Jan Magnussen and Antonio Garcia earned their second podium of the season in the GT Le Mans class in Sunday’s Acura Sports Car Challenge at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course.
Magnussen and Garcia finished third in class in the 24 Hours of Daytona International Speedway, but then failed to finish the 12 Hours of Sebring. A fourth-place finish in the Grand Prix of Long Beach got them back in their groove and brought some momentum to the highly anticipated return to Mid-Ohio.
Starting fifth, Garcia had to deal with heavy traffic early. He gained one position on the opening lap and then settled into a race rhythm that maintained his position through the middle stages of the race and a driver change.
“The whole race went according to plan,” Garcia said. “(Qualifying) fifth wasn’t good enough to be up front and fight for the win, but we started to make up positions like we always do. We started to see that strategy was a key thing here.”
Starting fifth in the eight-car class limited their options, while putting the Porsche 911 of Earl Bamber/Laurens Vanthoor (who scored the class victory) and the BMW M8 of Connor De Phillippi/Alexander Sims (second) in a much more enviable position.
“That is what probably allowed the 25 BMW to go crazy on strategy and that is when they went ahead of us,” Garcia continued. “We learned from that, too. We are usually the ones doing crazy strategies like they did. It paid off for them. When you are in the lead pack, you need to do what we did. We got some good points over our competitors.”
With 27 minutes remaining in the two-hour, 40-minute race, Magnussen passed Joey Hand for the final spot on the podium.
“For how things developed, this is not a bad result,” Magnussen said. “Obviously we would like to have had the pace of the Porsche and BMW today but we kind of got in the middle of them, so only one of each got ahead. It was a good race… good strategy and good pit stops from the crew as usual. We had a good race car. It was all-around fun.
“I had really a fun battle with Joey (Hand). We got a little racy but it was good fun. Hopefully we get to have more good racing like that throughout the year.”