Chip Ganassi Racing’s return to IMSA will feature one of Formula 1’s finer drivers and a veteran of the WeatherTech SportsCar Championship as Kevin Magnussen and Renger van der Zande have been signed by the Indianapolis-based team as its full-time pilots.
Magnussen joins CGR and its Cadillac DPi-V.R program from the Haas F1 team, where he spent the last four seasons with a top championship finish of ninth coming in 2018. The son of IMSA legend Jan Magnussen won the 2013 Formula Renault 3.5 title and was promptly hired by McLaren, where he earned a career best of second on his F1 debut in 2014. A shift to Renault in 2016 preceded his move to Haas, where the 28-year-old’s talents have been rewarded on an infrequent basis.
In moving from F1 to IMSA’s DPi class – a first for the series – Magnussen hopes to make a long-awaited return to victory lane while rebooting his career in America.
“If you are in professional racing anywhere in the world, you know the name Chip Ganassi and what it represents in motorsports,” he said. “Chip has built one of the best racing organization’s on and off the track, and you can look back in history and see the tremendous record of success, especially as it relates to sports car racing. It’s a great opportunity for myself to team up with CGR, Renger and Cadillac. I can’t wait to get started, meet the team and begin preparations for the 2021 season.”
With seven sports car championships, eight overall or class wins at the Rolex 24 At Daytona, and 64 race wins since opening its endurance racing account in 2004, the former Lexus, BMW, and Ford factory team brings considerable success to its new Cadillac relationship. New to IMSA’s LMP2-based manufacturer prototypes, CGR will rely on van der Zande’s experience piloting Wayne Taylor Racing’s Cadillac DPi-V.R over the last three years to anchor its new lineup.
“I’ve been fortunate enough to have raced and won with Scott [Dixon] in sports cars and I think he really embodies what the whole Chip Ganassi Racing organization is all about,” said the Dutchman, who won the Rolex 24 At Daytona and Petit Le Mans with Dixon in 2020 at WTR.
“It’s a first-class operation and the team knows how to win the big races. One of the things that stood out to me was hearing that as a former driver, Chip always wanted to create and build a team that he would want to drive for. He has certainly done that, and those results speak for themselves across many series around the world. I think Kevin and I are both excited to say the least, and ready to get the 2021 season started at Daytona.”
Although he remains unconfirmed, Dixon is expected to be named as the endurance driver for the program, and while the CGR Cadillac does not have a number assigned by IMSA, it’s believed the traditional 01 used throughout its time campaigning Daytona Prototypes will make a return.