On Friday morning, Magnus Racing announced that they will move over to Pirelli World Challenge for the full 2017 season. The team will also expand from one to two Audi R8 LMS GT3’s. Team owner John Potter will drive in the GTA class full-time in both the Sprint and Sprint-X events starting with the first two rounds at St. Petersburg in March. The second Audi will compete in the GT class with a professional driver. That driver has not been named as of yet, but the release does state that it will be a “Audi Sport customer racing-supplied driver” in that seat.
Potter is very excited about his new endeavor.
“When evaluating our options for 2017, we thought it was a good opportunity to pursue a new challenge,” Potter said in the team’s official press release. “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.
“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,” Potter continued 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.”
Magnus Racing comes to Pirelli World Challenge after a somewhat tumultuous 2016 season in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship’s GT Daytona class. The season started out with the team’s second class victory in the Rolex 24 at Daytona for full-timers Potter and Andy Lally, along with René Rast and Marco Seefried. That was followed up by a third-place finish at Sebring with Lally, Potter and Seefried driving. A second-place finish at Watkins Glen with Dion von Moltke joining Lally and Potter marked continued excellence in the Tequila Patron North American Endurance Cup.
After Potter qualified 11th in class, the team pulled off a convincing victory in 95 degree heat and humidity at Lime Rock Park in July, things went downhill. After finishing fourth at Road America in August, the No. 44 was DQ’d after finishing third at VIR due to a minute height violation. The DQ took the team out of championship contention
Technically, Magnus Racing was the first across the line in GT Daytona at Petit Le Mans in October. However, the team violated the drive-time rules for amateur racers and was sent to the rear of the class (ultimately 11th because Park Place Motorsports’ No. 73 Porsche was also sent to the back of the class two days later just before the year-end banquet began).
Magnus Racing has no previous experience racing in Pirelli World Challenge. The team first began in the GT class of Grand-AM’s Rolex Sports Car Series back in 2010, running Porsche 911 GT3 Cup cars. Potter and Craig Stanton raced together for the first two years, then Andy Lally replaced Stanton at the beginning of 2012.
The move paid instant dividends when Lally qualified the No. 44 third in class and the team won the Rolex 24 at Daytona in class for both Magnus Racing and Potter’s first career wins. The team moved into the current IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship when the ALMS/Grand-AM merger closed. Outside of Grand-AM, Magnus Racing did compete in five ALMS races in the GTC class in 2010 and 2011. The team finished third in class in four of those five races.
All-time, Magnus Racing has six victories in 86 starts. They also have 26 podium finishes and one pole position at Watkins Glen in 2010.
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