Houston's mission from Watkins Glen victory to Le Mans From winning a six hour race at Watkins Glen to getting into the 2006 Le Mans car, Krohn Racing with White Lightning was a team on a mission akin to the space programmes run from Team Owner...
Houston's mission from Watkins Glen victory to Le Mans
From winning a six hour race at Watkins Glen to getting into the 2006 Le Mans car, Krohn Racing with White Lightning was a team on a mission akin to the space programmes run from Team Owner Tracy Krohn's home town of Houston. The trio of Tracy Krohn, Jorg Bergmeister and Nic Jonsson competed in the Grand-Am race at Watkins Glen this weekend before jetting to the track for testing at Le Mans today.
The team had two cars competing in the six hour race in New York State, USA -- the car of Jorg Bergmeister winning the event. The drivers took a specially chartered jet from an airfield ten miles from the track direct to an airfield at Tours -- a one hour drive from the French circuit. Time was tight -- the Grand-Am race finished at 8.30pm on Saturday night. Following the podium ceremony and press conferences the drivers left the circuit at 10.30pm and took fifteen minutes to get to the nearby airfield. The plane touched down in Tours at 11am and the drivers arrived at the pit garage at 12.15. Taking into account the six hour time difference that was less than eight hours door-to-door. A fitting start for an epic race.
The test session went as planned. Jorg took to the whel first to check the car and the rest of the time was spent for Tracy and Nic to learn the track. Final classification for the team was 41st overall, 6th in GT2 class with a best time of 4:07.778.
Tracy Krohn: "The only place I've seen this track is on television and on a video game. I have to tell you it's so much better in 3D! It is much more daunting than you'd think. The first thing is when you come out of the pit lane and guys are coming up on you really quick. The whole track is so much faster than I thought it would be. It's so much fun. I'm very very excited about being here. What makes it so amazing is that we're driving a GT car fast and someone passes you doing 80mph faster. Watching those LMPs passing each other is great fun to watch. Plus I can't believe the atmosphere! There's over 100,000 people here just for practice day. I've never spectated in person -- just watched it on TV so I can't imagine what it's going to be like for the race. Already it's just so much better than I imagined."
Jorg Bergmeister: "We had a really good car in Watkins Glen -- it was perfect and the guys did a really great job. It was a good result and I'm optimistic of more of the same over here. I'm used to switching cars so there'll be no problem jumping into the Porsche. "Right after the race we left for the airport -- we got a really good shortcut and it only took 15 minutes. We ate a little and all got some sleep before landing at 11am local time -- only six and a half hours flying. It was definitely the way to do it."
"Once we got here I went in the car first to check it out. I only did two flying laps but it was enough. I made a small change to the car but we have plenty of time in race week to fine tune the set-up. It's more important for Tracy and Nic to get up to speed on the track."
Nic Jonsson "First of all it's an enormous experience to go around Le Mans on that very first lap. I've dreamt about it, seen this race on TV and played it on the PlayStation but now finally at the age of 38 I'm here to do this race with a very very good team. I feel very fortunate to be a part of this and having Jorg and Tracy as co-drivers. With Jorg having won it before and the team having won it twice it couldn't be better. It's obviously one of the greatest spectacles in the world and I feel very excited about the whole thing. I've raced professionally for 17 years but this is one of the biggest races in the world. To go out and do those first laps is just 'WOW'. It was a great experience. It'll take a little time to build up to speed. I've driven Porsches before, in fact with this team for the first time three years ago where we got second place at Sebring, so today was about getting used to the course and the grip level in different places and so forth. I've got the next week to think about it and drive it in my head and come back prepared. Dale White, Team Manager Today was a day to let Nic and Tracy learn the track. Everything worked out good with getting them here and the plane and organising getting them to the circuit, the administrative checks and the medics wanted to check the guys over to make sure they were well rested as well as getting them to a drivers briefing. Everything ran on schedule and we started at 2pm as planned. Just let Jorg do a few laps as more of a functions test. We hardly pushed and the time was still pretty good. We just wanted to get Nic and Tracy learning the track. That was the plan and that's exactly what they did. Everything came together in the end and we'll be set for race week.
Dale White of White Lightning Racing, two-time Le Mans GT2 class-winning effort, will be sponsored for the French event by Krohn Racing LLC, a leading sports car organization in North America. The No. 90 Porsche will be raced in a new "Krohn-Green Lightning" livery, by Jorg Bergmeister (Langenfeld, Germany), Nic Jonsson (a native of Sweden currently living in Buford, Georgia, USA) and Tracy Krohn (Houston, Texas, USA).
This arrangement between the two racing operations gives Krohn Racing owner/driver, Tracy Krohn, a unique opportunity to race at Le Mans and, with key Krohn Racing staff in attendance, gain experience for future programs.
Krohn has also provided his Krohn Racing Grand-Am team drivers Bergmeister and Jonsson who, with Krohn, secured a 5th place at the Daytona 24 Hours this year. The German and the Swede both also drive in the ALMS for Petersen/White Lightning, thus enhancing this co-operation between the two teams with excellent continuity. Krohn's funding and drivers allows White Lightning, wanting to return to Le Mans but concerned about budgetary constraints impacting their American Le Mans Series GT2 title defense, to again challenge for GT2 honors at the French classic.
The arrangement also permits Krohn his first inside look at the trials of racing at the 8.6 mile Circuit de la Sarthe for 24 Hours. The Porsche 911 GT3 RSR will race on Michelin tires and have the full support of Porsche Motorsports.