Former F1 driver Kevin Magnussen has shared his experience of competing in his first-ever endurance race and opened up on why he left the pinnacle of motorsport.
The Dane, who parted ways with the Haas F1 Team at the end of the 2020 season, competed in the 24 Hours of Daytona on 30 January with Chip Ganassi Racing – and he very nearly won his debut endurance race.
Commenting on his first-ever endurance race, Magnussen said it was a “little bit” of a culture shock but noted that he was already accustomed to how it all works, as his father, Jan Magnussen, has plenty of experience in this type of racing.
“It was a little bit,” Magnussen said on the WEC Talk podcast when asked if 24 Hours of Daytona was a culture shock.
“But then on the other hand, it was pretty smooth really. I’ve been at many of my dad’s races, and he’s raced in endurance racing for 20 years.
“So I’m very comfortable with how endurance racing works and I know that world quite well.
“So it wasn’t such a big culture shock, but there were some things which were new to me, like racing on a track with different categories and classes, and going through traffic and all that stuff.
“Sharing the car with other drivers is a new thing. And just the way you work with the team, and the set-up, it’s all a bit different,” he added.
Continuing, Magnussen said that racing with a top team like Chip Ganassi Racing has made the transition easier and he described himself as “super gutted” not to win at Daytona due to a late puncture while team-mate Renger van der Zande was at the wheel and gaining on the lead car.
“It always makes it a lot easier when you’re with a quick team,” he said.
“It’s very clear that the team is top draw. And that makes it all a bit easier when I’m stepping into a new world of motorsport.
“It was tough to not win in Daytona. We all thought we were going to win.”
Despite describing the outcome of the race as “really frustrating”, Magnussen said it was “still nice to be fighting at the front” after not being in a position to do so for the vast majority of his F1 career.
Magnussen added that he “didn’t really try to stay in F1” because there wasn’t an opportunity to land a seat with a team towards the front of the grid.
“I decided I needed to get back to winning races and really focusing on what I do. Don’t get me wrong, it’s awesome to race in F1, the cars are fanatic and it’s a childhood dream.
“But after not fighting for wins for seven years, it’s hard to stay motivated and hard to enjoy it,” he added.