The Krohn Racing team went directly from Lime Rock Park to the Finger Lakes Region of New York state this week for the Sahlen's Six Hours of the Glen GRAND-Am Rolex Sports Car Series race, June 5. The regular race on the GRAND-Am schedule is held...
The Krohn Racing team went directly from Lime Rock Park to the Finger Lakes Region of New York state this week for the Sahlen's Six Hours of the Glen GRAND-Am Rolex Sports Car Series race, June 5. The regular race on the GRAND-Am schedule is held at the legendary Watkins Glen International sports car circuit. The No. 75 Krohn Racing Ford Proto-Auto Lola will be driven by team owner/driver Tracy W. Krohn and teammate Nic Jonsson.
The Krohn Racing team is just coming off a ninth place finish at Lime Rock, where Jonsson collected his first GRAND-AM Prototype pole position. From Watkins Glen Tracy Krohn and Nic Jonsson will head directly to Le Mans, France, where they will compete in the No. 83 Risi-Krohn Ferrari 430 GT in the 78th annual 24 Hours of Le Mans race. Former Le Mans winner Eric van de Poele will rejoin them in the cockpit of the Ferrari.
TRACY W. KROHN, Team Owner/Driver No. 75 Krohn Racing Ford Lola:
You will be back to another race -- at Watkins Glen -- later this week. Are you enjoying these back-to-back races? Is the regular seat time helping you with consistency as a driver? "I actually do enjoy the back-to-back races because it does allow more consistent seat time. I have found that the seat time I get just prior to Le Mans is very important to my performance at Le Mans, so I believe there is a direct relationship to my performance at Le Mans because I feel that when I get there, I am ready to race at this historically relevant and very challenging venue."
You have had a lot of success at Watkins Glen over the years, including your DP victory with Nic. What is it about Watkins Glen that works for you and your team so well? "The Glen has been very good to Krohn Racing over the years. I think that what works so well at Watkins Glen is that we are always able to get the car setup right for the race and that we generally do pretty well in variable weather conditions like we often get at the Glen. I think part of it is also a mental attitude that we have in that we have had a lot of success there so as a team we expect to have success."
What adjustments do you make as a driver to go from sprint race mode to endurance race mode? "There is actually no adjustment anymore as the teams, cars, and drivers have become so good that it is really just a longer sprint race. You have to be ready to go when the green flag drops and keep going hard until the checkered flag drops and know that the race is going to be very close at the end."
What's your favorite part about the Watkins Glen circuit? "I really like all the altitude changes like the uphill esses where we try to make the car as stable as possible while not sacrificing any speed and then turns 1, 6, 8, and 9, which require a bit of finesse under braking. This track has just about every dynamic in sports car racing in that there are high, low, and medium speed turns, high, medium, and soft braking areas, and then plenty of altitude change too. The walls are pretty close too. When you take all of that and then throw in a bit of weather, this track is as enjoyable and challenging as any we drive."
NIC JONSSON, Driver, No. 75 Krohn Racing Ford Lola:
The teams go from Lime Rock immediately to Watkins Glen. Do you like the back-to-back races? What do you do for the few days in between? "I think this past weekend at Lime Rock was a little bit too compressed. A one day event is very tough. It's difficult to run on Monday and then start running again on Friday. If this would have been a normal week we would have likely raced on Saturday, like we normally do, then it's no problem at all for back-to-back races. This is a little bit too compressed, especially if you have some sort of an incident that you have to do repairs to your car. We were lucky enough and didn't have that issue with the Krohn car. It's ok and especially it's good for guys like Tracy who get to drive very continuously at this point, which is beneficial for him to get seat time.
I get to go home and pack my bag for the next three weeks. We go to the Glen in a couple of days and then directly to Le Mans for ten days and then straight from Le Mans to Mid-Ohio. So it's good to get a day or so to go home and pack for the lengthy trip and also spend an afternoon and night with my family before I take off and not get to see them for the next three weeks."
What adjustments do you make as a driver to go from sprint race mode to endurance race mode? "Basically, the pace will be a little different. You're not going to go out and drive qualifying laps each and every lap when you do an endurance race like Watkins Glen. You maybe prepare yourself better with food and try to get additional sleep and rest your body a couple of days earlier, particularly the night before. That's the biggest adjustment you make."
The team has had a lot of success at Watkins Glen including one of your DP victories and with Tracy. What is it about Watkins Glen that works so well for the team, you and Tracy? "I think Watkins Glen is a traditional race track. It's very technical and has a little bit of everything including fast sweeping corners, stop-and-go corners, up and down. So, it's a very technical track. We are kind of technical drivers, along with a very good, experienced crew and engineering staff to help us by preparing a good car for us for long runs to not burn the tires off in the first half hour. I think it is a combination of a lot of things. We are working to make the car handle for us for the whole run not just for one or two fast laps. That's the way we do it."
What's your favorite part about the Watkins Glen circuit? "Watkins Glen is a historical and traditional race track and has elements of everything. I think Watkins Glen is one of the greatest tracks in this country. It's a nice place to go. You have high speed, you have hard braking and it just has everything. It's a great track with nice surroundings and a nice facility so it's a great place to go racing."
DAVID BROWN, Krohn Racing Team Manager and Engineer:
You only have a few days to go from Lime Rock to Watkins Glen and prep for a 6-hour race. What must the team do and how difficult is it? "We are accustomed to short gaps in the schedule and our procedures and planning allow us to be well prepared, the car will be prepared to a slightly different spec but it's actually relatively straightforward."
What adjustments do the team and crew make to go from sprint race mode to endurance race mode? "The car is designed as a 24 hour car and although we have had to develop most of the car systems to make it competitive the basic structure and layout of the car doesn't change for a long race. We substitute some components fit different brakes and we are almost there."
The Krohn Racing team has had a lot of success at Watkins Glen over the years. What is it about Watkins Glen that works so well for this team? "It's hard to say, it's a medium downforce track and the conditions can be variable, it requires a bit more patience and tenacity pays off. Generally the race rewards planning and the ability to cope with adverse circumstances, at which we are generally well practiced."