WEC

Krohn Racing ready for 2012 season starting at Sebring

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Krohn Racing press release

Krohn Racing Positioned to Embark on FIA WEC Inaugural Race at 12 Hours of Sebring

Tracy Krohn
Tracy Krohn

Photo by: Alexander Trienitz

The No. 57 Krohn Racing Ferrari F458 team of owner/driver Tracy W. Krohn, Nic Jönsson and Michele Rugolo are ready to return to the global stage and embark on the inaugural FIA World Endurance Championship season. The showcase event at the season start is the 60th anniversary of the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring Fueled by Fresh from Florida for ALMS/FIA WEC race, March 17 at Sebring International Raceway.

Thirty cars will participate in the new 2012 FIA World Endurance Championship, an extension of the Intercontinental Le Mans Cup (ILMC), initiated by the ACO, in which Krohn Racing participated in 2011. The WEC revives the historical thread of the World Championship of Makes of the 1950’s, 60s and 70s, the Endurance World Championship Group C of the 1980s and the World Sports Car Championship of the 1990s. It features prototypes and GTs on the same grid in cars driven by both professional and gentleman drivers.

The 2012 running of the 12 Hours of Sebring will add another 33 American Le Mans Series cars to the grid, for an expected total of 63. Krohn Racing will face competition for seven GTE-Am class cars vying for the WEC year-end championship. Another five GTE-Pro cars will comprise the total GT count for FIA WEC. Another ten ALMS GT cars will adjoin to create a formidable GT field. Porsche, BMW and Chevy Corvette will make viable challengers for the new Ferrari F458 of Krohn Racing. Although the F458 is brand new for the Krohn Racing team, GTE-Am cars must run one year old, 2011 specs.

Krohn Racing was the 2011 victor of the 12 Hours of Sebring in the GTE-Am class with the trio of Krohn, Jönsson and Rugolo, and come prepared to defend its success at the 60th annual round.

TRACY W. KROHN, Team Owner/Driver No. 57 Krohn Racing Ferrari F458 GTE-Am:

This year is the 60th anniversary of the 12 Hours of Sebring. How do you feel racing on such hallowed grounds and with so much history at this track?
“Sebring has a great deal of history, going back to the early 1950s. The winners of this race are like a who’s who of motor racing – Sterling Moss, Juan Manuel Fangio, Mario Andretti, Phil Hill, Dan Gurney, just to name a few. Ferrari has won at Sebring a dozen times. Porsche and Audi are also big winners at Sebring. The history is definitely a part of what makes Sebring so special, especially on a momentous year like the 60th!”

Krohn Racing was last year’s GTE-Am class winner at the 12 Hours of Sebring. Do you think you can do it again this year?
“Everybody wants to win Sebring. There’s no doubt it’s on every driver’s list. It was sure on mine and we did it last year in our class. Of course, now I want to do it again. But that’s always our goal at every race. We don’t go racing to finish in second place!”

Ferrari has won overall at Sebring 12 times…the first in 1956 and the last in 1998. What is it like to be a team owner/driver of a Ferrari in an international sports car racing arena?
“Racing a Ferrari at a track like Sebring is special. It gives me pause sometimes to think about the beautiful Ferraris that won here over the decades. The Ferrari 333 SP was the last Ferrari to win overall at Sebring in the 1990s. Even though we are in the GT class with the F458 or last year’s Ferrari 430, it doesn’t dim the feeling of driving and being a class winner in a Ferrari at Sebring. I enjoy every moment of it. We always get a lot of Ferrari fans cheering us on at Sebring and that just adds to it.”

What is one of the most challenging factors about racing at Sebring?
“Sebring is a physically demanding track. Although it’s a flat track, it’s extremely bumpy. At the end of 12 hours, you feel like it’s been 36 hours because your body gets abused so much. Sebring is also a very technical track with 17 corners, multiple surface changes and so many different lines you can take through any given corner, especially Turn 17. Keeping an eye on your mirrors is always critical, especially when you’re in a GT car. There are hard braking zones, high-speed turns, and quick transitions. Add in the unpredictability of the weather and you have a recipe for an exciting and challenging race.”

NIC JONSSON, Driver, No. 57 Krohn Racing Ferrari F458 GTE-Am:

This year is the 60th anniversary of the 12 Hours of Sebring. How do you feel racing on such hallowed grounds and with so much history at this track?
“It’s fantastic to be back at the 12 Hours of Sebring again with Krohn Racing and our new Ferrari F458. We plan to go after the WEC championship in 2012. To be able to start off the season at the 60th anniversary of Sebring, which has such a history is perfect. All the big name drivers since back in the 1950’s and 60s, like drivers for Porsche and Jaguar, and Ferrari and others are quite an impressive group of guys to be following to run the 60th anniversary race. It’s a real pleasure and honor to be able to be there for this great occasion with Krohn Racing. I’m really looking forward to the whole event.”

Krohn Racing has a new Ferrari F458 built to 2011 specs for the GTE-Am class for 2012. How has everything been going with the new car so far with the couple of tests you have done?
“The new Ferrari F458 is definitely the next generation race car. It’s very well engineered and laid out car, both in the cockpit and from an aerodynamic standpoint, and from a handling standpoint as well. I’m incredibly excited about driving this new Ferrari F458 and the few runs we’ve done with the car have been very positive. We did a little shakedown in Atlanta before we went to Sebring to do the winter test for two days earlier in February. We had a very good first couple of days of running. The car was reliable. We were able to work on set-ups and get a consistent and a good handling car to keep the tires underneath it for a full run. We were running decent lap times as well. I’m definitely looking forward to go back and get the season started and have very big hopes for both this season overall and for Krohn Racing and our new Ferrari.”

Michele Rugolo is back with you and Tracy as a co-driver for 2012. Talk about his return.
“I think it’s always good when you can keep continuity with a team. Michele came in last year to the team as a recommendation from Ferrari. He has a lot of Ferrari experience, driving for one of the European Ferrari teams for the past six years. He fit right in and is a very nice and talented young driver that we were fortunate enough to get on the driver rooster for Krohn Racing. I believe he will be a beneficial addition this year as well, and be a big part of, hopefully, our successes. Michele is a very consistent, safe pair of hands and also a good guy to be around. We‘re looking forward to having him back and helping us achieve our goals this year.”

MICHELE RUGOLO, Driver, No. 57 Krohn Racing Ferrari F458 GTE-Am:

Sebring will be the first race of the new FIA World Endurance Championship in which Krohn Racing will be competing in the entire eight-race series. What are your expectations and thoughts about the new sports car championship?
“I think that the championship will be very difficult, but at the same time it will be a fantastic experience. We will go to many places and we will drive on many fantastic circuits. I hope to win the championship. We have fantastic car, best engineer, professional crew, so all we need is to do a good job!”

Krohn Racing was last year’s GTE-Am class winner at the 12 Hours of Sebring. Is it more pressure to go back to Sebring to defend your victory?
“Actually it is no more pressure because we are defending the victory, but a little because it is the first race of the year.”

Ferrari has won overall at Sebring 12 times…the first in 1956 and the last in 1998. What is it like to be a driver of a Ferrari in an international sports car racing arena?
“I am really proud to drive a Ferrari. I’m Italian so I feel this brand is very important to me.”

What is it like to be with an American team in an international world championship?
“Apparently normal. I spent last year with Krohn so now it would be strange not to be with the team. I feel like I am at home for 23 hours a day. I miss Italy just for lunch and dinner time!”

DAVID BROWN, Krohn Racing Team Manager/Race Engineer:

Krohn Racing has a new Ferrari F458 built to 2011 specs for the GTE-Am class for 2012. How has everything been going with the new car so far with the couple of tests you have done?
“We did the Sebring test for two days and the car ran both quite quickly and reliably those two days. We did a half a day at Road Atlanta prior to that. In fact we like the car. The drivers seem to as well. Tracy and Nic did the driving at the test and they enjoyed it. The car is quite well balanced, seems to have good performance level in it and we are really looking forward to racing it.”

Michele Rugolo is back with Krohn Racing as a co-driver for 2012. Talk about his return.
“We are pleased and looking forward to getting Michele back on the team. He did a good job last season. He fitted straight in to the team, had a good attitude, very high level of skill, makes very few mistakes behind the wheel and actually compliments the other two drivers. We think he is absolutely the ideal choice for us. He’s going to do another good job for us this year.”

Krohn Racing was last year’s GTE-Am class winner at the 12 Hours of Sebring. Is it more pressure to go back to Sebring to defend your victory? What is your game plan?
“I think the pressure is mainly internal, as it is for every race. We turn up with the intention of winning. We’ll be pushing ourselves just as hard to win this race as we do every other race. The game plan is to be quick enough to be competitive, to be reliable and to have a clean race so that we can overcome all the opposition over the length of the 12 hour race. We only have to lead when we cross the line at the end of the last lap and that’s the most important part of it.”

JEFF HAZELL, Krohn Racing Motorsports Manager:

#57 Krohn Racing Ferrari F458 GT: Tracy Krohn, Niclas Jonsson, Michele Rugolo
#57 Krohn Racing Ferrari F458 GT: Tracy Krohn, Niclas Jonsson, Michele Rugolo

Photo by: Mike Geng

Krohn Racing is competing in the new FIA World Endurance Championship for the entire eight-race series in 2012. What are your thoughts and expectations about the new international sports car championship?
“This Championship is very, very challenging on all levels. The Championship organization has quickly established a team of professionals to ensure the fans get a really memorable day track side, that the TV package will be exciting and of great quality and the races administration efficient and team friendly.

Not only does endurance racing test the driving and crew skills on track for 72 racing hours around 80 pit stops, but the team operations are particularly pressured with the last 5 races almost back-to-back with very limited servicing time as the cars fly around the globe. Thus the 2012 WEC is a big step from last year’s ILMC, but recognition of the WEC’s potential has encouraged commitment from many and I expect that commitment will be rewarded in the coming years.

There is of course, a greater variety of equipment and technology within the WEC field than in any other international motor sport. The WEC is the perfect contest for the wealth of new technology that endurance racing will accelerate towards production cars and benefit the motorist and our planet. As all of this develops WEC has the potential to attract more fans, more manufacturers and more partners.”


You have brought back Michele Rugolo and basically the same team as last year but with a new Ferrari F458. How are you planning on building on last year’s team successes this season? “Racing teams must be very self-critical. Our 2011 performance, while not perfect, had excellent reliability from team preparations, sound pit work and good car set ups. We can maintain those standards. In GT-AM, the drivers really must work as a team so that their different skills and speed combined is the equal of any other AM team. We believe we had that speed in our 2011 driving team. Michele was exactly what we needed to go with Tracy and Nic in and out of the cockpit. We had good tires and support from Dunlop and we enjoyed support from Michelotto, but have worked this winter to have even closer technical and logistical support and we expect to achieve near maximum performance from the F458 at the first event.

We do need to be better at the six hour races. Last year we won Sebring and Petit, perhaps because we understood those races better than our competitors. We were comfortable, too, at Le Mans until the engine failed, but the six hour race needs a different approach. If we can master this then we can win the Championship!”

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Tags ferrari, jonsson, krohn, rugolo

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