Krohn Racing renews with Risi Competizione

Krohn Racing and Risi Competizione Join Forces Again in 2008 Krohn Racing and Risi Competizione, both based in Houston, Texas, have joined forces again in 2008 to run a Ferrari 430GT in three races. The races will include the American Le Mans ...

Krohn Racing and Risi Competizione Join Forces Again in 2008

Krohn Racing and Risi Competizione, both based in Houston, Texas, have joined forces again in 2008 to run a Ferrari 430GT in three races. The races will include the American Le Mans Series (ALMS) sanctioned 56th Annual 12 Hours of Sebring race in Sebring, Florida on Saturday, March 15, the ALMS Lone Star Grand Prix, in Houston, Texas on April 26 and the 76th running of the 24 Hours of Le Mans in Le Mans, France on June 14-15. Once again they will field the No. 61 Risi-Krohn Ferrari 430GT in the GT2 class.

Risi Competizione, spearheaded by long-time Ferrari race car owner and dealer Giuseppe Risi, will prepare the machine for Krohn Racing team owner/driver Tracy W. Krohn, along with his teammates Nic Jonsson and Eric van de Poele. Krohn and Jonsson regularly drive a Daytona Prototype in the Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series. Van de Poele was recruited this year as Krohn's co-driver in the series and combines for the two endurance races in the Ferrari, Sebring and Le Mans. The Krohn Racing two-car team finished fourth and seventh in the prestigious 24 Hours of Daytona race last month.

Last year, the Risi-Krohn Ferrari competed in five races, with their best, a second-place in class finish at the legendary 24 Hours of Le Mans race. They also had three Top 10 finishes in four U.S. races. The sister Risi Competizione Ferrari 430 GT of Mika Salo, Jaime Melo, won the 2007 ALMS GT2 Team and Driver Championships and Ferrari won the Manufacturer's Championship. Endurance teammate Johnny Mowlem co-drove at the long races with Salo and Melo. Risi Competizione was also the 2006 ALMS Team Champion. Risi Competizione has announced that Salo and Melo are back for 2008, with Italian Gianmaria Bruni as their endurance teammate.

QUOTES:TRACY W. KROHN, Krohn Racing Team Owner/Driver:

You are joining forces again with Risi Competizione for the 2008 season. With the success you had last year, it's obvious you were happy with the program.

"Giuseppe Risi has a first class and a 'first in class' organization.His crews have been with him for a long time and there has been very little turnover. These are all the things you look for in a quality organization. My schedule does not allow for a full time effort in both series so we have aligned ourselves with what we think is an excellent race team and a quality individual leader in Giuseppe Risi!"

The competition in the GT2 class is fierce. This year there are more cars, including more Ferraris. How much tougher do you expect the level of competition to be?

"It never ceases to amaze me how the competition in every pro series I have raced in becomes 'fiercer' every year!Generally, it seems as though the bar is always about 25% higher than it was last year. This will be an incredibly intense year in GT-2 class, as it always is, but I expect a higher car count as well. I expect you will see record qualifying times and record quickest laps during the races.Technology, cars, drivers, tires, motors, transmissions, brakes, and the teams themselves improve every year. This year will be another war!"

In addition to your long-time teammate and friend Nic Jonsson, this year you have added Eric van de Poele as a teammate for the endurance races. He's a three-time class winner at Le Mans and two-time Sebring winner, among many other endurance awards. Is he your secret weapon this year?

"Eric is an extremely accomplished driver with an enviable record in this sport. Combine that with loads of experience and it makes for an easy decision for a teammate. Eric suffered a couple of punctures at high speed in the 24 Hours of Daytona at night and in the rain this year and brought the car home safely and quickly. He and Nic have similar driving styles in that they are both very focused on the end result and both extremely good with their input and setup for the cars. It is a pleasure and very much an advantage for me to be able to drive with both of them. Their assistance and coaching has proven to be a big factor in my performance.I feel very relaxed this year and ready for the season, due in large measure to the fact that I know my teammates are making a huge difference in the team and my performance. Eric is a good bit taller than Nic so it makes the driver change a little more comfortable with regard to ergonomics since I am almost 6' 4" tall."You will be going back to the 24 Hours of Le Mans this year to defend your 2nd-place finish. What will it take to reach the top step this year?

"The only way to reach the top step at Le Mans is to minimize your mistakes, whether that is on the track or with the car itself. This does not mean you need to be on the pole or have the quickest lap, but it does require consistency and patience and the ability to recognize when the track is changing and making the adjustments for those conditions.I think the winners in every class are the teams that make the best adjustments."

NIC JONSSON, Krohn Racing Driver:

Tracy has partnered again with Giuseppe Risi for more races this year in the Ferrari 430 GT. Are you glad to be back?

"It's a privilege to be invited back to drive with Risi-Krohn team again. We'll do Sebring, the Houston GP, which is a home race for both Risi Competizione and Tracy, and Le Mans. I'm very excited to be a part of that. Since we had such success last year in Le Mans, everyone has big hopes for this year, even though it will be extremely difficult to go in and get a podium finish. I think with the approach we took last year, we'll do the same thing this year. We have to go there and stay out of trouble, and hopefully we'll achieve another podium."

The competition in the GT2 class is fierce. This year there are more cars, including more Ferraris. How much tougher do you expect the level of competition to be?

"I think over the last couple of years that the competition in the GT2 class has escalated like crazy. The reason for that is the manufacturers are stepping behind it. The GT2 is a class where the different manufacturers flex their muscles against one another. They are production-based cars and all the manufacturers are trying to prove on the race track who has the best product out there. Everybody knows that whoever can build a race car that will win races under tough circumstances like 12- and 24-hour races, will have a very good street car. That's why you see the GT2 class growing from one year to another. Of course, they also bring lots of world-class drivers into their programs, to be able to prove their product as well. Of course, it is difficult to compete under those circumstances, but thankfully we have a good team with the engineering behind it, so we can normally get up to speed pretty quickly. I think there are going to be six Ferraris, plus Corvettes and Porsches. It's going to be extremely tough, but I think with Risi/Krohn team behind us, we should be able to experience some success."

This year Tracy has added his Grand-Am teammate Eric van de Poele to the formula as the third driver for Sebring and Le Mans. What will his experience add to the formula?

"Eric is obviously a proven, world-class sports car driver. I think his name added to the Krohn team brings experience, knowledge and also respect to the team. He's driving with Tracy in Grand-Am this year and I think will help give Tracy a different view."

ERIC VAN DE POELE, Krohn Racing Driver:

You are joining the Risi/Krohn Ferrari team for Sebring and Le Mans in 2008. The team is a partnership of two teams you know well -- Krohn Racing and Risi Competizione. What will that be like for you, especially being with the Risi crew, with whom you have experienced so much success in your career?

"I am very happy to work again with Giuseppe (Risi) and his crew through Tracy's partnership with them. I have much respect for them and some of the best results in my career were with this team. I have fantastic memories of many moments at Le Mans, Sebring, Petit Le Mans, to name a few. So this will be a fantastic year -- to combine my history with the Risi team along with my teammate and owner on the Krohn Racing, Tracy. I think it is a perfect scenario. It is fantastic to be in a category (GT2) again with the possibility to get a good result. This is the other challenge -- to try to win in Le Mans at another time in another category. I won at Le Mans two times in two categories and now I will get to try a third one."

You've driven Ferraris for many years in your racing past. What's so special about driving a Ferrari?

"Just the name says everything. I remember the first time I went to test a Ferrari. It was the Ferrari F40 LM in 1989 or 1990. It was a kind of spirit that you cannot find on any other factories, except maybe Bentley, which is really incredible. All racing drivers love to be at the wheel of a Ferrari...and to do Le Mans in a Ferrari is something incredible! Sebring, which, for me, is the hardest and best race, it is very good. I really love the Ferrari 430. I never drove the 430 race car and I'm really looking forward to doing that."

You are a three-time class winner at Le Mans. You'll be driving a Ferrari there this year on a team with which you are comfortable and they are defending a second-place finish last year. What will it take to get to the top step of the podium at Le Mans?

"I really don't know this category (GT2 class) well. I do know it is always a big, big battle between Ferraris and Porsches. This year there will be a lot of Ferraris and good teams. I think it will be a big race within the race. Le Mans is always so special as well. I'm looking forward because it's been a long time since I raced Le Mans. I think last time was 2002. I'm so happy to be going back there because I love that race

GIUSEPPE RISI, Owner Risi Competizione:

You and Tracy have combined again for a few races in the 2008 season. Last year's program was obviously a success.

"I'm very happy that Tracy is back with the program and also the fact that it means he will get a second shot at driving the 430 with the improvements that have been made to the car. That's something very positive. I look forward very much having he, Nic and Eric together. I think it's a great driving combination. Nic has had a season with us so he's gotten to know the car. Eric has driven for me in the past and he's a good long-distance guy. There's no question about that. I'm sure combining that with our knowledge of the car and the tires and everything else, I really look forward to some great races with Tracy."

-credit: www.krohnracing.net,

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About this article
Series ALMS
Drivers Gianmaria Bruni , Mika Salo , Eric van de Poele , Jaime Melo , Johnny Mowlem , Nic Jonsson
Teams Krohn Racing , Risi Competizione