Jan Magnussen admitted to being surprised that he was able to take the GT Le Mans class pole position for the Rolex 24 at Daytona, although he was thankful to team-mate Oliver Gavin for giving him a tow.
The Dane set a class lap record around the Daytona International Speedway during Thursday’s Qualifying session of 1:42.779s, but admitted that without the two from his team-mate, the #3 would have struggled to get top spot, but it showed to the rest of the field that Corvette Racing do have a strong car this week.
“To be honest, I’m a little bit surprised that we found that kind of speed for qualifying, but it was a good lap paired with a massive tow from my team-mate,” said Magnussen, who will share the car with Antonio Garcia and Mike Rockenfeller. “Fantastic lap with fantastic help from Olly (Gavin).
“It helped me a lot. Being that close up front that for sure mattered. But the race is a different matter. This feels super great right now, but it comes down to that this really doesn’t matter at all. But it is to show everybody that the car is fast and we are on to something that worked.”
Magnussen said the lap came together perfectly when it matter, aided by the tow from Gavin, and although the pole position means very little ahead of the a twenty-four hour race, he feels the good pace in Qualifying should translate into good race pace.
“I am super pleased,” said Magnussen. “I have to say I am a little bit surprised with the result. Nobody on the team thought we were going to be able to go for pole, but the lap came together fantastically. On top of that, I had a super big tow from Olly, and he didn’t mess with me.
“It came together and it’s a lot faster than we have been here at any time before. It is a good feeling for the team to have pole position. Today it means a lot, but after that it doesn’t mean anything. It is a long race, but it does pump the team up and give us a good feeling for the race.
“Usually when you have a fast car in qualifying, it translates to a fast car in the race. We will be racing in a lot of different conditions so it is a matter of figuring out the race pace and staying out of trouble so you are there for the end when possibility weather is going to roll in.”
Magnussen says anything is possible in the race, but being on pole position can give a little boost, and he hopes to use the position to Corvette’s advantage.
“It is special because it is pole position and it is special because it coincides with the 20th year,” said Magnussen. “Being on pole is a fantastic feeling. But this is a long, long race. Starting up front can matter.
“These races have been won and lost by a very, very short margin so where you start does play into the end result in the way that you can do strategies and plan your race. It is a long race and anything can happen. But we have a perfect starting point and we will try to use it to our advantage.”