Krohn Racing Announces Plans For 2009 Rolex 24 At Daytona Grand-Am Race Krohn Racing returns to the Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series for the Rolex 24 At Daytona in 2009 for its fourth time as an independent race team of owner/driver Tracy ...
Krohn Racing Announces Plans For 2009 Rolex 24 At Daytona Grand-Am Race
Krohn Racing returns to the Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series for the Rolex 24 At Daytona in 2009 for its fourth time as an independent race team of owner/driver Tracy W. Krohn.
The driver line-up for the 47th Annual Rolex 24 At Daytona, will include Tracy Krohn paired again with endurance sports car veteran Eric van de Poele in the No. 75 entry, along with Brit Oliver Gavin. The No. 76 car will re-join team regular Nic Jonsson with former Formula One star Ricardo Zonta and English sports car ace Darren Turner. The six drivers were paired identically in last year's Rolex 24 At Daytona.
Krohn Lolas to be Powered by Ford Engines in 2009
The Proto-Auto Lolas, which Krohn Racing debuted in March 2008 at the Miami Grand Prix at Miami-Homestead Speedway will be powered by Roush-Yates prepared Ford engines in 2009.
TRACY W. KROHN, Krohn Racing Team Owner/ No. 75 Driver: "We are very pleased with the driver line-up we've assembled for 2009. Having the same six drivers back together for the Rolex 24 will add to the viability of a potential victory. I'm pleased to have Eric and Oliver teamed with me again. We started out the 2008 season with a seventh-place finish in the most difficult race of the year. The three of us worked together well and had good chemistry, which is important. The entire team has good chemistry and that is a major ingredient for success. Ricardo and Darren are paired again with Nic and I believe that is also a successful pairing. We've got a long race ahead of us with a lot of testing between now and then. We're optimistic about a positive outcome."
"We are now running the Ford engines on our Proto-Auto Lolas. Unfortunately, Pontiac decided at the end of race year in 2008 that they will discontinue track support. With the continued testing and improvement we plan for the Proto-Auto chassis, it continues to be our focus. We want and need track support with our engine program and Pontiac, unfortunately, couldn't offer that any more. We believe Pontiac, along with CRD and Bob Cronin and his staff, did a superb job for us the past couple of years, and have always given us good and reliable engines. We had to make a decision which route we were going to go and Ford was the obvious choice for us. We worked with Ford in 2006 with John Maddox from Roush-Yates Engines. They did a great job for us back then with a very reliable product and we won the Driver's Championship that year. We already had a relationship with them and they offer a good track support program so that made that made it an easy decision to switch back to Ford engines."
DAVID BROWN, Krohn Racing Team Manager and Engineer: "With regard to switching to Ford engines, we had become increasingly uneasy at the reduction in support offered by Pontiac to their engine program Having reviewed the options available in Grand-Am, we decided to renew our relationship with Ford and Roush-Yates Engines. This relationship had proved to be successful in 2006 when the team won the Driver's Championship. So far the relationship between Krohn Racing and Roush-Yates engines has been very good,and we have covered 1,700 miles in testing without issue on the engine side."2008 has been a challenging year in many areas. We have put enormous effort into developing the Proto-Auto Lola, and we still are, at every test. Our intention for 2009 is to consolidate those developments and improvements we made in 2008 and use the experience we have gained to have a good Daytona 24-hour race for both cars."
"We believe we have a very strong team of dedicated and talented people, all of whom share the same goals for 2009. The will to succeed is powerful throughout the team. We will keep the same core of personnel for 2009. Continuityand long-term commitment are strong incentives to retain our current group. We have secured the same six drivers for the Daytona 24-hour race, with Darren and Olly joining our regular drivers, Tracy, Nic, Eric and Ricardo. This gives us a strong line-up."
ERIC VAN DE POELE, Krohn Racing No. 75 Driver: "I cannot wait to be back in the car. I was so happy last year to do a full championship with a top team. To get to come back is perfect. I really enjoy the Krohn Racing Team and if I had to learn a lot of things lastyear, this coming year will be hard for the competition. I am more motivated than ever and I knowexactly what to expect for 2009."
"It's going to be a new experience for me to work with Roush, but not for the team. Pontiac did a good work last year, but I believe that if you want to win races, we need full support and progress. I cannot wait to try the new engine and I know the reputation of such a renown engineering company."
RICARDO ZONTA, Krohn Racing No. 76 Driver: "So far it has been very positive with the Ford engine. We did a lot of laps at the recent test and didn't have any small issues. We worked on preparation for the 24 hours. Every point on performance and reliability has been very positive for us in our first test."
"I think Grand-Am is the one series where the championship is coming up and growing. There are many cars fighting in this Series and I like that in a championship. I don't need to talk about other series, but I think it's not fair for the drivers because there are not many cars competing. I don't like ovals, so I don't chose to go to open-wheel racing. I just see positive points in Grand-Am, especially for the future. In 2009, I will also drive a stock car in Brazil."
NIC JONSSON, Krohn Racing No. 76 Driver: "Obviously we started out 2008 with a new car, the Proto-Auto Lola, which is a challenge for the whole team. We have been working very hard -- the engineers and the crew guys and doing a tremendous job to get the car quicker and quicker every race we've gone to this year. I think the highlight for the team was the two podiums we had at Mexico City and the Daytona sprint, and then of course the pole position we had at Miller in the last race. I think that proves we made headway with the car and progressed slowly but steadily. We have quite a few new things to try during winter testing. Hopefully we can come back and be very competitive in 2009."
"What I'm looking for in 2009 is obviously to go out and be very competitive from the get-go. We are focused very hard right now through specific testing with a look towards 24 Hours at Daytona. The goal is to win the 24 Hours of Daytona this year. Having both Ricardo Zonta and Darren Turner as my teammates, I definitely think we should have a very good chance of running out front. Obviously, as always with the 24 Hours of Daytona, it is going to be all about staying out of trouble, not having any mechanical mishaps with pit stops or on the track and just have a clean race. When you have a clean race and a somewhat competitive lap time, that's the recipe to win a 24-hour race. That's the goal."
DARREN TURNER, Krohn Racing No. 76 Driver: "I absolutely loved my first experience of racing at Daytona at the beginning of this year - everything about it, even the rain and the small problems ween-counted. The team did a fantastic job, and to finish fourth was a great result for Krohn Racing and a very positive start to their season. I can't wait to do it all again because it's a proper battle out there, wheel-to-wheel racing for the entire time on a track which, for me, is very unique and with a totally professional team. All the right elements of a winning package are there."
"For the 2009 Rolex 24 we will obviously be planning to improve on last year's result and I'm sure that with a year's experience of the Proto-Auto Lola now under their belts, the team is in a really good position to achieve that."
OLIVER GAVIN, Krohn Racing No. 75 Driver: "The 2008 Daytona race was, for the team, one of those races where I think everyone was unsure how it was going to go -- mainly because of the last minute chassis change to the Riley. Although Krohn had a lot of experience with it, the change put us on back foot in terms of preparation for that race. However, it showed the strength of the team that they came through and were the only team to get both cars through to a top ten finish. It was a great achievement, and our car was able to run with lead cars for at least some of the time, so I came away very satisfied with the 7th place result."
"My goal with the Krohn Racing team this year is to get at least as good a result as last year, and into the top five would be fantastic. The team are very focussed on Daytona and there is a big push towards it from all quarters.There's lots of time to get ready, and a reasonable amount of testing planned, so we will all be aiming to hit the ground running. Last year was quite challenging as it started raining heavily during the night and it was difficult to see with all the spray and dirt on the windshield. The Pirelli tires also took quite a while to heat up so it was often treacherous leaving the pit lane after a stop. There are new Pirelli tires for 2009, which will be a whole new learning experience."
Eric van de Poele brings over twenty years of endurance sports car racing to the team, competing in more than 55 different racing cars on nearly 85 racing circuits worldwide. The Belgian is a three-time class winner at Le Mans, a two-time 12 Hours of Sebring winner, has claimed five 24 Hour victories at Spa and a victory in the inaugural Petit Le Mans. After a brief start in single-seaters (Formula 3) in 1983, van de Poele made the move to Touring cars in 1985, then Formula 3000 and even competed in Formula One for two seasons (1991-92), all while honing his endurance racing skills. He has competed in a major endurance sports car race for each of the past 14 consecutive years.
Brazilian Ricardo Zonta has over ten years experience in Formula One competition, having worked with such teams as McLaren, Honda, Jordan and Toyota. Krohn Racing's Engineer and Team Manager David Brown knew Zonta from their days together at Jordan in 2001 and recommended him to fill-in for a suspended Colin Braun at the Sears Point race in August 2007. That progressed to a full-time ride in 2008. Like many race drivers, Ricardo got his start in go karting in his native Curitiba, Brazil for five years (from 1987-1992) before making the jump to the Formula Chevrolet Championship, then Formula 3, Formula 3000 and FIA GT before landing in F1. Zonta has another dimension to his biography by also competing in the Brazil Nextel Stock Car Championship.
Darren Turner began his racing career in single-seaters in 1993, and served two years as McLaren's Grand Prix two-seater program driver. He was a test driver for several Formula One teams for nine years between 1997-2005, but mostly with McLaren. His sports car experience includes the DTM Series and FIA GT Championship. He is a class winner at Le Mans, Sebring and Petit Le Mans, with one victory in each of the past three years. Turner previously competed with Krohn and Jonsson at the 2007 Petit Le Mans in the Risi-Krohn Ferrari and in 2008 at the Rolex 24 At Daytona.
Oliver Gavin is a three-time consecutive GT1 class champion and has four 24 Hours of Le Mans, four Petit Le Mans and four 12 Hours of Sebring class victories, all with Corvette Racing. The British native got his started in go karts, moved into single seaters and quickly claimed the British National Formula First Championship with 11 wins in 12 races in 1991. He was also named "McLaren Autosport Young Driver of the Year". He moved up to British Formula 3000, where he won the championship in 1995, then the FIA International Formula 3000 and Touring cars. He was a Formula One test driver for Benetton F1 and Renault from 1997 to 2002. Sports car racing has dominated his driving since 2000 with Grand-Am, ALMS ACO-Le Mans and the FIA GT.
Nic Jonsson, a native of Sweden who now resides in Georgia with his family, first paired with Krohn in 2004. Nic was a Touring Car and F3 champion before going sports car racing in 2001. He had two podium finishes with Zonta in 2008 and finished fourth at the Rolex 24 with Zonta and Turner.
Tracy Krohn, who only began racing six years ago at age 48, got his start in the Panoz Racing series. Tracy and Nic drove to an impressive second-place finish in the GT2 class at the 2007 running of the 24 Hours of Le Mans driving the Risi-Krohn Ferrari 430 GT, along with third driver Colin Braun. Krohn finished seventh in the 2008 Rolex 24 At Daytona with van de Poele and Gavin.Krohn was the winner of the prestigious "Jim Trueman Award" for Sportsman drivers in 2007.
In 2006, Krohn Racing driver Jorg Bergmeister captured the Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series Prototype Driver Championship. Krohn Racing was second in the Prototype Team Championship, a marked achievement for the new team.
The first race of the 2009 season will be the 47th Annual Rolex 24 At Daytona, scheduled for January 24-25, 2009 at Daytona International Speedway in Daytona Beach, Florida. Daytona Test Days run from January 4-6, 2009.