Haas Formula 1 driver Kevin Magnussen is set for a switch to sportscar racing in 2021, driving for Chip Ganassi Racing’s revived IMSA team. The 28-year-old Dane will be one of the full-time drivers in Ganassi’s single Cadillac DPi-V.R entry in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, a program confirmed last week.
Magnussen’s future has been the subject of much speculation since he announced his departure from the Haas F1 team last month and his father Jan Magnussen, the former sportscar ace who manages his son’s career, advised him to seek opportunities within IndyCar and WEC.
However, with WEC set for a ‘transition year’ as the first Hypercars are introduced, Magnussen was unlikely to find a particularly appealing opportunity on the European sportscar scene.
Meanwhile, although it’s understood that he approached all but one of the IndyCar teams that still had a seat available in October, most owners were seeking a driver who could bring money.
That left Magnussen without an obvious option since his personal sponsor Jack & Jones – a Danish clothing company – has a negligible footprint in the USA, and its Canadian parent company Bestseller filed for bankruptcy this past summer.
But the seven-year F1 veteran’s approach to Chip Ganassi led to talks regarding the team’s IMSA program, which lay dormant this year following the end of the highly successful partnership with Ford in the GT Le Mans class.
Jan Magnussen did not respond to Motorsport.com’s attempts to confirm this news.
Kevin Magnussen, the 2013 Formula Renault 3.5 Series champion, made his F1 debut for McLaren in 2014, scoring second place on his debut in the Australian Grand Prix. He would score 11 more top-10 finishes that season and take 11th in the drivers’ championship. However, the team made him reserve driver in 2015 when it signed Fernando Alonso, and at year’s end he was released.
Magnussen then spent a season at the struggling Renault team before being hired by the one-year-old Haas squad in 2017, his highlight being ninth in the championship the following year.
Since Wayne Taylor Racing elected to clean house regarding driver line-up as it switches from Cadillac to Acura for next year, it means WTR’s 2020 full-timers Ryan Briscoe and Renger van der Zande became available to partner Magnussen.
Despite Briscoe’s seven-year association with Ganassi – three in IndyCar, four in sportscar –Motorsport.com is given to understand that van der Zande will be confirmed as the second full-timer in the Ganassi Cadillac. The 34-year-old Dutchman helped drive the WTR Cadillac to two Rolex 24 and two Petit Le Mans triumphs.
Ganassi’s six-time IndyCar champion Scott Dixon is set to join Magnussen and Van der Zande for IMSA’s four endurance rounds – the Rolex 24 Hours at Daytona, Sebring 12 Hours, Watkins Glen 6 Hours and Petit Le Mans.