It’s not many months ago, that Corvette Racing said goodbye to Jan Magnussen and Mike Rockenfeller. Now, both drivers are back in the yellow car.
The pairing will race the Corvette C8.R at the FIA World Endurance Championship races at Circuit Of The Americas and Sebring, where the American team will enter a single car. There has been a lot of speculations for the last five days or so, but it wasn’t until today, that Corvette Racing officially confirmed the line-up.
Magnussen had been at Corvette since 2004, with him being a full-season driver in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship for the most recent years. He lost out on that seat to Jordan Taylor, who became the new teammate to Antonio Garcia. It’s just been a few months since Corvette send out a press release, saying goodbye and thank you to Magnussen, after a lot of years racing together.
Rockenfeller has been at Corvette for the last few seasons, where he has gotten the call up as the third driver alongside Garcia and Magnussen in the endurance races, including the 24 Hours of Le Mans. Rocky is hit by a date clash between DTM and the race in France in 2020, so that made the team choose Nicky Catsburg over Rocky in the #3/#63.
It’s a bit of surprise that Corvette Racing has chosen a 7th and 8th driver for the FIA WEC challenges. The driving in the 2018/19 season was shared between Oliver Gavin and Tommy Milner in Shanghai, while Magnussen, Rockenfeller and Garcia did the Sebring double, racing the 1000 Miles on Friday, and the 12 hours on Saturday. That put the drivers and mechanics under a lot of stress, with two so demanding races, two days in a row, so instead they have opted to split up the programmes, so there will be full focus on the FIA WEC on one hand, and the IMSA separately.
2020 is the debut season for the C8.R, having only done one race so far, which was the Daytona 24 Hours. Garcia, Taylor and Catsburg finished fourth in that race, proving good speed in the car. Teammates Gavin, Milner and Marcel Fässler in #4 had technical issues with the engine, resulting in an almost 8 hours repair in the pits before they could go back on track.
The ACO and FIA WEC would love to collect some data on the C8.R, since it’s a brand new model, before its let loose on the French tarmac, to avoid surprises regarding the pace of the car. That was the reason why Corvette Racing did two races in the 2018/19 season with the old C7.R, just like they are doing two races in the 2019/20 with the C8.R.
The FIA WEC race at COTA will run on 23 February, while the Sebring race is held on Friday 20 March 2020.