Ferrari Cup - Krohn Racing Off To Imola
Krohn Racing Off to the Land of the Prancing Horse for the 6 Hours of Imola
Just three weeks after the 24 Hours of Le Mans race, the Krohn Racing Ferrari 430 GTE-Am team dashes off to Italy for 6 Hours of Imola race. Round four of the seven-race Intercontinental Le Mans Cup global series will be held at the Enzo and Dino Ferrari circuit near Bologna and Maranello, home to Scuderia Ferrari, on July 3rd. The long and sweeping curve circuit is unique in that races are run counter-clockwise.
Team owner Tracy W. Krohn, of Houston, Texas, and co-driver Nic Jonsson, of Sweden and now living near Atlanta, Georgia, will again pair for the second six-hour race of the season. Third driver, Italian Michele Rugolo, has been entered but is expected to only act as a coach at not take the wheel in the race. The trio won the first ILMC round of the 2011 season at the 12 Hours of Sebring in the GTE-Am class and posted a DNF at the 24 Hours of Le Mans. Krohn and Jönsson paired at the 6 Hours of Spa for an eighth place finish.
Contenders for the ILMC GTE-Am champion this season, Krohn Racing will focus on points this weekend. Currently third in the standing and 20 points off the leading GTE-Am team, Krohn hopes to make up their points deficit and continue their championship challenge.
QUOTES: TRACY W. KROHN, Krohn Racing Team Owner/Driver, No. 57 Krohn Racing Ferrari 430 GTE-Am: What are your thoughts on going to Imola, another new track for you this season? "Racing at Imola is going to be another great experience. It's a track with so much history and in a beautiful country. I like Imola because, for one thing, my wife is really looking forward to going to Italy (laughing). That's a really good reason! Second, a lot of very famous drivers have been there and had great success and also great tragedy there as well. I'm looking forward to it. Plus one of our drivers is from that area (Michele Rugolo), so that will make it a little more fun."
Please share some thoughts on the 2011 ILMC season so far? "I think there's interest in variety. I think that this particular series gives a fair chance to people that don't do this as a living as their primary source of income. We do it for fun and profit, but it's not a primary source of income for me. Whereas Nic, of course, is a professional driver and that's what he does for a living. I think that having that combination goes back to the roots of motorsports. You have people who enjoy the sport and want to do it but not married to it."
The 6 Hours of Imola is Round 4 on the 7-race schedule. You've had both success, with a victory at Sebring, and disappointment, with a DNF at Le Mans, so far this year. Talk a little about the season to date. "The victory at Sebring was a great way to start the season. It really set the course. We had raced at Sebring before, felt comfortable and came very prepared. It worked in our favor. Spa was a little different because it was our first time there as a team and new to me and Nic had only raced there once years ago. The learning curve was much greater and we had an unfortunate hit that lost a lot of time. The DNF at Le Mans was a real disappointment. We had the car, the drivers and team to win. Going out with a mechanical, a blown motor, is not how we envisioned the race to go. But we're back for Imola and ready for a strong result!"
NIC JONSSON, No. 57 Krohn Racing Ferrari 430 GTE-Am: Talk a little about the ILMC Championship chase so far this season. "It started out really well winning Sebring. We came into Spa where again we were quick but didn't score a whole lot of points, but we were still second in points leaving Spa. Le Mans was double points race and, unfortunately, so far that's the only race we've had a DNF this year, scoring no points. It's a big setback for us as far the Championship goes. For sure the Championship is still within reach because anyone else can have the same problem as we did at Le Mans. If we keep running up front and being competitive we'll have no real liability issues and the Championship is still wide open. So I'm looking very positive for the future and rest of the season and obviously hopping to get into 2012 with an even stronger campaign and coming back to some of the European tracks of this year. That will be very beneficial for Tracy to come back to the same tracks a second year around, which is going to make him even stronger. He is one of the strongest Am guys already. That will put us in an even better position to go out and win championships and victories."
You will be racing a Ferrari in Italy amongst the throngs of Ferrari fans. Please share your thoughts about the Ferrari fans at the races and what makes them so special. "I think for any race car driver, of course, the pinnacle of your career would be to drive for Ferrari Formula One, but very few people get that opportunity. If you are in the family of Ferrari and are racing, well then it's obviously very special and they have this following of these fanatics, Ferrari fanatics. I don't think it really matters for them who wins in a Ferrari as long as it's a Ferrari that wins. So to go to Italy in the Ferrari colors, in our case, green, I think that will be a great pleasure and obviously an honor to go to Italian soil and drive a Ferrari in the backyard of the Ferrari factory. It's just going to be a lot of great culture and I think for not just myself but for Tracy. Hopefully we can make Ferrari proud, as well and come out of there with a win."
How has the reception been from the ILMC community to Krohn Racing, one of only two American teams? "I think we've gotten a phenomenal reception from everybody in the ILMC. It's a little bit different ballgame over here in Europe. Racing is more of big industry in Europe and in the states it's a little more open which is, I think, great for the fans. It's not taken quit as seriously over in the states. It's more like a hobby categorized in the states. The great thing you have with this series and in Europe are that the fans are extremely educated. They come with photos that they've taken either off the internet or they've been to a race or have seen us at Le Mans over the years. They are educated, not just about the drivers, but also the whole team. Obviously Krohn Racing in one of the most professional race teams there is in the world. Now people see that, now that we've come into the international platform. People are very impressed with the way the team is presented, the way the guys represent themselves and the team. So I think it's a real honor to be part of a professional organization that is Krohn Racing. We have a big fan base, not just in the States, but I think here in Europe. The fans like our green colors and it seems to make everyone like Krohn Racing even more. They can't miss us on the track, for sure. People like to come up and take pictures. I think the impact for Krohn Racing in this international series has been a very positive one."
JEFF HAZELL, Krohn Racing Motorsports Manager: Krohn Racing is currently 3rd in the GTE-Am points, 20 points from the leader. How focused on points is the team this weekend and how do they intend to make up for the lost points at Le Mans? "Win or lose at Le Mans, the double points that are awarded for that event may be a reflection of the achievement of success at Le Mans, and all credit to those that triumph there. But this points weighting within in the series makes it difficult to recover from a non finish at Le Sarthe and continue with a realistic chance of scoring enough points to get back in contention for winning the Series. Nevertheless we know that anything can happen over the next 4 races!"
DAVID BROWN, Krohn Racing Team Manager/Race Engineer: Imola is another new circuit for Krohn Racing this season. How do you go about setting up the race car in advance when you haven't raced or tested there before? "Michele has been there recently and raced in the GT open category in a very similar car and we have had help from our friends at Michelotto. My experience predates the removal of the last chicane but everything else is as it was when I was last at Imola. It's a track of straights and three chicanes with some great corners as well. You have to be able to get over the curbs and be good under braking and have good traction as many of the corners are second gear. We have a reasonable understanding of the car now so we will be able to tune the basic setup fairly quickly once we have the drivers acclimatized to the track layout. Traffic will be a big factor with so many cars on a short narrow track, not only in terms of getting clear laps in practice but also in the race. The Prototypes are faster everywhere but with this year's rules their speed advantage and acceleration advantage is less so they have to take bigger risks in cutting through the traffic."