Sebring Monday Notebook
Nine years ago, Johnny O’Connell and Jan Magnussen first shared a seat at the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring. Monday saw the two reunited in the American Le Mans Series in one of Corvette Racing’s championship-winning Corvette C6.R. Magnussen and O’Connell will compete for the full season in the team’s No. 3 entry.
O’Connell and Magnussen were teammates for the Panoz factory prototype effort and recorded the marque’s first Series victory with a win at Mosport in 1999, their only full-season effort together. Together they have combined for 36 class victories and 80 podium finishes in 124 starts.
“Johnny and I had a lot of success with Panoz, and I’m looking forward to that again,” Magnussen said. “Hopefully we can win a championship together. Our driving styles are very similar so there won’t be any problems there.”
SALO BACK AT SEBRING: Mika Salo’s return to Sebring has been four years in the making. In 2003, the Finn was part of a driving trio that finished sixth overall and in LMP900 in an Audi R8. Now he’s back at the famed Florida circuit with Risi Competizione and the Ferrari F430 GT that finished third in class last year.
The Ferrari is the third different race car Salo has driven at Sebring. Following the 2003 race, he tested on the track’s short course in a Champ Car.
“It is more physical in the Ferrari because you feel the bumps and drops,” he said. “The Audi and the Champ Car would just skip over those so you didn’t feel it.”
ANOTHER BRABHAM FOR DAYTON: When Duncan Dayton brought David Brabham aboard for Highcroft Racing’s LMP2 effort with Acura, it established another link between the team owner and 12-time Series winner.
One of Dayton’s most prized possessions is a Brabham F1 car owned and raced by Sir Jack Brabham, a three-time World Champion.
“Jack is a hero of mine,” said Dayton, who will drive with Brabham and Stefan Johansson at Sebring and Petit Le Mans. “We have a tremendous pool of wealth to pull from in this new Acura program.”