Hello everyone. It’s great to be part of the RACER team. It’s also weird, not even my wife really cares what I have to say! Regardless, I appreciate the opportunity to relate my experience to RACER.com readers, I just apologize in advance when I disappoint….
With Magnus Racing, I’ve been very fortunate to have created a group made up of what I believe are some of the best personnel in the business and I think if you look at what we’ve done in a short amount of time, the results speak for themselves.
The irony is, of course, we’ve become known as the “funny” team which, don’t get me wrong, I do enjoy. It’s pretty cool to have so many fans and journalists compliment us on our press releases and videos, and it’s a testament to my philosophy of giving everyone on the team creative freedom. However, it’s also funny to me that in all of this, people overlook the fact that we’ve been the top Porsche team in the Rolex series the last two years running – and the only one to win since 2011!
This is the exact paradox that I’ve enjoyed. You can run a good program and still take the opportunity to have fun when it’s appropriate, and I think our fan base appreciates that. It’s that love from the fans that keeps us going, and what inspires me to want to keep up the antics.
But alas, there was a race last weekend.
I always thought the Rolex 24 was a long race, but no one told me what a long race it is when you’re not in the hunt. Holy crap.
Unfortunately, due to a convergence of a new car mixed with a lack of rules, all of the Porsche teams came into this weekend behind the eight ball and there was never any hope to catch up. The guys did a great job of preparing for everything that they could, but there was no way to develop the pieces needed to make the car competitive when we were given the rules just a few weeks before the race. I’ll spare the political rant, but this simply wasn’t going to be a Porsche weekend.
So instead, we just ran our race, took our points, and we’ll be back for Sebring. So my memories of the 2014 Rolex 24 are a bit different than what I’d normally have to say afterwards:
First of all, I slept. That is crazy to me. The way our driver rotation strategy cycled through, the majority of my drive time was in the first half of the race. By the time my last stint cycled through, attrition had taken us out of win contention so when I went back to nap, I think I slept for a record five or six hours. Normally I can never really sleep as I always want to know where we’re at, if we’re still in contention, etc. I didn’t know sleeping this much was possible at Daytona.
Second of all, we have some crazy fans. It started at the autograph session when a woman’s boyfriend asked my co-driver Andy Lally if he could sign her boob…and, of course, he all too willingly obliged. Tough life he has. Then our webcast fan base, appropriately named the #MagnusMilitia, had zero qualms taking to the Wikipedia pages of Shane van Gisbergen, Peter Barron and Gustavo Yacaman. I’m both proud and freaked out at the same time.
Third, as I learned last weekend, my wife is awesome at Hungry Hungry Hippos.
I’m certainly not ashamed of our finishing position of 12th in GTD, given the obstacles thrown at us with a gearbox issue and also the splitter issues we had. It’s just not what we’re used to after our success over the last few years.
It’s been an interesting season so far, and in many ways 2013 never ended. Due to the new car, the guys never really took a break and with the upcoming Sebring test, they may not get one for a while. None of us feel completely caught up, but we’re pushing to turn this season around and the team has the right guys to do it.
Now, on to Sebring. I’m terrified of what the fans may do there, but I guess if you’re a fan of 24-hour webcasts, videos with car explosions, and mad-lib press releases, you’re probably not all that normal. When you multiply that by Central Florida, it could get interesting. I wouldn’t want it any other way.