Watkins Glen: Krohn Racing preview

Krohn Racing Readies for Six Hours of The Glen The next round on the Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series' schedule is the popular Sahlen's Six Hours of The Glen race at Watkins Glen International raceway in historic Watkins Glen, New York on ...

Krohn Racing Readies for Six Hours of The Glen

The next round on the Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series' schedule is the popular Sahlen's Six Hours of The Glen race at Watkins Glen International raceway in historic Watkins Glen, New York on Saturday, June 6th.

The No. 76 Krohn Racing Ford Lola of Nic Jonsson and Ricardo Zonta are eager to capture another victory this season, as only one of three teams to notch a win in four races in 2009. Their victory at New Jersey Motorsports Park in May, coupled with a history of two wins out of the last four (2005, 2006) Six Hours of The Glen races raised their hopes going into this weekend's event. The Krohn team is running a slightly revised livery this weekend, now sporting Krohn Aviation logos. Krohn Aviation is a subsidiary of Krohn Racing and is the management entity of a Falcon 2000 aircraft.

Team owner/driver Tracy W. Krohn will not be at this weekend's Grand-Am race as he travels to France for the 77th annual running of the 24 Hours of Le Mans race on June 14-15. Krohn, Jonsson and Eric van de Poele will compete in the No. 83 Risi-Krohn Ferrari 430 GT, hoping to achieve another podium, as they did in 2007. Jonsson will travel to Europe on Sunday after the Watkins Glen race to meet his teammates and begin week-long activities at The Sarthe.

Krohn and van de Poele will be back with the No. 75 Krohn Racing Ford Lola at the Brumos Porsche 250 on July 4th at Daytona International Speedway, their first Grand-Am event since the Rolex 24 At Daytona in January. Krohn reduced the number of races at which he would drive due to business opportunities with his primary business, W&T Offshore (WTI -- NYSE).

QUOTES:

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

The Watkins Glen circuit is a track at which Krohn Racing has had success -- twice winning the 6 Hour race (in 2005 and 2006). Now that the team has already claimed a victory this year in the Proto-Auto Lola, does that make you more optimistic about achieving success in the 6-Hour race in 2009?

"Absolutely!We know the car is really good in the rain and it often rains at The Glen so that is a factor in our favor.The car is getting more competitive and we feel that we know a lot about the track and this car, and we have tested here as well, so we think we should have a good showing here at Watkins Glen International!!"JJ Many teams will run three drivers instead of two. Talk about the pros and cons of those scenarios and why you chose only two drivers.

"We choose only two drivers because we know we can win with just two drivers and we think of it as a little tune up for the 24 Hours of Le Mans."

You will soon be headed back into the cockpit -- in the Risi-Krohn Ferrari 430 GT at Le Mans on June 13-14. Please tell us about that.

"I am sooo ready to get back in to the Ferrari 430 GT and race at Le Mans. The Ferrari actually drives a lot like our Proto-Auto Daytona Prototype. The DP just has more downforce and bigger tires. Thus the transition, as far as balance of the car is concerned, feels pretty natural."

Then you will be back in the No. 75 Krohn Racing Proto-Auto Lola Ford on the Grand-Am circuit on July 4th at Daytona. Please share your plans and your thoughts about getting back in the cockpit again for another Grand-Am race.

"The race at Daytona this year on July 4th should be a blast as we are expecting a big crowd and we will be racing rain or shine, so if it does rain, the fans should still be well entertained!This is an opportunity for Grand-Am Rolex to be showcased to a much broader audience and we think that once the fans start to get an appreciation for how close and competitive the racing is they will want to see more and more of it.Therefore, we want to be a part of that!!"

In regard to running Krohn Aviation decals on the race cars -- please tell us about this and the business itself.

"Krohn Aviation is a subsidiary of Krohn Racing and is the management entity for our Falcon 2000 aircraft and hence one of the sponsors of the race team as well.The aircraft is actually chartered through Executive Jet Management should anyone be interested."

NIC JONSSON, Driver, No. 76 Krohn Racing Ford Lola:

What do you like best about the Watkins Glen circuit?

"I feel that the Watkins Glen track is real a driver's track. It has a little bit of everything. It has some banked corners, some elevation changes, has a really fast "S" going on to the back straightaway, a long back straightaway, and hard braking zones. So I think the mix of corners and techniques you need to use pretty much covers everything you can have for a good race track. Also the surroundings up there are definitely fantastic. I think it is definitely one of my favorite tracks in this country and I'm really looking forward to going back there."

You have had success at Watkins Glen with a victory in the 6-hour race before. Now you already have a victory this year in the Proto-Auto Lola. Does that make you more optimistic about achieving success in the 6-Hour race?

"I think the Proto-Auto Lola has gotten better and better since we started the test program last year. I believe we should have as good of a chance at this Watkins Glen race as we should have everywhere else. Of course, you always have some confidence when you've won at the race track before. Also, coming back with the same car for the second year is a bonus. We have some data to fall back on even though we've changed tires from last year. We have a lot of aero data to compare to. We don't have to start from scratch like we did last year, so hopefully we'll be a little bit better out of the box. We'll have a chance to fine-tune the car a little bit before the race."

You're headed into a very busy race schedule with The Glen, Le Mans and Mid-Ohio, all back-to-back. How difficult is that? Do you get in a mode or is it exhausting?

"I think it depends on how your approach it. It could be very exhausting if you don't take the opportunity to relax when you can. There are plenty of times to try to relax, such as on the planes back and forth to Europe. And we have some down time in Le Mans between test sessions. If you want to be rested you can. If you want to get out and check out the scenic tours and that approach, you can get yourself exhausted. I think I've seen and done that before. To me it's more exciting than anything else. It's always fantastic to go back to Le Mans, which is considered one of the best races in the world in motor racing, period. I'm just excited! I don't even think about the exhausted part. Excitement is where I'm going to be focused and I think we're going to have a great run there."

RICARDO ZONTA, Driver No. 76 Krohn Racing Ford Lola:

You are headed back to an endurance race. How does your mindset change for an endurance race instead of a sprint race?

"I enjoy the Watkins Glen circuit a lot. I especially like a longer race where I get more time in the car. I believe I will get the chance to qualify the car and start, then finish, the race this weekend."

What do you like best about the Watkins Glen circuit?

"I like the long, fast, medium corners. I enjoy these areas because you can really feel the speed and the grip of the car in these corners."

The Krohn Racing team has two victories in the 6 Hours at The Glen race. The team has a victory this year in the Proto-Auto Lola. Does that make you more optimistic about achieving success in the 6-Hour race?

"Yes, this gives all of the team more confidence on the strategy because we know what worked before with the set-up. This allows us to keep a better pace for the race."

DAVID BROWN, Krohn Racing Team Manager and Engineer:

We are headed to an endurance race again. As a Team Manager and Engineer, how do you change your preparation plans and focus for an endurance race instead of a sprint race?

"The longer races are always fun. There is so much that can change in the race, so many things which, from the pit lane, you can work on to get a good result. As an engineer you have more chance to contribute as the race progresses and conditions change, and logistically there are more challenges in terms of orchestrating the activity in the pits. Even if it's green all through the race there will be five pit stops, and we expect more."

What will be the biggest challenges facing the team at The Glen?

"Well, we are well equipped with our Roush Yates Ford engine, but we have to get to the end in order to win. This means discipline and control, thinking ahead and looking out for potential pitfalls along the way. We need to be able to think on our feet to apply our race strategy and deal with changing conditions in the race."

Many teams will run three drivers instead of two. Talk about the pros and cons of those scenarios and why you chose only two drivers.

"We have two fit drivers. Both Nic and Ricardo can drive for extended periods in our car. There is always added complication with more drivers and we feel that ours are a good combination. Nic and Ricardo are able to extract the best performance from the car while maintaining restraint when necessary and turning on the speed required to win."

In 2008, Jonsson and Zonta teamed to a record two podiums, six Top 5 and nine Top 10 finishes. Additionally, Zonta claimed one pole position and one fastest lap record. In 2009 so far, Krohn Racing has one victory (New Jersey) and three DNF's in the No. 76 entry and one DNF in one race (Rolex 24) in the No. 75 Ford Lola.

The Sahlen's Six Hours of the Glen will be televised live on Saturday, June 2nd from 2:00 p.m.-4:00 p.m. ET and from 6:00 p.m.-8:30 p.m. ET for the finish.

-credit: www.krohnracing.net.

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About this article
Series Grand-Am
Drivers Ricardo Zonta , Nic Jonsson
Teams Krohn Racing