There have been numerous challenges during the preparation for tomorrow’s WEC 6 Hours of Bahrain race. The Krohn Racing Team has been working on car set-up, tire preservation, how to overcome the stifling desert temperatures for both the drivers and crew and assisting the drivers in learning a brand new circuit.
The Krohn Team is very eager to put their GTE-Am Ferrari F458 on the podium at the new 6.299 km Bahrain International Circuit, which has impressed them all.
TRACY W. KROHN, Krohn Racing Team Owner/Driver, No. 57 Krohn Racing Ferrari F458 GTE-Am: “We made some changes to the car since yesterday’s practice and I could tell the car was much better. I was looking forward to qualifying at that point.
I came around on the first flying lap. I was considerably quicker than I had been. On the second lap I hit the inside curb at Turn 2 fairly aggressively. I didn’t think it was going to be a problem, but I got called in and had a left rear puncture.
Once we looked at it w saw there was a screw in the tire. Not sure where that came from. Without the puncture, we would have had a better qualifying session. The car was much better and we are moving in the right direction. We’re ready for the race tomorrow.”
Regarding the Bahrain International Circuit: “I love it! It’s fantastic. The track is beautiful, really pretty. It’s a challenging track and the facility is extremely nice. The people are very friendly. It’s warm and more humid today than it has been.
It cools off in the evening and it’s almost dark at 5:30. The temperatures go down from about 100 degrees to 85 but with the humidity it doesn’t seem to be too bad. As soon as sun comes up in the morning and the wind starts moving it pick up more humidity.”
NIC JONSSON, No. 57 Krohn Racing Ferrari F458 GTE-Am: “First of all, the facility is fantastic. We’ve been to several Formula 1 FIA-sanctioned tracks this year, including Spa and Silverstone. If you look at the whole facility, it beats everything.
As far as the track itself, it’s a fun configuration. It’s obviously in the middle of the desert so it’s a little in comparison like Miller Motorsports Park in Utah as far as grip level and how the track changes a lot from how the sand blows over.
There are some really, really hard braking zones. Brake wear is quite high here. You have three first gear corners and another three or four second-gear corners, so it’s a lot of stop and go.
But you also have the element of long, sweeping fast corners. The track has all the differences you can ask for as a driver. The closing speed to the faster prototype cars are fantastically quick because of the long straightaways we have and fast corners leading onto the straight. I really like it and I think it’s going to be a very nice and challenging race tomorrow.”
“I didn’t drive today; it was just Michele and Tracy. We worked on the set-up yesterday and got the car better. We were dealing a little bit with entry oversteeer, so we couldn’t really attack the corners because the front end was a little too pointy and it made the rear end very loose.
We’ve been working on that with a lot of difference changes. When Tracy went out to qualify today, he felt the car was much better. Unfortunately, he got a puncture on Lap 2, so we never got to run a good lap in qualifying.
Tracy actually ran about two seconds quicker than he has all week, which is also a good indicator that the car is much better right now.”
“It’s going to be very critical tomorrow to take care of brakes and tires. We’ve seen a lot of people struggling with tire wear and degradation. I think it will be key to not push too hard at the beginning of the stint.
Also, the temperatures are more severe than we have seen anywhere else this year, so we have to keep those two things in mind. I feel pretty confident we’ll have a good race tomorrow.
We need to have good luck that we’ve been missing this year so far. Hopefully you’ll see us on the podium tomorrow!”
MICHELE RUGOLO, No. 57 Krohn Racing Ferrari F458 GTE-Am: “I think today we had some issues because the track is changing a lot. With these kinds of events, you don’t have much time for testing and especially in this kind of race track where the conditions are changing from the first lap until the last one.
You just keep discovering new stuff with the car. We figured out that our car was a bit unstable in the rear, especially in the braking in the first part of the corners. In the last free practice we had some big issues with this problem.
We put some more wing and Tracy said the car was absolutely different from the previous session. I think we went the right way. We still have to work a little bit though as it’s not fixed 100%. I think that David chose the right way.”
“As always, it will be a very tough race, especially because 80% of the race is at night. The illumination of the track is not like Abu Dhabi or Singapore, but it’s okay. It’s better than Le Mans or Sebring from the lighting point of view.
It’s a bit more difficult to see and with the prototypes there will be the usual issues. Also the heat and humidity will be factors. Although you don’t feel it very much in the car you get very dehydrated.
It’s something you really need to take care of. Our team doctor, Vincenzo Tota, is doing a great job as always taking care of us and this will be our plus.”
“The circuit is nice. It’s very technical, super technical I would say. You have to really pay attention because if you go out of line you can find either rubber from the other cars but also a lot of dust.
This will be another key point for the race. There are not so many fast corners, which is actually a thing I don’t like as much because I like corners like Eau Rouge at Spa-Francorchamps. It’s very wide and a very technical track and the facilities are amazing.”
DAVID BROWN, Krohn Racing Team Manager/Race Engineer: “We had qualifying this morning and we made some big changes for the car for qualifying which seemed to have improved it a lot.
Unfortunately, due to the fact we had a screw sticking in the middle of the rear tire, which punctured it, we weren’t able to see how big of an improvement that was.
Having done one lap though, Tracy was quite convinced it was much better and he was seconds faster than in the morning practice. So, we think we’re heading in the right direction and we’ll make a few more changes for tomorrow.”
“The track itself is hard on the brakes and takes a lot out of the rear tires because there are many low speed corners so there is lots of stress on the rear tires. It’s about 36 Celsius every day and it’s quite constant, day or night, between 33 and 36 C degrees.
It gets dark very early so by 5:45 p.m. it’s almost dark. Our race will only have about an hour and 45 minutes in daylight and the rest will be in the dark with cooler track temperatures. It’s obviously quite difficult for the guys working on the cars.
They get very warm in their firesuits and they don’t have the luxury of the drivers have with the air conditioning. The cockpit temperatures seem to be under control and the drivers are quite happy. “
Source: Krohn Racing