The 50th Annual Rolex 24 at Daytona race had all the excitement you would expect such a momentous race to produce. Three cars finished on the lead lap, Lap 761, with drivers John Pew, Oswaldo Negri, Jr., AJ Allmendinger and Justin Wilson in the No. 60 Ford Riley of Michael Shank Racing on the top step of the podium.
The No. 76 Krohn Racing Proto-Auto Lola Ford finished 11th in class/19th overall with team owner/driver Tracy W. Krohn, Nic Jönsson, Colin Braun and Ricardo Zonta. A drive train problem at 3:00 a.m. ET, just before the 12-hour mark, forced the Krohn Team into the garage for over an hour and they experienced a loss of 38 laps, putting the team out of race contention.
However, thereafter Krohn’s car ran faultlessly to complete the full 24 hours. After the race, Team Owner/Driver Tracy Krohn said he was committed to return to Daytona, seeking the Rolex 24 victory that he has worked towards over the past eight years.
This year’s historic 24-hour race featured 49 car lead changes among 53 different drivers in a thrilling contest with unusually few full course safety car periods.
Tracy Krohn, Driver, Owner/Driver, No. 76 Krohn Racing Proto-Auto Lola Ford: “We had a lot of hopes going in, as you always do in a race. Unfortunately, we had mechanical issues that were unforeseen. The team did a really good job putting the car together and getting us back out of the track. I’m very happy we finished. I was a little disappointed with the result, of course. But that’s racing. I am determined that sooner or later we’re going to win this S-O-B race.”
Colin Braun, Driver, No. 76 Krohn Racing Proto-Auto Lola Ford: “It’s tough when you have lost many laps like we did. In the final stints we were just logging laps. Oliver Gavin and I had a fun race in my final stint. When you’re so many laps ahead and behind one another, you have to do something to make the time go by. It was fun to race Gavin and have a good view watching the leaders race. It’s one of those unfortunate places to be because he’s 30-some laps ahead, or we’re 30-some laps behind him. The important thing is to keep making laps around the race track. We had to do that first and then look for something to make it exciting.”
Nic Jönsson, Driver, #76 Krohn Racing Proto-Auto Lola Ford: “The outcome is obviously not what we were looking for. We were hoping to be in the Winner’s Circle right now. We were running seventh at the point where a driveline failed. I don’t think we had the pace for a podium here today. This car is designed to win a championship, where two-thirds of the tracks are high downforce tracks. It’s not surprising that the car is not at its best on a high-downforce track.
“The Krohn guys did an exceptional job again, as always, throughout the whole 24 hours. Pit stops were great. If nothing else, this race was a very good preparation and practice for the 24 Hours of Le Mans that’s coming up in the middle of June. Now we head back home, recoup, sleep a little bit and test the new Ferrari F458 next week and start focusing on the main program, the WEC (World Endurance Championship) this year.”
Ricardo Zonta, Driver, #76 Krohn Racing Proto-Auto Lola Ford: “This team feels like a family. Even though today was not a great result for us everyone was all together to figure where the problems were and to improve for next year.”
David Brown, Team Manager/Race Engineer, Krohn Racing: “We were disappointed not to have been much closer to the front. Although we really didn’t have the pace to win the race or even be on the podium. We thought we could put in a good day’s work and finish in the Top 6. However, we suffered a mechanical problem, which put us in the garage for one hour and five minutes and put us down 38 laps down on the field. From then on, we just serviced the car, cycled through the drivers and ran until the end, because that’s what we do. We now will focus on the important business of the WEC.”
Jeff Hazell, Motorsports Manager, Krohn Racing: “Obviously we were disappointed. We had a drive line failure that needs looking into. It’s not something we expected to experience here. That particular component requires a major assembly change. Although it had been practiced, it did not go as quickly in the heat of the moment as it had done in the workshop practice. We have to look into that just as we have to look at the positive aspects. Once again the Team had flawless pit stops. The only problem was a seatbelt snag. Other than that, the stops were fine. The pace was okay but this race was so competitive, with a high standard of reliability. I think we would have been able achieve a sixth place at best. That speed and reliability bodes well for this race in the future. We have to work even harder, come back here and step on the podium, but that makes the challenge worthwhile!”