Konrad Teaming With Goodyear in ALMS Championship Chase By Lee Elder Some racecar drivers have favorite racetracks. Franz Konrad has favorite continents. Konrad, owner and driver for Konrad Team Saleen, is a native of Austria who now lives in...
Konrad Teaming With Goodyear in ALMS Championship Chase
By Lee Elder
Some racecar drivers have favorite racetracks. Franz Konrad has favorite continents.
Konrad, owner and driver for Konrad Team Saleen, is a native of Austria who now lives in Germany and has a home in Florida. A veteran of 31 years of racing, Konrad has used Goodyear tires through most of his racing career.
"What can you enjoy better than making your hobby your business," he asked.
Konrad teamed with co-drivers Terry Borcheller and Oliver Gavin to capture the American Le Mans Series GTS class victory in the 12 Hours of Sebring in March, then finished third behind two Corvettes in the latest ALMS race at Sears Point Raceway. The Sebring win marked the fifth time Konrad has won his class in the endurance classic.
The GTS championship battle appears to be a struggle between the two Goodyear-supplied teams. That's just fine with Konrad.
"I like it much more when we have competition and can fight with another team," Konrad said. "It makes us work harder to beat them. It's a good situation, fighting Corvette."
And what a fight it has been. Three races into the 2001 season, Goodyear drivers fill the first five positions in the GTS driver standings and six of the first seven. Goodyear leads the battle among tire manufacturers in the class with an 80-60 lead over second-place Dunlop.
"Goodyear has several different compounds available to us," Konrad said. "We've been lucky. We always seem to get a perfect tire. I think the same thing will happen at Portland."
Konrad started racing as a youngster when he raced motocross motorcycles. Since switching to cars, he has won the 1983 German F-3 championship, is a two-time Porsche Cup champion and has 25 starts in the 24 Hours of Le Mans. He has raced on every continent, save Antarctica.
"I have raced most of my career on Goodyear tires," he said.
Konrad's co-drivers, Borcheller and Gavin, fondly call the more experienced driver, `Dad.'
"Franz celebrated his 50th birthday this year," the 35-year-old Borcheller said. "We (call him Dad) just to give him a hard time. He's a great teammate. He just loves being out there."
Konrad and his wife of 30 years, Marion, have a son, Mario. Mario Konrad manages the family business.