and if he could come meet you. “Kevin had just walked in the front door and asked if he could meet me and take a look around. So I went down and we ended up spending about 90 minutes together just talking about racing, one on one.”
“He was obviously looking for a backup plan if things didn’t work out in Formula 1 and, at the time, we didn’t have a place for him. “But it was a great conversation. Very impressive. And he hasn’t changed.”
I was impressed by the professionalism of the organization when I visited the shop in Indianapolis,. “They clearly have a commitment to winning. Of course, every team wants to win. But in speaking with Mike and Chip, it’s obvious they only race to win. They’re not satisfied with second place or just being on the podium.”“When I started racing and through the early parts of my career, I did it to win. That’s why I wanted to race and also how you progress in your career: by winning races, “(But) in Formula 1, unless you are with the top team or maybe the second team, you have no chance of winning. Your goal is to finish in the top 10 and earn points.”
“In Formula 1, your biggest opponent is your teammate. “The best way to advance to one of the top teams is to beat your teammate, so you do not want to help him in case by helping him you will hurt your career. This is different. I’m really enjoying working with Renger and Scott. If you have questions or if they see something that can make you better, make you faster, they will do their best to help you. The same goes for me. It’s a real team effort.”
“I’m really enjoying the Cadillac. “I feel like I’m getting back to the things that got me excited about being a race driver in the first place. This might sound odd, but the car is not easy to drive and that’s good!
“Formula 1 cars are fantastic, obviously the fastest cars in the world, and I’m very thankful I achieved my dream of racing in Formula 1. But the cars are actually easy to drive. If you put any good race driver in a Formula 1 car, they would say the same thing. The electronic systems control most of the car’s performance. With the Cadillac there is much more that you control as the driver. And the sound. The Formula 1 engines sound kind of ‘blah’ these days. Hearing the engine behind you in the Cadillac, you know you’re in a race car.”