Mid-Ohio: Krohn Racing preview

The 2008 Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series reaches the midway point of the season -- Round 7 of 14 -- as teams emerge in Lexington, Ohio for the EMCO Gears Classic at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Circuit this weekend. The 250-mile or two hours and 45-minute...

The 2008 Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series reaches the midway point of the season -- Round 7 of 14 -- as teams emerge in Lexington, Ohio for the EMCO Gears Classic at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Circuit this weekend. The 250-mile or two hours and 45-minute race is scheduled for Saturday, June 21st at 5:00 p.m. EDT.

Team owner/driver Tracy W. Krohn and teammate Eric van de Poele will drive the No. 75 Krohn Racing Pontiac Lola, while Nic Jonsson and Ricardo Zonta will compete in the No. 76 Krohn Racing Pontiac Lola this weekend.

Krohn Racing drivers are looking forward to jumping back into a sprint race after the recent Six Hours of the Glen race two weeks ago and a jaunt 'across the pond' for the 24 Hours of Le Mans in Le Mans, France last weekend. At Watkins Glen, Zonta led several laps late in the race but got caught out by a caution when the No. 76 entry could not pick up all its' fuel on the penultimate stop. The late race stop caused him to fall back to a 10th-place finish. Unfortunately, the Risi-Krohn Ferrari entry of Krohn, Jonsson and van de Poele went out of the race early at Le Mans. However their sister car, the Risi Ferrari 430 GT of Mika Salo, Jamie Melo and Gianmaria Bruni won the GT2 class. Ricardo Zonta finished 3rd overall and LMP1 class in the Peugeot Sport Total Team's Peugeot 908 Hdi at the 24 Hours of Le Mans.

Tracy W. Krohn, team owner/driver, No. 75 Krohn Racing Pontiac Lola:

Mid-Ohio is a classic road racing course, what are your impressions and favorite things about the circuit and why?
"Mid-Ohio is a track with everything, high speed, low speed, and medium speed corners, and elevation changes. It rewards patience and can reward risk if one can tolerate what might be lost! It is a driver's track and a true American classic road course."

You are coming out of an endurance mode after Le Mans and the 6 Hours at the Glen and reverting back to the sprint car races. Do you have to change your mindset for the sprint races?
"Absolutely I have to change mindset.Mid-Ohio is very technical and we generally do well here. I am glad to be driving the Proto-Auto Lola at this event as the car seems to be getting better every week and I expect a top ranking on the podium soon. I like sprint racing and I like the competitive nature that Krohn Racing brings to a track as their mindset every week."

You didn't have the result you had hoped for at Le Mans, however your sister car, the Risi-Competizione Ferrari team, won the GT2 class. Talk about your emotions when you experience going out early only to have your sister team win. The roles were somewhat reversed last year when they went out with problems and you went on the claim a podium finish.
"Risi did a great job in achieving a win and I applaud their efforts in getting to the top of the podium.It was certainly a team effort and I applaud Giuseppe's ability to pull it all together with his team. Mika, Jaime and Gianni were absolutely flawless and it was really cool to watch them achieve that after so many disappointments this year. I was obviously very disappointed with my own performance, but have only myself to blame.The car we had was really good, I just made a small mistake and paid a big price."

What are your thoughts on Ricardo's success at Le Mans?
"Ricardo drove a very good race and the Peugeot was extremely quick. Ricardo drove a flawless race and did so under extreme pressure.I am very proud of his performance, but not the least surprised by it, as I know he is a real professional.I look forward to the race this weekend and can't help but believe that he and Nic will have a very good result."

Improvements have continued on the Proto-Auto Lola, including following the test after Watkins Glen. Next you've got nearlyq1 weeksof steady sprint races. What are your expectations as you look towards a rhythm of races to further develop the new car?
"I repeat, I expect to see us on the top of the podium very soon! Testing and development is going very well and we are learning much more about the car every week. Mid-Ohio will be a very good test for us and we have a test day after the race here as well!"

Eric van de Poele, driver, No. 75 Krohn Racing Pontiac Lola:

Mid-Ohio is a classic road racing course, what are your impressions and favorite things about the circuit and why?
"It is a very long time since I have been there and I only did some tests. So, I have to say that I don't have a lot of memories of this track. I know that it is a very nice track with some up and downs and very twisty circuit. I have very good memories about the layout. I don't think it's very quick. I think it is going to be very tough for racing because, of course, when you have 10-15 cars, it's very hard to overtake. It's going to be very interesting, maybe with some surprise this time."

You are coming out of an endurance mode after Le Mans and the 6 Hours at the Glen and reverting back to the sprint car races. Do you have to change your mindset for the sprint races?
"I'm just looking forward to being there again and with this new Lola car. As I have said before, every time we are more competitive. The last time, it was a long race and it was very difficult to be competitive. This time I'm sure we have a good chance to be in a very good position. I'm curious to see how we are going to do there (at Mid-Ohio). You know, the approach does not change very much because we are always want to be the best every time. Even if you run at Le Mans for 24 hours or at a two hour and 45 minutes race, you always have the same motivation. You just want to be in front and do the best you can and make no mistakes. So, I'm just looking forward to being there in Grand-Am again and with Tracy and with the good atmosphere of the Krohn Racing team."

You didn't have the result you had hoped for at Le Mans. As a matter of fact, you didn't even get to drive a stint in the race. However your sister car, the Risi-Competizione Ferrari team, won the GT2 class. Talk about the emotions on your recent experiences at Le Mans.
"Basically, I'm very happy for Giuseppe. I told him before the race that ten years ago we were only three members of the Risi team there. Everybody else has changed, I think. And ten years ago we won and this year he won again -- ten years after. (Eric van de Poele, Wayne Taylor and Fermin Velez won the LMP1 class in the Doyle-Risi Ferrari 333 SP in 1998). So it was fantastic for him. I think he deserved that because for a team owner, it is never easy to see one car going off after a few hours and I'm sure he was very worried during the whole race this time for the second car. It's good to see him win again at Le Mans because it adds to the credibility for the people in Europe. When a team comes from America, it is always difficult to come to Europe or for the opposite -- for the Europeans to go to America. So when you win in the other continent, it is always fantastic! It's really good for him and for his team."

What are your thoughts on Ricardo's success at Le Mans?
"I was happy for Ricardo to be on the podium at Le Mans. It is always an incredible experience to be on the podium at this place. It is something you never forget! I was very happy for Ricardo."

Nic Jonsson, driver, No. 76 Krohn Racing Pontiac Lola:

Mid-Ohio is a classic road racing course, what are your impressions and favorite things about the circuit and why?
"I think the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course is a very challenging course. It is definitely a driver's course because you have a lot of blind corners, elevations changes, and off-camber corners. You also have some different pavement in the corners with some patching inserted in the tarmac. It makes it interesting from a grip level. I do believe it's a driver's course but also a set-up course. If you don't have the car set-up properly there, you can put any driver in the world and they wouldn't be very quick. You really need a lot of good traction to get off the corners well. There are so many second gear corners around there on the infield that if you don't have good traction, you're going to be struggling. That's one of the things we've been focusing on with the Proto-Auto Lola -- trying to work on getting a good mechanical grip and at the same time, try to trim the car out as much as possible to not lose too much speed on the straight line. After the test at the Glen on Monday, which we had another driver do, I think we learned quite a bit about both drag and downforce. Hopefully that will help out this weekend at Mid-Ohio if we can apply that to the car."

You are coming out of an endurance mode after Le Mans and the 6 Hours at the Glen and reverting back to the sprint car races. Do you have to change your mindset for the sprint races?
"As far as practice and that stuff goes, I think it is pretty much the same mindset. But when you actually get into the race mode in a 24-hour race, you need to make sure you take care of the equipment a little different way than you would do in a sprint race. I don't think it will be very difficult for us to adapt back to sprint mode. It's going to be about going all out and trying to get the car as quick as you can every single lap at Mid-Ohio. There's no holding back. Maybe there's a little of playing the game as far as maintaining your tires and stuff. If you have a good enough car, and you can run up front in the top three, four or five without using your tires and brakes too hard, that will be a huge benefit towards the end of the race in not using up the equipment. We are ready for Mid-Ohio. I think the guys have done a tremendous job again to prepare the cars for us. We're ready for this challenge and hopefully going out this time and bringing it home on the podium."

You didn't have the result you had hoped for at Le Mans, however your sister car, the Risi-Competizione Ferrari team, won the GT2 class. Talk about the week at Le Mans.
"It's always a huge build-up for the greatest sports car race in the world -- Le Mans. You go over there for a test for one day prior to the race. Then you go back and have this whole build up with tech on the square downtown with a huge crowd seeking autographs and stuff. You go back and do practice the middle of the week and then you go back downtown for the parade on Friday, which is also a tremendous event to experience. Unfortunately we didn't have the result we hoped for and were aiming for this year, but we had a great time. We have to keep in mind that this is a sport with very small margins and a great competition. We obviously are not running this car full-time so that makes it even more difficult for us because we have a steep learning curve, not just with the track but to get familiar with the car, since we just drive it three or four times a year. It always takes more effort and focus to be able to do that. To be a part of Risi Competizione and Krohn Racing is always a great experience from a driver's standpoint. It's a first-class effort with the best equipment there is to buy and some of the best crew guys to prepare the cars. They are always trying to improve the equipment for us. We had a few incidents this year and they never thought a second about giving their all and to jump right in there and make the car where it had to be to be quick in the race. We go away from this race and learn from this experience. Fortunately enough, the sister car, the No. 82 Risi Competizione Ferrari won the race. It's always nice to be a part of that. Personally, I like to think that we had a small piece of that success with the data sharing we do on set-up and so forth. So it is always nice to be a part of the winning team and contribute something to that. I want to congratulate Mr. Risi and the whole team for a great success at Le Mans. Hopefully we can be back next year and be standing up there on top of the podium."

Ricardo Zonta, driver, No. 76 Krohn Racing Pontiac Lola:

Have you ever driven at the Mid-Ohio circuit?
"I have not raced at Mid-Ohio before so I am looking forward to it. It is always exciting to get to drive a new circuit. Nic and I are going to work together and we'll walk the circuit. It should be no problem. I have seen data and am looking forward to actually drive it."

You are coming out of an endurance mode after Le Mans and the 6 Hours at the Glen and reverting back to the sprint car races. Do you have to change your mindset for the sprint races?
"We always want to run at the front. With the new Lola we are still developing and learning. Also the competition in Grand-Am is very good. We will keep improving."

You had a good result at Le Mans -- a podium (3rd) finish in the LMP1 class in the Peugeot. Share with us your thoughts on that success. "I am very happy to finish on the podium at Le Mans with Peugeot. We had a very good car and good drivers but at Le Mans you must also have good luck. It is a very special experience I will always remember."

The Krohn Racing team, now in its third year of Grand-Am competition, is currently fifth (No. 76) and tied for 13th (No. 75) in the Daytona Prototype points chase after six of 14 races this season. Jonsson and Zonta have a podium finish, a third-place at Mexico City, and a fourth-place finish in the season opening Rolex 24 At Daytona. Krohn and van de Poele have two Top 10 finishes so far this year, a seventh-place finish at the Rolex 24 and 10th at Mexico City.

-credit: www.krohnracing.net.

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About this article
Series Grand-Am
Drivers Ricardo Zonta , Gianmaria Bruni , Mika Salo , Eric van de Poele , Fermin Velez , Nic Jonsson
Teams Krohn Racing , Risi Competizione