Krohn Racing returns to the iconic 4.352-mile (7.004 kilometer) Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps in Spa, Belgium this week for Round Two of the 2013 FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC), the 6 Hours of Spa-Francorchamps.
The Krohn Racing driving trio of team owner/driver Tracy W. Krohn, of Houston, Texas, Nic Jönsson of Bankeryd, Sweden, now living in Atlanta, Georgia and Maurizio Mediani of Reggio Emilia, Italy, will pilot the No. 57 Krohn Racing Ferrari F458.
In Round One at the 6 Hours of Silverstone the popular green-and-blue Ferrari finished in sixth place in the competitive GTE-Am class. The team comes to Spa hungry for points in the 2013 GTE-Am championship hunt.
TRACY W. KROHN, Krohn Racing Team Owner/Driver, No. 57 Krohn Racing Ferrari F458 GTE-Am:
Spa is such an iconic European race circuit. What is it like to drive the famous track and is the Ferrari F458 the perfect car for it? “Spa has everything you could ever ask from a race track with big elevation, hairpins, hard braking zones, flat out corners with change of directions. For a man like me who does not make his living at racing cars, Spa is the quintessential race track that young men dream about racing. It’s a very challenging track and the Ferrari is a very well balanced car so it suits the Spa track well!”
An additional entry has been added for GTE-Am class, with another Ferrari by AF Corse. Competition seems to keep getting more intense in this class. Please share your thoughts about that. “Although another entry, and especially a Ferrari, adds an additional challenge for us, it’s also exciting to see the GTE-Am class continue to grow. It makes me want to and have to work harder at my driving skills to be the best I can be.”
Spa is the last race before the 24 Hours of Le Mans. How much does the team use this race to prepare for the legendary 24 hour event? “Every race leading up to Le Mans is a great opportunity to work on fine tuning driver changes and pit stops but Spa being the last chance to work on this in race conditions makes it even more important.”
NIC JONSSON, No. 57 Krohn Racing Ferrari F458 GTE-Am:
Did you ever race at Spa before Krohn Racing and if so tell us about it? “I raced at Spa several time back in the early 1990’s in European F3. I love the Spa track and its awesome and enthusiastic fans.”
The recent Silverstone race was a little challenging with the variable weather conditions but the Krohn Team got important points towards the championship. Could weather conditions at Spa be similar and how important will the Michelin tires be? “The weather is always a challenge at Spa this time of year, but being on the Michelin tires makes the weather conditions less concerning for us. Any race track is more challenging in rain but Spa more than others with all the elevations you facing there. Even though we had a tough race at Silverstone we still gained valuable points for the Championship.”
An additional entry has been added for GTE-Am class, with another Ferrari by AF Corse. Competition seems to keep getting more intense in this class. Please share your thoughts about that. “I think it just show that the WEC has started to be looked at as the premier sport car series in the world! It’s great to see another Ferrari in the field.”
MAURIZIO MEDIANI, No. 57 Krohn Racing Ferrari F458 GTE-Am:
Did you ever race at Spa before Krohn Racing and if so tell us about it? “I drove in Spa couple of times. In 2008 I won a race two of the Open GT championship with a Ferrari 430 GT2. Last year I did few laps in a free practice with the Ferrari 458 GT3, but a I had a big accident in a Bus stop corner, and I went to the hospital with a broken rib on my left side.”
Spa is such an iconic European race circuit. What is it like to drive the famous track and is the Ferrari F458 the perfect car for it? “The most difficult thing of Spa is that the weather is very changeable, plus there are a lot of blind corner. I don’t think that the GTE car will be the perfect car for this type of circuit because there are a few corners where it will be difficult to be fast. They can be full throttle in the qualifying and maybe not during the race. I believe it is much easier with an LMP1 and LMP2, always full throttle.”
An additional entry has been added for GTE-Am class, with another Ferrari by AF Corse. Competition seems to keep getting more intense in this class. Please share your thoughts about that. “I said before starting the championship that the season will be very difficult for all of us. There are a lot of cars and good drivers, with even more this year than the last two seasons. Plus, the balance of performance is not good. I believe somebody did a big mistake because there is a big difference between our Ferrari and Aston Martin and Corvette. I hope that somebody provides a change for this.”
DAVID BROWN, Krohn Racing Team Manager/Race Engineer:
What kind of changes has the team made since the recent Silverstone race? “We have had a good look at the Silverstone performance and we have highlighted some particular areas where we need to improve, so we have worked on them and we will continue to do so over the race weekend at Spa.”
Weather will likely be a factor again for Spa. How important will the Michelin tires be at this race? “We are sure that the Michelin tires are the right choices for Spa. We didn’t have them last year and the whole event was very difficult as a result. We know we have the right tires available. It’s up to us to make the right choices in the condition. We have good engineering support from Michelin to aid us in those choices.”
In your opinion, is the Ferrari F458 and the Spa circuit a perfect combination? “At the moment, based on Silverstone, it looks like the imposed balance of performance, inside which we have to work, is slightly offset in favor of our competitors. The governing body are aware of this and we await their response to this issue. We see no reason, based on proper application of the rules, that our Ferrari F458 should not be the package to beat.”
AF Corse has added another entry, increasing the GTE-Am grid to nine cars and a total of four Ferraris. How much more difficult does that make the points chase for Krohn Racing? “All competition is good. We see it not as a difficulty but as a sign of the growing strength of GT racing, and in particular the AM category, which provides an arena for the drivers who invest their own money to enjoy that investment on- track. The fact that the two classes in the WEC which encourage gentleman drivers (LMP2 and GTE-AM) are the two biggest classes demonstrates that this is the direction modern racing has to follow and also the WEC’s recognition of this fact. The idea of competition is to challenge yourself against that competition. It is supposed to make you look beyond the normal and mundane and to extract the best from people and machinery in extraordinary circumstances and it is those who embrace this who will triumph.
This event is an experiment in terms of scheduling, being the first two-day event in the WEC. It makes the Friday an intense day of activity with four hours of practice, as well as qualifying, all in one day. The race on Saturday is preceded by a short warm-up session, and then into the six hour race in the afternoon. Everyone loves Spa. It’s a fabulous setting and an awesome track which embodies some of the most famous and infamous corners in racing.”
In 2012 Krohn Racing was third in GTE-Am points with one second-place finish and four third-place finishes. A victory was elusive to Krohn Racing in 2012, however the Krohn Team collected two class victories in both U.S. rounds of the 2011 Intercontinental Le Mans Series (ILMS) at the 12 Hours of Sebring and Petit Le Mans.