Tuesday, 17 March 2015 09:09

Krohn Racing Pre-Race Report 63rd Annual 12 Hours of Sebring

Krohn Racing Comfortable After Four Days of Testing at Sebring

Houston, Texas... Krohn Racing returns to the historic Sebring International Raceway in Sebring, Florida this week for the 63rd Annual Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring presented by Fresh from Florida race, March 19-21. The race will be Round 2 of the 2015 IMSA TUDOR United SportsCar Championship Series.

Piloting the new No. 57 Krohn Racing Ligier JSP2 Judd prototype is team owner/driver Tracy W. Krohn alongside regular co-driver Swede Nic Jonsson and Frenchman Olivier Pla. Krohn and Jonsson have teamed for a class victory at Sebring in 2011 in the FIA WEC GTE-Am class in a Ferrari 430 GT, along with Italian Michele Rugolo.

The Krohn-Jonsson duo will be making their eighth start on the famous, and sometime infamous, 3.74-mile, 17-turn Florida circuit. Onroak Automotive development driver and now Nissan LMP1 driver Olivier Pla has three starts at Sebring with a best finish of second place in 2012 with Oak Racing.

Krohn Racing have completed two separate test sessions at Sebring in preparation for the always challenging once-around-the-clock enduro. Tracy and Nic participated in the February two-day test, and returned with Pla for another two-day test last week. The Krohn team worked on familiarizing themselves with the high downforce aerodynamic package, completing laps and gathering data on the Continental P2000 tires, which are different to the Daytona specific P1000, used in January at the 24 Hours of Daytona race, and collaborated on set-up.

TRACY W. KROHN, Krohn Racing Team Owner/Driver:
How have the two test sessions gone at Sebring Raceway this year in preparation for the 12 Hours of Sebring?
"We learned a huge amount about the car and had a couple of quality control issues that will help for the rest of the season. We believe we understand a great deal more about the proper setup for this car, not only for Sebring, but for the rest of the year! The consensus opinion is that if you can withstand all that Sebring dishes out, then you will do well just about anywhere else."

Although the 12 Hours of Sebring is one of the most difficult races on the calendar, Krohn Racing has had successes with a victory and podium, and nearly another podium against all the manufacturers last year in GTLM. What is it about Sebring that makes the Krohn Racing team shine?
"Perseverance is probably the most important thing! But, we do contingency planning and try to keep everything as simple as possible. Sebring always has a lot of yellow flag situations and staying out of trouble is certainly important as well. You do not have to be the quickest car to win, you just have to be the car that has the least amount of trouble!"

What can you expect coming back to Sebring given the new car and new classification you'll be racing in this time around?

"I am certain that it will be super competitive and that we will need to drive smart and minimize the mistakes. I know that we will be racing against really great teams and drivers and that, as usual, Sebring will be extremely physical on man and machine."

NIC JONSSON, Krohn Racing, Driver:
What are your thoughts on the last two test sessions at Sebring in preparation for this year's race?
"We have had very good and solid testing at Sebring. One of the most important things is to make sure you get a good handling over the bumps which are very severe at Sebring. I feel we have a very good and well-handling car after the testing we have done."

Last year you were fourth in the very competitive GTLM class. What obstacles will you have to overcome to make it to the podium in the P class at the 2015 running of the 12 Hours of Sebring?
"It's a very competitive field in the P class, with very good teams with world-class drivers in lots of cars, so I think the most important thing is to be able to have a reliable and solid car, and make sure to stay out of trouble. When the sun goes down, that's when it's time to go."

What do you like about Sebring and what is the most difficult thing about this track?
"Sebring is a great historical race and track. What I like is there is no other track like Sebring. It's very bumpy, physical and a real driver's track, where you never get a chance to relax .You can't find a track like Sebring anywhere else in the world. The most difficult thing is the different grip levels in the different corners. Because of sealer and concrete patches in different corners, the grip level changes differently when the temps and conditions change. This makes it a real challenge."

OLIVIER PLA, Krohn Racing, Driver:
What has it been like teaming up with Krohn Racing for the first two rounds of the IMSA TUDOR 2015 race season?
"It's been great! I discovered a team very motivated and organized who want to perform at the very best in all the aspects of the race."

What do you like about Sebring and what is the most difficult thing about this track?
"I love Sebring! It's one of my favorite tracks in the world and probably one of the hardest and more demanding for the cars and the drivers with a mix of slow and fast corner with a lot of bumps."

What are some of the things you have brought to the Krohn Team to assist them with the Ligier and what has that experience been like since you came aboard at Daytona?
"I was involved in the testing development of the Ligier JSP2 with ONROAK so I know that car very well, so I could bring my experience. We had a very productive test in Sebring last week and I'm really looking forward for a strong result in the 12 Hours of Sebring!"

HAYDEN BURVILL, Krohn Racing, Engineer:
What advantages does the Ligier JS P2 have at Sebring and tell us about the testing you've completed at this track.
"The JSP2 has a lot of downforce and this provides a class leading level of grip in the high speed corners. As a European LMP2 design, this is the first time the JSP2 hardware has been subject to the unusual rigors of the Sebring circuit -- the concrete, the bumps and high speed bumpy corners. Our four days of testing have been used to accumulate durability testing on all the components and systems in an effort to be race ready. We had to work through the traditional list of Sebring set-up options to find acceptable stability on the bumps and comfort for the drivers. We have arrived at a set-up that is pretty kind to the car and drivers and appears to have competitive lap speed. I am looking forward to finding out where we really stack up in the Prototype class this weekend."

How do you feel about the preparation that's gone into this event and what are your thoughts on the driver's readiness going into the 12 Hours of Sebring event?
"I don't think you can ever be over prepared for Sebring. Even if you have the confidence of a decent set-up, the race itself can be full of surprises and you have to be ready to react to a Sebring surprise. Last year the surprise was an unprecedented amount of running under yellow flag conditions due to crashes and car-to-car contact. The weather seems like it will be mild and dry for 2015. A slight chance of rain on Saturday evening could be a sting in the tail.

The car testing and set-up work is geared towards protecting the car and the drivers from the bumps at Sebring. We have done that work effectively and I expect this will benefit the drivers in keeping themselves fresh for an intense final few hours. Tracy, Nic and Oli have all driven the car at Sebring last week, so this means we are all quite well prepared going into the race meeting."

Race Information:
Track: 3.74 miles, 17 turns
Race Length: 12 hours
Expected field: 47 cars

Practice session one begins Thursday morning, March 19 at 10:15 a.m. EDT, with prototype class qualifying scheduled for 5:35 p.m. EDT, Friday March 20. The race start will be Saturday, March 21 at 10:40 a.m. EDT.

Tune In Information:
The live television broadcast schedule in the U.S. features the 12 Hours of Sebring Saturday, March 21 (all times EDT), 10:30 a.m. - 12:30 p.m. on FOX Sports 1, 12:30 p.m. - 7:00 p.m. on FoxSports2, 7:00 p.m. - 10:00 p.m. IMSA.com (Live) and from 10:00 p.m. - 11:00 p.m. on FOX Sports 2. A highlights and cut-down version will air Sunday, March 22, 8:30 a.m. - 10:30 a.m. on FOX Sports 1. Live timing and scoring is available for all on-track sessions at IMSA.com and the IMSA Smartphone app.

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