Sebring: Krohn/Risi team preview

Krohn Racing and Risi Competizione Join Forces to Field a Ferrari 430GT at Sebring Krohn Racing and Risi Competizione, both based in Houston, Texas, announced recently they joined forces to run a Ferrari 430GT in the 55th Annual 12 Hours of ...

Krohn Racing and Risi Competizione Join Forces to Field a Ferrari 430GT at Sebring

Krohn Racing and Risi Competizione, both based in Houston, Texas, announced recently they joined forces to run a Ferrari 430GT in the 55th Annual 12 Hours of Sebring race in Sebring, Florida on Saturday, March 17, 2007. They will field the green No. 61 Risi-Krohn Ferrari 430GT in the GT2 class.

Risi Competizione, who owns the exotic race car, will prepare the machine for Krohn Racing team owner/driver Tracy W. Krohn, along with his co-drivers Nic Jonsson and Colin Braun. Krohn and Jonsson regularly pair in a Daytona Prototype Pontiac Riley in the Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series. Braun is usually paired with "Mad" Max Papis in a second Krohn Racing Pontiac Riley in the same series.

Sebring will be the first race in the Ferrari 430GT for the trio. They completed a test on March 4th at Houston Motorsports Ranch.

"We had a really good test in Houston to get a feel for the Ferrari. We wanted to make sure I was going to fit comfortably and that driver changes were going to work smoothly," said Krohn, who is 6'4" tall. Braun is a very lean 6' and Jonsson is 5'8".

"The purpose of the test was to get some seat time for the drivers," said Krohn Racing Team Manager Jeff Hazell. "It was the first time to put all three drivers in the vehicle and check the ergonomics. We needed to check Tracy's stature in the car and the change between he and Colin and Nic. Fortunately, it's a very versatile car, and can accommodate quite easily. Because of that, we got a fair amount of track time for all the drivers."

"The test went smoothly. We all got comfortable with the car and working with the talented Risi team," added Krohn, who will compete in approximately 24 professional races this year in numerous series. "We're confident that it is a good car and a good team and we're all looking forward to the race and getting out there and driving a green Ferrari."

"I think we had a very good test. It was my first time to drive the F430 in race trim," said Jonsson, a native of Sweden. "It was quite helpful to get used to all the ergonomics and how everything worked mechanically. The Risi team is a very organized team so everything was on schedule and worked fantastic. I ran about six or seven laps, and Tracy and Colin each got about a half-hour, and then Tracy got back in again. We had a very uneventful test, but very productive. I think it's going to help us well for the race."

"The Krohn Racing/Risi Ferrari was really well sorted out when I first got in it," said 18-year-old American driver Colin Braun. "That is probably the thing that impressed me the most about the car. It was really well balanced when I first got in it. Rick Mayer, the Risi engineer, does a great job. It's a really fun car to drive. I enjoyed myself just the few laps I did. I'm looking forward to going to Sebring to do more laps. That will be a lot of fun."

"The car is a mid-engine and very nicely balanced," added Hazell, who was involved most recently in the ALMS series with the Cadillac LMP program. "I think we've got a very competitive car. The Risi team is excellent. The test track (Houston Motorsports Ranch) is pretty bumpy like Sebring, and the car performed very well. It looks like the set-up is going to be very good on the bumps at Sebring. All the drivers were very pleased about it. We expect good results at Sebring."

"I would say this Ferrari compares very much to the BMW M3, which I drove for the factory for four or five years," said Jonsson, a former Scandinavian Touring Car champion. "The car has a very, very solid platform. It doesn't do anything surprising. It is very stable and very predictable. When you turn in to a corner, if you feel anything, it is very easy to catch and correct the car versus some of the other production cars that you have to "tippy-toe" the car all the time because of a nervous rear end. This car is a very easy car to drive and a very well balanced car to drive. That makes it easy and nice for endurance racing."

"Although I've raced a production GT Porsche before, I thought the Ferrari is pretty darn close to driving a Daytona Prototype car, just because the Ferrari seems much more like real race car," said Braun, whose father Jeff Braun is a long-time sports car race engineer. "It makes a lot of grip and doesn't move around a lot. It has a lot of power. And obviously the Michelin tires make a lot of grip. It's just a really good tire."

In addition to the 12 Hours of Sebring Krohn, Jonsson and Braun will also team up to compete in the 75th Annual 24 Heures du Mans/24 Hours of Le Mans, June 16-17, and the Petit Le Mans race at Road Atlanta on October 4-6. Krohn and Jonsson will also pair for two additional American Le Mans Series races: The third annual Lone Star Grand Prix in Krohn's hometown of Houston, Texas and the Monterey Sports Car Championship finale in Laguna Seca, California, October 18.

Krohn and Jonsson joined Jorg Bergmeister in 2006 to compete in Le Mans GT2 class last season in a Porsche 911 GT3 RSR to an 11th-place finish. This year will be 18-year-old Braun's first time to compete in the famous French event.

Krohn, who only started racing five years ago at age 48, got his start in the Panoz Racing series. Jonsson, from Sweden, and Krohn first paired in 2004 and have been teammates since. They had 12 Top 20 finishes last season, including a fifth-place finish at the Rolex 24 At Daytona. Nic was a Touring Car and F3 champion before going sports car racing in 2001.

The 2006 GT2 Team Champions, Risi Competizione, will campaign another Ferrari 430GT for the entire ALMS series and Le Mans with its regular drivers, Mika Sala and Jaime Melo. Johnny Mowlem will join them in the red No. 62 Risi Competizione Ferrari 430GT for Sebring and Le Mans.

-credit: kr

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