Watkins Glen: Krohn Racing preview

Krohn Racing Preview for the Sahlen's Six Hours of the Glen Grand-Am Race After four sprint races in a row the 2008 Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series returns to endurance mode, as the teams converge at Watkins Glen International in Watkins Glen,...

Krohn Racing Preview for the Sahlen's Six Hours of the Glen Grand-Am Race

After four sprint races in a row the 2008 Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series returns to endurance mode, as the teams converge at Watkins Glen International in Watkins Glen, New York for the Sahlen's Six Hours of the Glen race, June 7, 2008.

This weekend's race will be the first endurance race since the Krohn Racing team rolled out the new Proto-Auto Lola in late March at Homestead-Miami Speedway. The team ran last year's Riley chassis at the Rolex 24 At Daytona in January, where they finished fourth and seventh overall.

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. Immediately following Saturday's race, Krohn, Jonsson and van de Poele will fly directly to Le Mans, France to compete in the 24 Hours of Le Mans race in the Risi-Krohn Ferrari 430 GT in the GT2 class.

The Krohn Racing team, now in its third year of Grand-Am competition, is currently fifth (No. 76) and tied for tenth (No. 75) in the Daytona Prototype points chase after five 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.

Tracy W. Krohn, team owner/driver, No. 75 Krohn Racing Pontiac Lola: You've had a lot of success at Watkins Glen, including a victory, what do you like about the circuit?

"I always like coming back to Watkins Glen. It's like a friend now. It's fun to drive. It's always a challenge. It always seems to rain a bit, which increases the challenge. I particularly enjoy the long course set-up. I just think it's a heck of a lot of fun. I like the short course set-up too, but the long course set-up for a sports car driver is just more ideal. I think this race will be fun to do with the new Proto-Auto Lola car we have now. I'm really looking forward to it. The car gets better every week."

You have a busy schedule right now with Watkins Glen sandwiched between two Le Mans trips. Does that make it more difficult for you schedule-wise?

"The thing you have to bear in mind is that I have another profession as well. I have obligations to meet with that primary profession, so that makes it a little bit difficult. This is the busiest time of year for me and for the racing schedule. So that part of it is problematic, but we always manage to do it."

You are in endurance mode now after four sprint races in a row. Do you have a preference?

"I personally like the endurance better. I always fare better in the endurance races because of the fact that I didn't pick this as a primary career 25 years ago. So, that alone is a factor for me. I've noticed in endurance races, very often it is not the fastest car or the quickest guys that get to the end, but the guys that manage things better."

What is the plan for Watkins Glen? Will you run two or three drivers?

"We will just run two drivers. no third driver is required. we've all been on this track before and we certainly all have experience here. I don't see any problem with needing a third driver. This is a course that lends itself to quality management. it's very, very good for me to have a driver as experienced as eric as a co-driver. it is just an added bonus for me."

Eric van de Poele, driver, No. 75 Krohn Racing Pontiac Lola: You've driven at Watkins Glen before...tell us about your history there. What do you like about the circuit?

"For me Watkins Glen is one of the most fantastic tracks I drove. I really love the layout of this kind of track with the fast corners, all different type of corners, and of course, up and down. It's really challenging and I love that. But firstly, it is a very special track for me because I was a big, big fan as a kid of Francois Cevert. Cevert had his first victory at Watkins Glen in Formula One in 1971. Three years later he died there in an accident. So, it's a very special track. I have a special emotion when I go there. Of course, I'm looking forward to driving at The Glen because it's a fantastic race track that all drivers love. We don't have many of this type of race track in Europe and the ones they do they put in chicanes everywhere. Watkins Glen is very natural."

You have a busy schedule right now with Watkins Glen sandwiched between two Le Mans trips. Does that make it more difficult for you schedule-wise?

"Not at all. I'm very happy to drive a lot. So, for me, it's not a problem to travel and I don't suffer from jetlag. I have no problem with that. I'm happy to drive. The less I work between two races, the more I'm happy because I love my job."

You are in endurance mode now after four sprint races. Do you have a preference?

"Personally, I always prefer a sprint race because it is more intense. But, in another way, of course, Le Mans is something else. I learned to do long distance racing at Sebring, which is one of the best races in the world. It's one of the hardest races. Of course, the 24 Hours is very special for me too and I love to drive there.

We were a little frustrated in Daytona Protoytpe races because you have a lot of yellows and sometimes you want to do more but it's already the end of the race. I really love this kind of racing in Grand-Am. I'm looking forward to having another long distance race to see what happens with this championship. It is always, always a pleasure to drive with Krohn Racing and Tracy. It's good and I'm happy to try a six-hour race with this new Proto-Auto Lola car. We had quite a good result at Daytona and now we only need a quarter of this race length."

What are the team and drivers goals for The Glen?

"We become more competitive every race. Of course because we have a new car, we still don't know where we are going to be at The Glen. I have seen each time in the race we are quite competitive, so I think it's reasonable to hope for maybe a Top 8, if I'm pessimistic and a Top 5 if it goes well. I dream about a podium but maybe it's a bit too early. A Top 8 is reasonable and Top 5 is possible. And I think we have the package for it. Of course, a six-hour race is quite long. We hope to finish the race because it is always important to get some points. The Krohn Racing team has had success at The Glen and we must keep the pattern going."

Nic Jonsson, driver, No. 76 Krohn Racing Pontiac Lola: You've had a lot of success at Watkins Glen, including a couple of victories. Why have you been particularly successful there and what do you like about the circuit?

"I think it is definitely a driver's circuit. You have a lot of elevation changes. You have high-speed corners. You have a lot of hard braking and stop-and-go corners. You have many corners where you are looking for grip. There are concrete patches in most of the corners. I think it's very much a driver's track with some European characteristics to it. It is also a lot of circumstances that are involved. Everybody says they have a favorite track if they win on it. In this case, I think the Krohn guys have a very good handle on the track as far as set-up goes. I think the six-hour race suits Krohn Racing very well and our drivers. I realize we've won there a few times, but I think the wins could have been anywhere else as well. Circumstances happened to be at the right place at the right time. Hopefully we can be there this weekend again with the Proto-Auto Lola -- with Ricardo and I in one car and Tracy and Eric in the other. I think Tracy and Eric showed at Laguna that they could also be competitive and run for Top 10 finishes. That's very encouraging for the team to have two cars that can run very competitively. We'll be going into Watkins Glen with big hopes for good results."

You are in endurance mode now after four-sprint races. Do you have a preference?

"It's a little more and different preparation for endurance racing. As far as my own physical stamina and stuff, you have to think more about what you eat, when you eat, getting your sleep. Even if you're not tired sometimes, you have at least make sure you get your body rest.

As far as the driving part, the cars these days are so mechanically sound and very well prepared and built. From a mechanical standpoint, they can almost handle a 24-hour race these days, but you always have to think about the consumable on the car, which are brakes, tires, gearbox and so forth. So you have to make sure we manage those parts as much as possible for it to play into our favor. We seem to be doing that real well so far this year in DP -- taking care of our equipment real well. The Proto-Auto Lola seems to be very good. The longer we run, the better we seem to be. We have some big hopes. I think the endurance mode is turned on, both from a driver aspect, but also the crew and the whole team that preps the cars to be very competitive for a long distance race."

What are the team and drivers goals for The Glen?

"I think everybody always has the goal to win. I also think we have to put things in perspective. We have a brand new car with the Proto-Auto Lola this year. We have four races on it now and I think we have been doing tremendously well from a competitive standpoint. Even though the result maybe doesn't reflect as well as we actually have done, because we have had a few mishaps that have played out on track that may have caused us to fall back in the standings at the end of the race. We have always been running in the Top 5 at every race with the car, so we have been very competitive. The driver line-up we have this year is very strong. The engineering and crew guys have all worked together for several years. We work very well together, almost like a family environment. We're definitely ready for this task to go up to Watkins Glen and hopefully stand on the podium. Maybe even we can take our first win with the Proto-Auto Lola. I think the speed is there and the drivers are ready to do it. I can't wait to get up there!"

Ricardo Zonta, driver, No. 76 Krohn Racing Pontiac Lola: You are in endurance mode now after four-sprint races. Do you have a preference?

"I like both the endurance and the sprint racing experience, although they are different. In Grand-Am with the sprint racing you still have a co-driver and must make pit stops. So this is not like sprint racing in other series where you are the only driver in the car. But the main difference between Grand-Am sprint and endurance is that you really must preserve the car and the parts like brakes and tires when driving in an endurance race. You do not take the same kind of chances as you do in a sprint race because you must make sure the car is there at the end of the race."

What are the team and drivers goals for The Glen?

"This is our first long race with the new Proto-Auto Lola, so it will be good to be able to race for more time. It seems in the past four races we have done, yellow flags or on-track things have caused us to not have as good of result as we could have. I like that we will have more time in the car. We have continued improving the car every race so I think we are ready for an endurance race with the Lola."

Last year the Krohn Racing team collected six podium finishes, three 2nd-places and three 3rd-place finishes, as well as two pole positions by former Krohn driver Colin Braun. Between the two cars, they had nine Top 5 finishes and 14 Top 10's. Krohn cars finished fourth (No. 75) and 13th (No. 76) in the Daytona Prototype series championship standings. Tracy Krohn was awarded the Jim Trueman Award for Sportsman drivers. Additionally, Krohn, Jonsson and Braun finished second in the GT2 class at the 24 Hours of Le Mans.

In 2006 Krohn Racing had a podium finish at Laguna Seca -- a third-place for drivers Colin Braun and Jorg Bergmeister in the No. 75 Krohn Racing Pontiac Riley. That year Krohn Racing won the Daytona Prototype Driver's Championship with driver Jorg Bergmeister and finished second in the DP Team Championship. During the season Krohn Racing collected three victories, six podiums, eight Top 5 finishes, 13 Top 10 finishes and one pole position.

-credit: kr

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About this article
Series Grand-Am
Drivers Ricardo Zonta , Eric van de Poele , Colin Braun , Jörg Bergmeister , Tracy Krohn , François Cévert , Nic Jonsson
Teams Krohn Racing