Friday, 16 March 2012 16:44

Krohn Racing 12 Hours of Sebring Friday Notes & Quotes

Krohn Racing has spent the week in sunny Florida preparing for the 60th Annual Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring race, which begins tomorrow, March 17 at 10:30 a.m. ET. Team owner/driver Tracy W. Krohn and his co-drivers Swede Nic Jönsson and Italian Michele Rugolo have cycled through the days getting seat time in the new No. 57 Krohn Racing Ferrari F458. The 12 Hours of Sebring race is Round One of the new eight race World Endurance Championship (WEC), paired along with the inaugural 2012 running of the American Le Mans Series.

TRACY W. KROHN, Team Owner/Driver No. 57 Krohn Racing Ferrari F458 GTE-Am:
Regarding thoughts on being back at Sebring:
"It's always fun to be back at Sebring. This is a party and it's an event, not just a race, so that makes it more fun. Typically it's warmer here than you would expect it to be. I'm surprised it hasn't rained yet. Usually we get a big rain one day that we're here and it hasn't happened. Maybe it will happen tomorrow for the race. Who knows? Actually the weather has been quite good and warm. It's warm in the cockpit but that's okay. We're used to it. The fans are in a very good mood and there's a lot of people here, a big crowd, a happy crowd. Of course tomorrow is St. Patrick's Day as well so it will be a pretty festive atmosphere."

Regarding if the Krohn team has the 'luck of the Irish':
"We definitely have luck. It was a good year last year and we're here at Sebring to start the season in the WEC. I feel very fortunate to be here so that's the first good luck sign. Of course tomorrow is St. Patrick's Day and I guess we'll have to change it to O'Krohn Racing for the day. The colors are right and they've been right for a long time. I think we are going to stay with this bright, pretty 'Krohn green' for a long, long time to come. The fans have been spectacular. I've seen a lot of green and look for a pretty festive atmosphere tonight and I hope I can get some sleep."

Regarding the progress of the new Ferrari this week:
"I think overall during the week the car has continued to get better and better. We were a little bit perplexed when we were testing on Monday to be going in the wrong direction after having a very successful test here earlier this month. We were perplexed and not quite sure what happened but it definitely changed so we worked on it, worked on it, worked on it and chipped away at it. Actually Nic did a very good qualifying time. It just happened that someone else did an exceptional qualifying time. I'm very pleased with the way the car is now."

Regarding the most challenging factors for the race:
"The most challenging factor for the race tomorrow will simply be traffic. It is a test of patience. There will be a lot of prototype cars out there, more than we're used to in this race. It's a big field of 64 cars. I think the key here will be to be willing to accept some pretty slow traffic congested laps and be cognizant of the fact that "P" cars are going to be much faster and you just need to give them some room. You've got to turn so you can't give them all the room. I think after the driver's meeting today everyone will have a pretty clear understanding of it."

NIC JONSSON, Driver, No. 57 Krohn Racing Ferrari F458 GTE-Am:
Regarding Friday's qualifying:
"We qualified second (in class) here for the 60th anniversary of Sebring this year. I feel pretty good about it. Obviously you always want to be on pole but the Luxury guys did that in the class today. We couldn't really match that lap but I think we have a very good, consistent race car. We've been struggling a little bit over the week to get the car to this point but I think we have balance in the car now. For the race it should be very good. We have a very well matched driver line-up and a great crew. At the end of the day, it's the average speed of the car that's going to count. I think we can match anybody out there so I feel pretty confident. It's a good start to the season to begin at Sebring. We plan to go in to the race with good spirits tomorrow and try to do a good job and see where we end up."

Regarding the progress of the car this week: "This week has been a little bit of turbulence for us. We came here very confident after the test we had a month ago. We went out and for some reason, couldn't get the balance in the car. They guys have done a tremendous job – the engineer, along with the crew. They've turned the car upside down several times and now I think we're back to where we need to be. Sebring is always a spectacle. This year being a 60th anniversary, there are a lot of people. I saw people coming in Tuesday, where you normally don't see them coming in until Thursday. I think it's going to be a huge crowd here, a lot of passion out here, a lot of huge sports car fans. It just feels like a blessing to be here with Krohn Racing and the effort Tracy Krohn put together, I really, really feel blessed and honored to be a part of this whole show here tomorrow. Hopefully we can come out on top."

MICHELE RUGOLO, Driver, No. 57 Krohn Racing Ferrari F458 GTE-Am:
Regarding the progress of the car this week:
"Actually our week did not start very well. We had many issues early in the week. Of the eight hours of practice time offered on Monday, I think we did only about two hours. This was not enough for three drivers, especially for me who was not here for the Winter Test. The car is pretty new for me. The track is always very difficult, so it's important to do many laps. We were already in the right direction with the set-up of the car but we needed to have some little improvements, and the track that was changing day-by-day. There are many, many cars, and many different series of cars. They are using numerous different kinds of tires so the rubber is different on the track surface. The track conditions are different as well. I think our Race Engineer has worked in the right direction and chosen different changes in the car. Now the balance of the car is very good, according to Nic, who was the only one to drive today. Already last night I felt very comfortable in the car. It's good in the rear, which is the worse problem you can have in an endurance race because it's very easy to lose the car. If it is lose in the rear it's very tough to control. Let's see what happens tomorrow with over 60 cars on the track."

Regarding the atmosphere of Sebring:
"It's always the same at Sebring. Like Le Mans, it's the same story. It's incredible how many people there are inside the track. It's unbelievable how many people there were already on Tuesday and Wednesday. For me, for at least a European driver, when you go to races like Sebring and Le Mans it is something really new and incredible because in Europe it is not like that. I like the atmosphere very much. I like the passion inside all of the fans so it is amazing to me and nice to be here.

Regarding what it will be like with all the traffic and racing at night:
"Fortunately this race is a long race but there is just a short time you race at night and hopefully it will be Nic Jönsson's problem."

DAVID BROWN, Team Manager, Krohn Racing:
Regarding Friday's qualifying: "Our preparations for the 12 hour race have gone quite well. We've covered the tire program and gone through some chassis items and given all the drivers plenty of laps amongst the red flags. We are disappointed not to be on pole. Nic put in a very good time, quicker than we've been here before, but still not enough to beat the Farnbacher car. While we are disappointed not to be on pole, we recognize that an hour into the race it is probably not going to have a lot of effect. But we have missed out on a potentially valuable point, which we could have accumulated into our season. All the same, we are preparing to do a 12 hour race. That's what we've come here to do. It's the result of that 12 hour race that is going to make us either happy or sad on Saturday night."

JEFF HAZELL, Krohn Racing Motorsports Manager:
"It's obvious this year that the teams in GTE-Am are better prepared, as a grid, than last year. So we are expecting a much more competitive event with fewer earlier retirements. It's not easy to win this race two years in a row. We know that at some point luck runs out in these longer races. So, like everyone else, we're concerned that we manage to stay out trouble, particularly with so many cars on the track. The event is spectacular and going to offer the busiest 12 hours of racing on the planet. We are, undoubtedly, going to be a hostage to other people's abilities in front of us. Like everybody in this field, we are a little trepidatious of what will occur." The TV coverage for the entire 12 Hours of Sebring will be streamed live on the FIA WEC official website. This will be available to view around the world (except in the USA). The U.S. broadcast schedule included the tape delay broadcast on ABC on Sunday, March 18 at 12:00 p.m. ET and live streaming on ESPN 3 beginning on race day at 10:15 a.m. ET.

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