Road Atlanta: Risi-Krohn Ferrari preview

Risi-Krohn Ferrari Back for 10th Annual Petit Le Mans Krohn Racing and Risi Competizione are back together for the 10th Annual Petit Le Mans race at Road Atlanta this Saturday, October 6th. The two Houston, Texas-based racing entities joined ...

Risi-Krohn Ferrari Back for 10th Annual Petit Le Mans

Krohn Racing and Risi Competizione are back together for the 10th Annual Petit Le Mans race at Road Atlanta this Saturday, October 6th. The two Houston, Texas-based racing entities joined forces earlier this year to run five races, including the 12 Hours of Sebring, the Houston Grand Prix, the 24 Hours of Le Mans, the Petit Le Mans and the American Le Mans Series (ALMS) finale at Laguna Seca.

This weekend's No. 61 Risi-Krohn Racing Ferrari 430 GT entry for Petit Le Mans will feature Krohn Racing owner/driver, Tracy W. Krohn, Krohn team regular Nic J0x00f6nsson and team newcomer Darren Turner. The Petit Le Mans is a 1000-kilometer or 10-hour race, whichever comes first, and is Round 11 of 12 on the popular American Le Mans Series.

The 2.54-mile, 12-turn challenging Road Atlanta circuit in Braselton, Georgia is home to the Petit Le Mans. The No. 62 sister car, the Risi Competizione Ferrari 430 GT of Mika Salo, Jamie Melo and Johnny Mowlem, currently lead the ALMS GT 2 class, capturing 7 of 10 race victories this season. Ferrari also leads the manufacturer's points championship.

The two-car Daytona Prototype Krohn Racing team recently finished fourth and 12th in the 2007 Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series. Krohn was awarded with the prestigious Jim Trueman Award for the top executive racer of the Series.

The Risi-Krohn Ferrari has experienced success in its first three races this year with a ninth-place finish at the 12 Hours of Sebring and a Top Ten finish in it's hometown of Houston. The real triumph for the new team was their second-place finish at the 75th running of the 24 Hours of Le Mans in Le Mans, France.

Tracy W. Krohn, owner of Krohn Racing, driver of the No. 61 Risi-Krohn Ferrari 430 GT:

After your success at Le Mans, are you ready to get back into the Ferrari 430 GT for Petit Le Mans?

"The Ferrari 430 GT is so fun to drive that I just can't wait to drive it again! Very well balanced with good power and great brakes makes it a really good package, coupled with an outstanding team!

You have some history of driving at Road Atlanta -- it is where you got your start with the Panoz Series. What do you enjoy about the circuit?

"Road Atlanta has everything in a road course. It's got nice straightaways, fast turns left and right, slow turns left and right, high speed esses, and plenty of elevation change with blind cornering as well!Throw in a bit of weather and it is certainly a challenge for any driver.For me, it's like seeing a friend again."

Petit Le Mans is another long endurance race in the Ferrari -- 1000K or 10 hours. Talk about the preparation and dependability of the Risi/Krohn Ferrari 430 GT?

"The prep and dependability for this car is spectacular, as we proved at Le Mans. We need to stay on the track and be patient, stay on the lead lap and go racing for the last couple of hours. Since racing isn't my normal day job, endurance racing is better suited for me as I get to have some help from some world class drivers, as well as lap times that are not typical of sprint races. However, Petit Le Mans is really more of a sprint race when compared to a 24-hour race. But at the 12 Hours of Sebring this year, it was obvious that all the teams were treating it as a sprint race, so I expect to see the same for Petit. Having said all that, endurance racing is the most fun for me as I get to be in the car so much more!"

Nic Jonsson, driver of the No. 61 Risi-Krohn Ferrari 430 GT:

After your success at Le Mans, are you ready to get back into the Ferrari 430 GT for Petit Le Mans?

"Yes, definitely ready to get back in the Risi-Krohn Ferrari 430 GT. We had a fantastic run at Le Mans. I don't see any reason why we can't be competitive at Petit. We won't have Colin Braun with us this weekend but we'll have Darren Turner. I don't think that will hurt our efforts at all because Darren has more experience than Colin overall and he's older and more experienced. He actually won Petit Le Mans last year with Prodrive in the Aston Martin. I think we will have a really good run and I'm really looking forward to getting back in it."J Road Atlanta is your home track -- talk about the benefits of race at home and your favorite part of the Road Atlanta circuit.

"Yes, it's a home track because I live close to Road Atlanta so it's as much of a home track as anywhere. I feel pretty much at home anywhere I go if I've been there once before. I don't truly consider any track to have a home advantage or disadvantage. I see Road Atlanta as a very challenging, exciting, all around track for a race car driver that can handle different scenarios. I think the advantage I may have is that I get to sleep in my own bed and eat home cooking. That's probably the advantage. As far as the race, I don't think there's going to be any advantage other than that.b^0x001cI really enjoy the esses on top of the hill -- from turn three down to turn five. It reminds me very much of Donnington Park, which is probably one of my favorite track in the world to race on. I've had a lot of success as well in the past there. At turn one at Donnington, you have these really long, sweeping esses. It's a little tighter here at Road Atlanta, but it's still the same feeling where you go really fast and flat out and you really trust the set-up and the car to hold on. I think that's my favorite part of the Road Atlanta race track."J You've competed in about 8 of 9 Petit Le Mans -- how do you like the race?

"I certainly am a big fan of the American Le Mans Series and I think it's a great series. I think Petit Le Mans was something that Dr. Panoz created from being a big sports car fan. Although this will only be the tenth year anniversary, I think this race has really earned its respect from the world-class drivers because it is a special event. After Le Mans and Sebring, it is probably the best-attended sports car race in the world. It's a very exciting race to come to as a driver each year. There seems to be a crowd here that is very knowledgeable about sports car racing and the drivers and the cars. That makes it even more exciting for us driver because people come up and ask very intelligent questions. It's actually exciting to answer those questions. People really have a passion for the sport. That's a big tribute to Dr. Panoz for the past ten years. I've been very fortunate to be a part of it almost every race since then. From one year to another, the race keeps getting bigger and bigger, with more manufacturers involved, and more and more top-notch drivers competing that want to race in Petit Le Mans because they considered it to be one of the biggest races in the world."J You have a new co-driver, Darren Turner. Your thoughts?

"As far as Darren goes, I don't really know him personally. Obviously I've heard of him and seen a lot of him because he's been very successful in Europe. He obviously won Le Mans this year and Petit Le Mans last year. To me, it will be real exciting to have Darren as a teammate. He is considered a world-class driver and one of the best in this type of racing. For me, who has been doing this for quite a while, it is always exciting to get paired up with other pure professionals that, whether I've met them or not, their results speaks for itself. I can't wait to meet him and get in the car together and hopefully go out and have a very successful Petit Le Mans."

Talk about the preparation and dependability of the Risi/Krohn Ferrari 430 GT at an endurance race like Petit Le Mans.

"I think they've shown all year, especially at Le Mans, that the car ran flawless the whole 24 hours. It didn't really have any mechanical issues. The only issues were the weather, with the rain and drying track, but mechanically the car was perfectly prepared. Michelotto did a perfect job for the whole race. Michelin did a great job giving us the right tires at the right time. I don't even think about that, which is fantastic as a driver if you can take the whole reliability issues out of the equation and just focus on your driving. You don't have to worry about car's reliability and you can just work with your other co-drivers on driving and getting the car right. I can't say enough about the Risi-Krohn crew that prepared this car. They worked really hard and that shows with the results, even with the sister car, which is leading the championship this year. I think that says it all. It's a first class team and the car results proved it this year."Darren Turner, driver of the No. 61 Risi-Krohn Ferrari 430 GT:

How do you like the Road Atlanta circuit?

"I've always really enjoyed Petit Le Mans and the Road Atlanta track is very challenging and technical, and you have to be brave around there to do well -- my favorite kind of track! If you lack commitment you lose speed, simple as that. This will be my third Petit Le Mans and I think that Road Atlanta is one of the hardest tracks I have had to learn in North America. It's fast, hilly and with several blind crests and corners and it takes a little time to really get into it. Actually, it's good to go to a circuit that makes you concentrate; you have to show this track respect, so it's very rewarding when you get a lap right."Are you looking forward to driving the Ferrari 430 with Risi/Krohn?

"Risi Competizione and Krohn Racing will be my third Ferrari team this year and I'm really looking forward to the experience as they obviously have a proven record of success. I didn't expect to be driving with Ferrari at the start of the year, but I will end up doing seven races in the 430 GT and now feel quite at home. It's very fast and competitive and also one of those cars which needs a certain type of driving style to get the best out of it. The more you drive the F430, the faster you will get."

You have had previous success at Petit Le Mans, tell us what that means to you.

"I was lucky enough to win Petit Le Mans last year (in GT1) and there's always a fantastic atmosphere which will no doubt be even better this year because of the 10th anniversary. It's a great race to win and, along with Sebring, one of the two major ALMS racing events of the year. Let's hope we have as good a race as Tracy and Nic did at Le Mans this year!"

The 10th Annual Petit Le Mans race is scheduled to start at 11:15 am ET. SPEED TV will provide live coverage from 11:00 a.m. to 1:00 pm and again from 6:30 p.m. to 10:00 pm.


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About this article
Series ALMS
Drivers Nic Jönsson
Teams Krohn Racing , Risi Competizione