The streets of Long Beach are overcome with the resounding roar of engines, screeching tires and cheering race fans this weekend with the Pirelli World Challenge, IndyCar and TUDOR United Sportscar Championship race series’ in town. The jam-packed weekend has gotten off to a good start for Team Chevy, with Jan Magnussen and the Chevrolet Corvette C7.R scooping up the pole position in qualifying Friday.
Magnussen piloted the No.3 C7.R around the Long Beach street circuit in 1:17.939 at an average speed of 90.902 mph, making him about 0.152 seconds faster than the rest of the GTLM class. It marks the first pole position for Corvette Racing since the Baltimore Grand Prix in 2012.
“Jan Magnussen’s pole-winning lap in the new Chevrolet Corvette C7.R is a great start to the Long Beach weekend,”Jim Campbell, Chevrolet U.S. Vice President of Performance Vehicles and Motorsports said in a statement. “Starting position is important in a short, 100-minute race. The team is now focused on race execution and pit strategy. It’s great to have so many Corvette owners here in Long Beach and around the country supporting Corvette’s racing efforts in the TUDOR United SportsCar championship.”
The pole position is Magnussen’s second ever at the Long Beach track. He earned his first in 2008 driving a GT1-spec Corvette C6.R. He also set the fastest race lap in his class in 2007 in the GT1 class and again in 2011 in the GT class.
Both C7.R’s managed to secure a starting spot on the front two rows of the grid Friday. Tommy Milner in the No. 4 Corvette proved fourth fastest with a lap time of 1:18.489 at an average speed of 90.265 mph.
Corvette Racing says drivers want to be at the front at Long Beach more than any other race circuit. Long Beach is the shortest race on the TUDOR Championship schedule, so getting a jump on the competition from the get-go is crucial to finishing at the front of the pack.
With two cars near the front of the grid, the Long Beach Grand Prix is shaping up to Corvette Racing’s strongest race of the season. The team has so far struggled in 2014, ending up in 5th and 10th position at the 24 Hours of Daytona and 6th and 8th at the 12 Hours of Sebring. Helping their chances even more is the team’s successful history in Long Beach, where they have won four times in the past and set the fastest race lap in their class for seven years in a row.
The Tequila Patrón Sports Car Showcase in Long Beach begins tonight, with coverage from FOX Sports 1 starting at 6 p.m.