Tracy W. Krohn, owner of the Krohn Racing Team, announced his Team's entry to the 2012 FIA World Endurance Championship today. The Championship is a competition created in partnership with the Automobile Club de l'Ouest (ACO) and the International Automobile Federation (FIA). The WEC schedule features eight races on three continents, and includes the 24 Hours of Le Mans.
"Our plan is to run the full season of the World Endurance Championship in 2012 with the new Ferrari F458 GT and we're looking forward to it," said Team Owner/driver Tracy Krohn. "They have added one more venue this year so it will be a total of eight races, including Le Mans and Sebring. We're very excited! Some of the tracks we will have seen and some will be new to us. We're looking forward to flying the American flag around the world and believe 2012 will be a banner year for us. The idea is to make it even better than last year."
Drivers for Krohn Racing's 2012 WEC Team will include Team Owner/driver Krohn, along with longtime teammate and friend, Swede Nic Jönsson, and Italian Ferrari sports car standout, Michele Rugolo. The trio was teammates for the 2011 ILMC Series with enough success and driver style symbiosis to make 2012 driver selections a natural repeat.
The American-based Krohn Racing Team finished second in the GTE-Am C lass in the 2011 Intercontinental Le Mans Challenge Series, the predecessor to the World Endurance Championship. Successes include two victories in their home country of the United States, at the 12 Hours of Sebring and the Petit Le Mans. Additionally, they finished third in class at the 6 Hours of Zhuhai (China) to celebrate another podium. An unfortunate DNF at the 24 hours of Le Mans, which awarded double points, spoiled their chances for winning the GTE-Am Class overall.
"I think any time you come into an inaugural season and you have a podium finish for the season, then you should be happy with that. That's a really good result. The team did a great job; the cars were extremely well prepared; Nic did a great job, as usual. He's a friend and mentor for many years and helps keep me focused as well. Second overall is a good result. Had we not had some pretty bad luck at Le Mans with the motor and crankshaft, we would have won it! "
Krohn Racing is unique in that no other American racing team has attempted a full campaign in the World Endurance Championship for sports cars in nearly three decades.
"We are taking on the best in the world because Krohn Racing has a team of carefully selected, internationally experienced specialists; managers, engineers, technicians, and logistics staff," said Krohn Racing Motorsports Manager Jeff Hazell. "We have a committed Team Owner and great support from Ferrari and Dunlop. The logistics and engineering operations of a World Championship team requires no less a combination. Racing at this level is a serious challenge, but we felt equipped, and if you think you are good, you need to prove it!"
Krohn Racing took delivery of a new Ferrari F458 GTE built to 2011 specifications, per GTE-Am class requirements, in December 2011.
"To win consistently you must have the best of everything," added Hazell, who oversees Krohn's motorsports operations. "This year it is permitted to race the F458 in the GTE-Am class, which Ferrari has developed with Michelotto all through 2011. The F430 is very well proven, still fast and reliable and is capable of winning again, but we race Ferraris and we feel that means whenever possible we should race their current model in front of the world media, contribute to the further development of the race car and put it into the winners circle."
"We expect the Ferrari F458 certainly to be easier to drive," added Krohn, a native of Houston, Texas. "The direct injection should aid response and fuel economy. It's also got another little advantage in the gearing in that it will be paddle shift, as opposed to regular stick shift, and that will be more fun to drive. I've driven the street car and it's a completely different feel than the 430. It's a great car. I think Ferrari has made a really spectacular automobile here."
"We see racing the new Ferrari F458 as a step forward in drivability and reliability," said Krohn Racing Team Manager/Race Engineer David Brown. "So far the newly built car has only completed a hand-over shakedown test. We will do a single day test locally near the Atlanta shop to check out our systems and installations on a track we know well, and then go to the official Sebring test in early February."
Tracy Krohn is thrilled with the team's invitation to the 24 Hours of Le Mans this year. Having competed in every race since 2005, the Texas oil man is delighted to return.
Tracy Krohn is the Founder, Chairman and CEO of W&T Offshore (NYSE: WTI), an independent oil and natural gas acquisition, exploitation and exploration company, with a focus primarily in the Gulf of Mexico. Additionally, he is an investor in Cross Creek Pictures, LLC, a financier of the numerous Hollywood movies including "Black Swan", "The Ides of March", "A Woman in Black" and "Rush", a movie about Formula One's Niki Lauda and James Hunt and directed by Ron Howard.
Entries to the WEC Series are due by January 18th for the 2012 season. A formal announcement by the ACO and FIA will be made on February 2, 2012 to announce the full list of entrants for both the World Endurance Championship and the 2012 running of the 24 Hours of Le Mans.
The 2012 World Endurance Championship race schedule includes:
12 Hours of Sebring, Sebring, Florida, USA on March 17;
6 Hours of Spa; Spa-Francorchamps, Belgium on May 5;
24 Hours of Le Mans, Le Mans, France on June 16-17;
6 Hours of Silverstone, Silverstone, England on August 25;
6 Hours of Sao Paolo, Brazil on September 16;
6 Hours of Bahrain, Middle East on September 29;
6 Hours of Mount-Fuji, Japan on October 14;
6 Hours of China, Zhuhai or Shanghai, China on November 11 or November 18
For more information, please see www.lemans.org or www.krohnracing.net.