Magnussens (Father and Son) Teamed Up at Le Mans


Drivers Jan and Kevin Magnussen A few fathers and sons from Denmark are about to get together for a weekend activity trying out: 24 Hours of Le Mans, where multiple drivers share the same car throughout the race.

“It’s something I hope to keep and cherish for the rest of my life,” said Jan, 48.

“It’s going to be pretty special,” said Kevin, 28.

Kevin’s racing resume is full. He was a Formula 1 driver from 2014 to 2020, now racing in the International Motor Sports Association or IMSA series, and will race for Peugeot in the FIA ​​World Endurance Championship next year. This series includes Le Mans, where he never competed.

But his father – 22 times, won his class four times with Corvette Racing. Kevin was 6 years old when he first raced there.

Jan was a Formula 1 driver In the mid-1990s, before he moved to the Corvette, which he left in 2019. He then took part in the Danish High Class Race in the LMP2 division of the WEC for 2021 and will compete for the team at Le Mans.

Kevin had the opportunity to drive with his father when the event moved from June to August. Not only has his schedule opened up, but the team has been allowed into a second car, thus creating seats for three more drivers, including Kevin. Jan moved to that car so he could go with his son, and Anders Fjordbach will be its third driver.

“I was taking a weekend off with a group of friends at a vacation home and talking about what the extra car would do for the team,” Jan said. “We said, ‘Let’s call Kevin’.”

Kevin picked up the phone and thought that his father and friends had “had a few glasses of wine, so I was pretty sure that wouldn’t happen”, but quickly realized that the project was possible.

“It was a dream of ours for as long as I can remember,” Kevin said. “It was a possibility a few times” but “it never happened for different reasons. I’ve been busy in F1 and my father has a connection to the Corvette.”

The Magnussens aren’t the only family team competing at Le Mans. Louis and Jean-Louis Rosier did this when they won the race in 1950; Nigel Mansell and his sons Greg and Leo competed in 2010; Martin Brundle and his son Alex competed in 2012; and Mario Andretti and her son Michael met several times in the 1980s and 90s.

“The proudest moments are when my kids are involved in the same endeavors as me,” said Mario Andretti, 81, who has raced at Le Mans in 40 years, including teaming up with Jan Magnussen in 2000. “Michael and I have also been on the podium with my teammates 15 times in IndyCar and these are precious moments.”

Kevin Magnussen says he got a go-kart on his first birthday and is a regular visitor to professional races. “I always wanted to be a racing driver,” he said. “I’m sure I wouldn’t have gotten this much attention if my father wasn’t a racing driver. That was my main motivation and inspiration.”

Jan said he wasn’t an aggressive parent encouraging his son to compete.

“I have always loved my life as a racing driver and always wanted Kevin to be happy,” Jan said. “I encouraged him to do it, but my goal was not to be a racing driver, but to have fun. But it became clear too early that he wanted more and he was very determined.”

They started track preparations for Le Mans in late June, an experience that Kevin said was phenomenal, “plus goosebumps” watching Jan’s son on the track. This preparation is essential for an event where driver teamwork is vital compared to open wheel competition.

“It will be a little different if your father or your son is a teammate,” Kevin said. “Too much competition between teammates in endurance races is not healthy. You need to support each other and work together as you fight for the same trophy. Of course you want to be the fastest, but when you have family you will be even more supportive.”

Jan agreed, but sarcastically said there would be competition between them to be the fastest, making both of them laugh.

“I know what I’m up against,” Jan said about driving with Kevin. I’ll do my best and push myself as much as I can while still being a good teammate.”

But it’s not just an emotional stroll through the French countryside. With 25 entries There will be fierce competition in the LMP2 class.

“The goal is to win; I think that’s pretty obvious,” Kevin said. “It’s great to do Le Mans and race as father and son at Le Mans. But to win Le Mans as father and son, that would be another level. That would be just incredible.”

Veteran Jan is more discreet and realizes that “many things can happen” around the clock that “Le Mans may be the most fantastic race in the whole world, but it may also be the worst race in the world”. “I think if we do it well, we might have a chance,” he said.

Mario Andretti said they should just enjoy the experience, but to be successful will be special.

“I think you probably give a little more of yourself, even subconsciously, because you know how valuable it is to put together an outcome,” he said.

And while this will likely be the only way out for the Jan-Kevin partnership, given Kevin’s upcoming multi-year Peugeot deal, Kevin himself became a father in January when his daughter, Laura, was born. Could there be another Magnussen collaboration in the future?

“It’s so hard to imagine, so hard to imagine,” Kevin said. “The short answer is no.” Jan said it would be a game, though.

“Yes,” Kevin said with a laugh, “my daughter may be competing with her grandfather.


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