April 10, 2011 (Birmingham, Alabama) – Entering this past Saturday’s Porsche 250 as the points leader in the GT class of the Rolex Sports Car Series presented by Crown Royal Cask no.16, Magnus Racing’s duo of John Potter and Craig Stanton were looking for another strong run to stay at the front of the title chase.
Historically the hilly, 2.3-mile road course has not been a good one for Porsches and the high ambient temperatures in Birmingham, Alabama would also mean high cockpit temperatures that Potter and Stanton would have to contend with. Tire management would also play a large factor in the race as tire degradation would be very high with the fast corners and major elevation changes of Barber Motorsports Park.
After qualifying in twelfth position, Potter took the green flag and ran consistently throughout the first hour of the race, advancing two positions before turning the car over to Stanton under yellow. Taking over the car, Stanton was able to advance several positions and the team’s strategy helped to put him up into the lead for a period of time. However, a late-race caution put Stanton out of touch with the GT class leaders, and he brought the no.44 Magnus Racing Porsche 911 GT3 Cup car home in fifth place, the best placed Porsche in the GT field.
“We are really focused on the championship, and Barber is a difficult track for the Porsche,” said Potter. “Our goal was really to drive our race and try to not get caught up in any battles at the start – really we were racing the track and managing our car and tires for the end of the race. This isn’t a place where we are going to beat anyone on speed so we planned our strategy and took what the race gave us.”
The result, their third top-five of the GRAND-AM season, means that Stanton and Potter currently share the lead of the GT class standings with Bill Auberlen and Paul Dalla Lana at 83 points, and are only a single point ahead of Sylvain Tremblay and Jonathan Bomarito. Potter also sits second in the Bob Akin Award standings for GT drivers.
“Coming away with good points from Barber is really great for us in the championship,” said Stanton. “The points differences are super-close now and will probably still be super-close at the end of the year. We can’t afford to have bad races, so to come away with a fifth from Barber, a place that isn’t the best for the Porsche, is really good. I could see the two Mazdas ahead of us at the end but we just didn’t have enough to catch them. We had a great car and a great strategy and we still come away with the points lead, and that is the most important thing.”
Magnus Racing won’t get much of a break as they will compete in next week’s American Le Mans Series race at the Long Beach Grand Prix, competing in the GT-C class. That race will be held on Saturday, April 16, from 7:00 PM – 9:00 PM ET, and will be broadcast live on ESPN3.com. The race will also be shown on ESPN2 on Sunday, April 17, from 5:00 PM – 7:00 PM ET.
The next GRAND AM race will be the Bosch Engineering 250, held at VIRginia International Raceway in Alton, VA on May 14. Last year’s race at VIR saw Magnus Racing record their best finish of the season when they finished in fourth.
Credit: Magnus Racing