Krohn Racing Team Prepares for Daytona Test
Krohn Racing's two-car team arrives in Daytona this week for the first official Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series on-track activities of the 2008 season for the Daytona Test Days, January 4-6.
Team owner/driver Tracy W. Krohn will share the No. 75 Krohn Racing Pontiac Lola with new teammate and veteran endurance sports car driver Eric van de Poele. Corvette GT1 champion Oliver Gavin will test in preparation for his inaugural Rolex 24 At Daytona as the third driver with Krohn and van de Poele.
The No. 76 Krohn Racing Pontiac Lola will be piloted this weekend by Krohn Racing regular driver Nic Jonsson. Paired with Jonsson for the season is new co-driver and former Formula One hotshoe Ricardo Zonta. Briton Darren Turner will serve as the third driver in the No. 76 Krohn entry with Jonsson and Zonta for the Rolex 24 At Daytona.
Tracy Krohn's Krohn Racing combined with Lola Cars LLC in March 2007 to form Proto-Auto LLC to produce a new Lola Prototype chassis for Grand-Am competition in 2008. The Krohn Racing team, now in its third year, recently tested the new Proto-Auto Lolas with cautious optimism. This weekend will be the first "official" outing for the new Lola Prototypes.
Tracy Krohn, who only began racing six years ago at age 48, got his start in the Panoz Racing series. In 2007, he won the prestigious "Jim Trueman Award" for Sportsman drivers in Grand-Am. Tracy and Nic drove to an impressive second-place finish in the GT2 class at the 2007 running of the 24 Hours of Le Mans driving the Risi-Krohn Ferrari 430 GT, along with Colin Braun. Tracy collected his first Grand-Am Prototype victory at Watkins Glen in 2005, as well as a Grand-Am Cup victory in a Porsche 966 that season.
Nic Jonsson, a native of Sweden now living in Georgia, first paired with Krohn in 2004 and got his first Grand-Am victory in 2005 at the Six Hours at The Glen. Nic was a Touring Car and F3 champion before going sports car racing in 2001. He also competed in IRL and Indy Lights in 1996-2000 and was test driver for Lola UK in 1997-98.
Eric van de Poele brings over twenty years of endurance sports car racing to the team, competing in more than 55 different racing cars on over 80 racing circuits worldwide. The Belgian is a three-time class winner at Le Mans, a two-time 12 Hours of Sebring winner, has claimed four 24 Hour victories at Spa and a victory in the inaugural Petit Le Mans. After a brief start in single-seaters (Formula 3) in 1983, van de Poele made the move to Touring cars in 1985, then Formula 3000 and even competed in Formula One for two seasons (1991-92), all while honing his endurance racing skills. He has competed in a major endurance sports car race for each of the past 14 consecutive years.
Brazilian Ricardo Zonta has over ten years experience in Formula One competition, having worked with such teams as McLaren, Honda, Jordan and Toyota. Krohn Racing's Engineer and new Team Manager David Brown knew Zonta from their days together at Jordan in 2001 and recommended him to fill-in for a suspended Colin Braun at the Sears Point race this past August. Zonta's ability to find speed quickly his first time ever in the Grand-Am Prototype and work smoothly with the team ensured him as a top pick for 2008. Like many race drivers, Ricardo got his start in go karting in his native Curitiba, Brazil for five years (from 1987-1992) before making the jump to the Formula Chevrolet Championship, then Formula 3, Formula 3000 and FIA GT before landing in F1. This past year Zonta added another dimension to his biography when he competed all season in the Brazil Nextel Stock Car Championship.
Darren Turner began his racing career in single-seaters in 1993, and served two years as McLaren's Grand Prix two-seater program driver. He was a test driver for several Formula One teams for nine years between 1997-2005, but mostly with McLaren. His sports car experience includes the DTM Series and FIA GT Championship. He is a class winner at Le Mans, Sebring and Petit Le Mans, with one victory in each of the past three years. Turner previously competed with Krohn and Jonsson at this year's Petit Le Mans in the Risi- Krohn Ferrari.
Oliver Gavin is a three-time consecutive GT1 class champion and has four 24 Hours of Le Mans, four Petit Le Mans and four 12 Hours of Sebring class victories, all with Corvette Racing. The British native got his started in go karts, moved into single seaters and quickly claimed the British National Formula First Championship with 11 wins in 12 races in 1991. He was also named "McLaren Autosport Young Driver of the Year". He moved up to British Formula 3000, where he won the championship in 1995, then the FIA International Formula 3000 and Touring cars. He was a Formula One test driver for Benetton F1 and Renault from 1997 to 2002. Sports car racing has dominated his driving since 2000 with Grand-Am, ALMS ACO-Le Mans and the FIA GT.
In 2007, Krohn Racing finished fourth and 12th with their two-car team in the Grand-Am Protoytpe Team Championship. Tracy Krohn also collected the prestigious "Jim Trueman Award" for Sportsman drivers. In 2006, Krohn Racing driver Jorg Bergmeister captured the Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series Prototype Driver Championship. Krohn Racing was second in the Prototype Team Championship, a marked achievement for the new team in 2006.