The Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series' teams head north of the border this week for the race on Friday, August 1st at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve in Montreal, Canada, Round 10 of 14 on the 2008 schedule. JKrohn Racing will have a change in their...
The Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series' teams head north of the border this week for the race on Friday, August 1st at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve in Montreal, Canada, Round 10 of 14 on the 2008 schedule. JKrohn Racing will have a change in their driver line-up for the race, as Brit Oliver Gavin will step in to team with owner/driver Tracy Krohn in the No. 75 Krohn Racing Pontiac Lola. Krohn's regular teammate, Eric van de Poele, is in France seeking a fifth victory in the Spa Francorchamps 24 Hour race. The No. 76 Pontiac Lola entry will again pair Nic Jonsson with Ricardo Zonta.
Zonta clocked the fastest time of the race and led for his first stint recently at Barber Motorsports Park. The team looked destined to a podium finish until a punctured tire relegated them to a lengthy pit stop and a finish outside the Top Ten.
The Circuit Gilles Villeneuve event, which is on 2.708-mile, 15-turn road course on an island in the middle of the St. Lawrence River in Montreal, will be shared with the NASCAR Busch Series. Grand-Am Prototypes and GT cars will race 200-miles, 74 laps or two hours on Friday afternoon, beginning at 4:15 p.m. The Krohn Racing team competed at the inaugural Grand-Am race last year at the circuit made famous by Formula One, however both cars finished outside the Top Ten.
Tracy W. Krohn, team owner/driver, No. 75 Krohn Racing Pontiac Lola:
How do you feel about returning to Montreal for another Grand-Am race? "Last year there was a lot of contact in the race. I believe over a third of the race was held under caution. I was hit and spun around early in the race. I don't think anybody got out unscathed last year. We sure didn't avoid it. The track is pretty unforgiving so when something happens or you make a mistake it's hard to catch back up. I enjoyed it last year though and am glad to come back. This year we have a new car and I have a new teammate, so we will undoubtedly have some new experiences!"
Tell us about your new teammate this week. Why is Oliver Gavin co-driving with you at Montreal? "My regular teammate, Eric, has an incredible history of four victories at the 24 Hours of Spa. He had an offer to drive again this year with the same team he has driven with the past four times. Out of those he's had two wins and two second-place finishes. He wanted to seek a fifth victory at Spa and we wanted him to do just that. That opened the door for us to bring back Oliver Gavin, who drove with Eric and I at the 24 Hours of Daytona this year."
How do you like running on a Friday afternoon during a Busch race weekend? "Last year we had a huge crowd for a Friday afternoon. I was pretty impressed. The Canadians certainly like their motorsports and it is a good spectator track. I'm glad to be racing in Montreal again and hope we can put on a good show on Friday."
Oliver Gavin, driver, No. 75 Krohn Racing Pontiac Lola:
Welcome back and tell us about the upcoming Montreal race. "It should be a lot of fun. This will be the first time I've driven the Lola since I tested it at Daytona at the beginning of the year. We didn't actually race the car at Daytona; we drove with the Riley but I believe it's got a lot, lot better. In fact, last race at Barber Park it was been extremely competitive. I'm looking forward to getting back into the car and driving with Tracy. Montreal, I think, is going to be a challenging circuit for the car. It's certainly a classic race track. It's one of those circuits you dream of racing around because there's a lot history there. I've never actually raced there but I've driven there quite a lot. I was actually driving the safety car for the Grand Prix's in 1997, 1998 and 1999 and consequently I've done quite a few laps around there. You could say I've led a couple of Grand Prix's there (laughter!!) but never actually raced. So I know the circuit, but not in a car like this. It may take me a little bit of time to get acquainted to it, acclimatized, but I feel I should be there quite quickly and we'll have to see how we get on. It's going to be a lot of fun and I'm really looking forward to it."
Eric van de Poele, driver, No. 75 Krohn Racing Pontiac Lola:
Another driver is going to step into your place at Montreal. Tell us about it. "Yes, for the next race I will lend my car to a fantastic driver, Oliver Gavin. It's an honor for me to give him my place. Tracy and I hope we'll get a better result than we had at Barber. I'm really glad and very thankful to Tracy for letting me drive at Spa 24 Hours. Of course, it's a very important race and I have a driving opportunity with a good team that I have raced with many times. Tracy could have said no, but he said 'yes, please do it, you must do it' and its fantastic. He's a really great guy."
Nic Jonsson, driver, No. 76 Krohn Racing Pontiac Lola:
Give us your thoughts about going back to the Montreal circuit this year. "It will be the second time at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve with the Prototypes. Last year was the inaugural race and I raced the Prototypes and also the Busch Grand National series for my first time. I think it will be a good race for the Proto-Auto Lola. I think we're making a huge progress and I'm very excited to go there. It's also going to be the first race actually that both the Ricardo and I have been to the track before. That makes it kind of exciting because so far this year Ricardo has had to learn new tracks every time and I do believe the fact he's driven the circuit before will play in our favor as well. I'm really excited to go to Montreal again. It's a fantastic place and a really nice track. Braking is very important there and it seems like the Proto-Auto Lola is a very good car on the brakes. After the race we had at Barber Motorsports Park, I think we should be very encouraged and looking very positive on the coming race because we definitely had a car at Barber to win. We were leading the race and obviously turning on fastest laps out there all day long. Unfortunately we had a puncture and without any problems up in Montreal everyone should look out for the #76 car and it should be a good race for us."
Ricardo Zonta, driver, No. 76 Krohn Racing Pontiac Lola:
You have raced at Montreal in Formula One. How do you think it will be with the Prototype car?"Yes, I have been there for Formula One many times racing. This will be my first time with a DP car there. It is quite difficult to say what I might expect from there because there are long straights and you have to jump a lot of curbs, so it's quite different than what we are used to in Grand-Am. They are hard on braking as well, so we especially have to improve the car for this at Montreal."
How was your success at Montreal when you were driving Formula One? "I did pretty well and finished seventh and eighth two years in a row (8th in 2000 with BAR and 7th in 2001 with Jordan). I also had an accident on the second lap in my first race at Montreal in 1999. In 2004 and 2005 I was the third driver for Toyota F1 team and did Friday practice for the team. I like the circuit and it will be good to race on a track I know. Almost every circuit this year is new for me so I'm glad to have a race at Montreal."
David Brown, Team Manager, Krohn Racing:
The car continues to progress. You had a podium result at Daytona, then led the race and had the fastest lap at Barber. A victory for the team can't be far away. Share your thoughts. "Yes, we are making progress. We really thought we had a winning car in Barber, but a puncture put us out of contention. But we will bounce back. The strength of our team lies in its ability to cope with disappointment and push on. The effort in the team has been, and remains, enormous and that will be rewarded, I'm sure. We just don't know when!"
Oliver Gavin is returning to the team to co-drive with Tracy. He brings some experience on the Montreal circuit, as well as a lot of enthusiasm about returning to the team. "Olly is an accomplished and talented driver and we are delighted that he is able to step in for the Montreal race. He is a good fit in the team and will complement Tracy in the 75 car driving line-up. Olly knows his way around -- albeit at a different pace -- and he will quickly get into the swing of things -- contributing to the team effort. We will try to make his Montreal visit a pleasant and enjoyable experience."