The world outside F1 - III

In the final part of this series of posts I'll talk about the last two examples of ex-F1s that had nice moments outside the maximum category.

Last post I was talking about Minardi drivers, and another one that came from the Faenza team to sportscar glory was Gianmaria Bruni. He spent 2003 season as a test driver, and in 2004 he became a full-season driver for them, when Minardi decadence was a clear fact, not leaving Bruni or his team-mate, hungarian Zsolt Baumgartner, get better than a Mid-to-back of the pack finishes, with the exception of the sole point that Baumgartner achieved in an unsual United States GP.

Bruni celebrating with AF Corse team-mate and ex-F1 Giancarlo Fisichella.

After his spell in Formula 1 and some years in GP2, he then moved to sportscar racing, starting in FIA GT but later going to ACO-ruled events, but his link with Ferrari didn't changed since 2008. And with Ferrari, he achieved his main glories, with two class titles on the 24 Hours of Le Mans (2008 - GT2 and 2012 - GTE Pro) and two World Endurance Championships in sequence(2012 and 2013). We will see him trying to defend his WEC GTE- Pro title for AF Corse this year.

And the last one I'll talk about is Jan Magnussen.

Last weeks, Jan would be mostly known as Kevin Magnussen's father, due to Kevin's performance in Formula 1's Australian GP, by the team where Jan ran his first F1 race, the famous McLaren. But endurance fans remember of him because of only one word: Corvette. His commitment and achievements on board of the american manufacturer cars put him as one of the best GT drivers actually.

The Stewart that Magnussen drove.

Jan Magnussen did a one-off race for McLaren, as mentioned before, in 1995, replacing finnish star Mika Häkkinen in that opportunity, finishing 10th. In 1997, he was contracted by Stewart, and in the one and a half year he drove with the british squad, we saw him being retired most of the time, as well his team-mate Rubens Barrichello. In 1998, after conquering his only point in F1 Canadian Grand Prix, he was sacked from his Stewart role and replaced by dutchman Jos Verstappen.

  After an equally short spell in CART with Penske and Patrick, in 1999 he went to sportscar, where he stays until now. Firstly, he drove in LM Prototypes, driving for Panoz from 1999 to 2002, winning races in American Le Mans Series, but with no titles, as well no more than an 8th place in the 2000 24 Hours of Le Mans.

After 2003, Panoz abandoned his LMP program, and Magnussen had gone to Prodrive in order to drive in the 2003 ALMS season with a Ferrari 550 Maranello, although in Le Mans he was in an Audi R8 LMP900 car (today called LMP1) with Team Goh, finishing 4th overall and second in the class. For Prodrive, he won two ALMS races that year, in Road America and Laguna Seca.

In 2004 he started his relationship with Corvette, driving for the factory team in Le Mans and in the American Le Mans Series alongside Olivier Beretta and Oliver Gavin, a commitment that is alive and going well at the moment. To prove that, Magnussen achieved with Corvette 4 class wins in Le Mans(2004 - GTS, 2005, 2006 and 2009 - GT1), 3 class wins in the 12 Hours of Sebring (2006 - GT, 2008 and 2009 - GT1), four class wins in Petit Le Mans (2004 - GTS, 2005 and 2008 - GT1, 2010 - GT2) and two American Le Mans Series class titles(2008 - GT1, 2013 - GT). And really is a hard-to-see occasion where Jan finish out of Top-5 or Top-10, except for DNFs.

Jan alongside his current partner, Antonio Garcia.

Actually, he is driving the #3 factory Corvette C7.R in the TUDOR United Sportscar Championship, partnered with Antonio Garcia, and is in 9th in the GTLM class drivers standings.

Hope sincerely you like it, because all drivers that I talked about here I really admire, because they proved that anyone can race at high level even out of F1. Isn't the fact that I'm demoting Formula 1, I just think there's a way better racing world outside that.

Photos:, AF Corse, SpeedWeek, Flickr, Cyber Motorsports, Corvette Racing