RACER.com is featuring a blog from Grand-Am Rolex Series GT contender Magnus Racing for this weekend's Sahlen's Six Hours of the Glen.
Friday was a full day of practice, with two practice sessions scheduled before afternoon qualifying. And, for us, it meant a day of rebuilding the team's Porsche Cayman, which races in the GS class of the Continental Sports Car Challenge. But that didn't seem like such a big deal once Craig Stanton took the very first pole position for Magnus Racing in the Rolex Sports Car Series' GT class.
During practice on Thursday, Leh Keen, who co-drives with team owner John Potter in the CTSCC, was caught up in a crash through the esses as another car spun and backed into him as he tried to avoid the incident. So, the team had a lot of work to do through the night and through the morning before the car was ready for afternoon practice.
Things were going much better in GT. Craig clearly ate his Wheaties for breakfast as he put the car P3 in first practice, before Jeroen put the car P2 in the second session. We also learned last night that Jeroen has a family connection to Watkins Glen, as his father competed here in the 1978 United States Grand Prix East – his only Formula 1 start.
John also told us about a family connection he has to Watkins Glen, which involved the 1964 United States Grand Prix, his father, and a policeman who cited him three times in one hour before telling him to never return to New York State.
In any event, our drivers were quietly confident in the speed of our Porsche 911 GT3 Cup as the long straightaways and fast, flowing corners really suit the aerodynamics and chassis of the car. And we'd just like to point out, before anyone points to the Grand-Am adjustments from three races ago in which the Porsches were allowed use of the 3.8-liter engine, we are using the very same car that we raced in Lime Rock last week and we were nowhere close to the pace there – and not for lack of trying. The Glen, simply, is a better track for the Porsche 911 GT3 Cup.
So as you might have seen, Craig went out and laid down a flyer early in the session to take pole position, and just to ride the accomplishment wave a bit, it was the first pole position for Magnus Racing, Craig's first in GT (although he did have on in SGS back in 2004), Porsche's first in 2010, and a new track record in GT. As if it weren't special enough, our fearless leader John Potter has his mother and several family friends here this weekend watching everything from our pit box, so the team's first pole position was quite an experience to be part of.
In the press conference following qualifying, Stanton deferred the praise for the pole position to the Magnus Racing crew who has tirelessly worked to make the Porsche fast all year. In an interview during SPEED's live webcast of qualifying, Potter echoed Stanton's statements, noting that it was the crew that put the team in a position to grab their first pole position. Magnus Racing is made up of a crew of supremely talented individuals who have worked tirelessly all season.
Ironically enough, sitting next to Craig at the press conference as the second qualifier was Jordan Taylor, who was the driver that got into the side of Craig at Lime Rock last week. But as Craig said, “We've since made things OK – it's all good!”
Speaking of the crew, they worked through the day to get the Cayman ready for second practice and qualifying. Potter jumped into it for qualifying, having not driven it since before the crash, and qualified 15th in GS reporting that, for the most part, the car was in good shape.
Today will be a long day. The Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge race is first at 10:15 AM ET, and is 2 hours and 45 minutes long. Once that is over, it is a quick turnaround before the Sahlen's Six Hour of the Glen starts at 2:00 PM ET. If you are watching the Rolex race live on SPEED Channel, be sure to go to magnusracing.com and jump on our Live Blog, where you can submit questions to the drivers and crew. You can also check out our Facebook (facebook.com/magnusracing) and twitter (twitter.com/magnusracing) for updates throughout the day.
Look for us today during SPEED's broadcast of the Sahlen's Six Hours of the Glen!