WEC - Khron Race Preview Shanghai


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Shanghai, Oct. 24, 2012: As the FIA World Endurance Championship finale descends upon the Shanghai International Raceway, the popular Krohn Racing GTE-Am team hopes to ascend to the top of the podium for its first victory of the season. The layout of the 5.451 km (3.387 mile) circuit, located in the Jiading District of Shanghai in China, was inspired from the Chinese character shang (上), the first character in the name of the city of Shanghai, meaning “above” or “ascend”.

American team owner/driver Tracy W. Krohn and co-drivers Swede Nic Jönsson and Italian Michele Rugolo have collected four podiums this season, one second-place finish and three third-place finishes. However, the top step of the podium has eluded them, much to their frustration after winning twice in last year’s Intercontinental Sports Car Series, at the 12 Hours of Sebring and Petit Le Mans.

The eighth and final round the FIA WEC, the 6 Hours of Shanghai, will be held October 26-28, 2012 at the 16-turn circuit, which annually hosts an FIA Formula One race in the April. This will be the first visit to the circuit for all three Krohn drivers.

TRACY W. KROHN, Krohn Racing Team Owner/Driver, No. 57 Krohn Racing Ferrari F458 GTE-Am: In Japan Krohn Racing celebrated their fourth podium finish of the year – a second-place finish to go with the three third place finishes. Your goal is obviously to win but can you be content with four podiums and a prospect of another as your results for the 2012 season?

“Simply put, NO! We only have one goal for the next race at that is to go to the top of the podium. We will do everything we can to get there. We have had some luck this season and most of it has been tough luck! Statistically, we can't win the championship, but we may be able to take second with a little luck. The Corvette and Porsche will be battling it out for first and that may be an opportunity for us to pass them both and gain a win!”

Shanghai is yet another new circuit for you and your co-drivers. Without the benefit of a test day like you had in Fuji, how difficult is it to get up to speed on a new circuit? “It's always a little more difficult for me since I normally get about one-tenth of the seat time that a touring professional normally gets. Usually by the time the race starts, I am fairly comfortable with any new track, but certainly not 100%. Hopefully, FIA will increase the time for guys like me to gain more seat time during the days just before a race.”

What have you found to be the most satisfying thing about competing in the GTE-Am class this season?

“I enjoy competition. The competition has been very good this year and the so called AM drivers have all stepped up their ‘game’ this year so that has caused me to do the same. The numbers bear out the fact that the AM drivers have closed the gap on the touring professionals!”

Having competed in China last year in Zhuhai, what are you looking forward to the most about going back to China, and to Shanghai particularly? “China was fantastic last year and my wife and I both enjoyed the trip and the race. Shanghai is an ultra modern city and has been described as New York City on steroids. I have not spoken to anyone that didn't like Shanghai! I have not yet laid eyes on the circuit, so that just makes it all the more challenging!”

NIC JONSSON, No. 57 Krohn Racing Ferrari F458 GTE-Am: In Japan Krohn Racing celebrated their fourth podium finish of the year – a second-place finish to go with the three third place finishes. Your goal is obviously to win but can you be content with four podiums and a prospect of another as your results for the 2012 season?

“To have had four podiums is obviously not a bad result. This shows that the Krohn Racing Team prepares and run a very good and professional program. At the same time I will not be satisfied if we will not be able to come away with at least one victory this year, especially after having led several races when we have either been hit and got the car damaged or for other circumstances that have been completely out of the teams control.

Shanghai is yet another new circuit for you and your co-drivers. Without the benefit of a test day like you had in Fuji, how difficult is it to get up to speed on a new circuit? “I believe it's going to be the same as all other tracks we go to that we have not been to before, you have a specific routine such walking the track, look at some video and data to understand the basics of the track lay out, what the curbs looks like and if there is any significant bumps, etc in the braking zones you have to look out for. Other than that I think we all have enough experience to learn the track in the first session and after that start to tune the car.”

What have you found to be the most satisfying thing about competing in the GTE-Am class this season? “All the great tracks and places we go to is a great satisfaction. It's not very often you find a race series that competes at first-class facilities and race tracks at every race of the season. Also the tough, great competition been very satisfying this year and I hope to see the series and car count grow even further for the 2013 season.”

Having competed in China last year in Zhuhai, what are you looking forward to the most about going back to China, and to Shanghai particularly? “China is a very special country and it’s great to come back to experience their culture again but in a different part of the country. I assume and expect it to be a lot different in Shanghai with a great new F1 standard facility compared to a pretty worn down facility at Zhuhai. The Chinese race fan is also very passionate about racing, so that’s another great thing to look forward to.”

MICHELE RUGOLO, No. 57 Krohn Racing Ferrari F458 GTE-Am: In Japan Krohn Racing celebrated their fourth podium finish of the year – a second-place finish to go with the three third place finishes. Your goal is obviously to win but can you be content with four podiums and a prospect of another as your results for the 2012 season?

“I think is not bad what we have done but I'm a bit disappointed because we have been a bit unlucky and because we haven’t won any races.”

Shanghai is yet another new circuit for you and your co-drivers. Without the benefit of a test day like you had in Fuji, how difficult is it to get up to speed on a new circuit? “It is difficult, like always, because Shanghai is a very technical track, but everyone is going to be in the same conditions.”

What have you found to be the most satisfying thing about competing in the GTE-Am class this season? “For sure the most beautiful thing was the podium in Le Mans. It was an amazing feeling to be there and to have done a good result. All the team was very happy! “

Having competed in China last year in Zhuhai, what are you looking forward to the most about going back to China, and to Shanghai particularly? “I think Shanghai is going to be very different from Zhuhai. The circuit and the facilities are much better so I'm really looking forward to go there and to try to win the race. Nic, Tracy and all the crew is great so I think we can do it.”

JEFF HAZELL, Krohn Racing Motorsport Manager: How well do you think the FIA WEC series has been managed in 2013 and how does the future look for the WEC? “Well, 2012 has certainly been busy with five races in nine weeks on four continents to round off the year! I think we all knew we would just have to get on with a less than ideal schedule as the 2012 WEC came together quickly late in 2011. However, the expectations for a better calendar in 2013 have certainly been met! We have great tracks, all with best practice safety features, and appropriate breaks between races.”

How often is that achieved? “Rarely, so the FIA and ACO deserve some praise for achieving this. We also have in place a good dialogue between the teams and the WEC executives. I think this will quickly result in better use of track time and points system that accurately rewards each GT car and its drivers. For the longer term, the process is underway now to improve the GT field with more affordable, and perhaps faster, hardware. In just two years this Championship has made great, positive strides and will surely attract more teams and increasing media value.”

The 6 Hours of Shanghai race will be broadcast live via the internet at www.fiawec.com or via www.radiolemans.com. Check the WEC website for individual country broadcast options

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