F1 exiles Magnussen and Ericsson win big in US on bumper day for Ganassi

US Motor Racing News

Marcus Ericsson and Kevin Magnussen both won their respective IndyCar and IMSA rounds this Saturday, ending equally long win droughts on the same day

Ericsson real lead

Ericsson took his first win in eight years during the IndyCar Detroit round – Magnussen mirrored the feat in IMSA


Ex-Formula 1 drivers Kevin Magnussen and Marcus Ericsson put years of grand prix toil behind them this weekend to both win their first races in eight years – on the very same day, for the very same team, at the very same circuit in Belle Isle, Detroit.

Ericsson, who won the first round of an IndyCar double-header on the street circuit said he knew “this is my day” whilst Magnussen declared “being back in a winning situation” to be “really special” after his IMSA sportscar win. The two were driving for Chip Ganassi Racing.

Both wins came on Saturday, with the former the first to break his win drought. Starting 15th, Ericsson took advantage of a typically action-packed race on the Belle Isle street circuit.

After the race was stopped late on to retrieve Romain Grosjean’s stricken car, Ericsson found himself about to restart second behind Australian Will Power.

However, the extreme heat in Motor City led Power’s ECU failing on his Penske-Chevrolet before the race had restarted.

This gave Ericsson the lead with five laps to go, and the former F1 driver hung on to take his first win since the Nürburgring round of the 2013 GP2 championship.

Magnussen Daytona 2021

Magnussen has come close to winning in his DPi Cadillac already this season, most notably at Daytona

Grand Prix Photo

“The immediate thing is that, ‘This is my day, this is my day. This is the day I’ve been working eight years [for],” he said. “I had some bad luck the last couple years. The first red flag was good luck for me. The second red flag and what happened with Will, it was luck.

“But also we performed. We were fast. We did everything right in the pits, the restarts. We made passes, overtook people. Yeah, we had some luck, but we also delivered. It was just one of those things.

“I feel bad for Will. You never want to see anyone have a problem, but I’ll take it!”

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Ericsson graduated to F1 after his final GP2 year in ’13, first with the now-defunct Caterham team and then Sauber. Though he was an occasional point-scorer for the Hinwil squad, Ericsson spent more time fighting at the back than at the sharp end. He moved to IndyCar for 2019, first with Schmidt-Peterson and then Ganassi for the following season and this one.

It was a big day for Scandanavians in the Ganassi stable, as Kevin Magnussen then won the following Detroit IMSA round with Renger van der Zander for Chip’s eponymous team.

The Dane had already claimed pole, converting that into a race lead before quickly pulling out a 12sec gap.

The gap then came down as another F1 exile, Felipe Nasr, closed up to Magnussen’s team-mate van der Zander, but the latter held on to take the pair’s first IMSA win of the season.

It was Magnussen’s first win since the Barcelona round of the Formula Renault 3.5 series, during his title-winning year – eight years ago.

“I haven’t won a race since 2013 and it feels great,” Magnussen enthused. “The whole season we have been fast, but just not getting it to the end. We led a lot of laps this year and finally the right laps.

Magnussen 2jpg

Magnussen is now 4th in the IMSA title race with van der Zander

Grand Prix Photo

“Coming here and knowing I was going to be able to fight for wins was a real privilege. To go racing with this awesome car at these awesome tracks with this team is a dream. I feel very fortunate and blessed to be able to do that.

“To come out of this weekend with the big trophy it’s pretty special. I am back in a winning situation and really enjoying it.”

Magnussen and van Der Zander, run by a hastily assembled crack Ganassi squad for the 2021 season, showed pace straight away from the first IMSA round with their Cadillac DPi car, but this was the first time they’ve been able to capitalise and turn it into a race win.

“It felt like this win was way overdue,” he said. “Daytona, Sebring especially we were very strong and only had problems at the end after leading a lot of laps.

“It’s amazing to be in a team like this that won everything.”