Saturday, 19 October 2013 08:18

Krohn Racing Eager to Return to Japan for 6 Hours of Fuji WEC Race

October 16, 2013....Round Six of the eight-race 2013 FIA World Endurance Championship series returns to the Oyama, Japan circuit, Fuji International Speedway, for the 6 Hours of Fuji race, October 20.

Krohn Racing owner/driver Tracy W. Krohn and co-driver Nic Jönsson just missed the top step of the podium last year as they, along with third driver Michele Rugolo, finished second in the GTE-Am class of the FIA WEC penultimate round. This year Italian co-driver Maurizio Mediani will attempt to help the duo get their first WEC victory. All drivers are eager to return to Fuji and make their mark at the 2013 running of the 6 Hours of Fuji.

Both Mediani and Jönsson spent part of their early racing career in the 1990s living and racing in Japan and are looking forward to returning. This will be Krohn's second race on the 16 turn, 4.563 km (2.835 miles) in length circuit.

Practice will be Friday and Saturday morning, qualifying Saturday afternoon and the race starts at 11:00 a.m. local time in Japan on Sunday, Oct. 20.


TRACY W. KROHN, Krohn Racing Team Owner/Driver, No. 57 Krohn Racing Ferrari F458 GTE-Am:

Last year you and your teammates just missed the top step of the podium at Fuji, finishing in second place. Share your recollection of last year's race and how you plan to get to the top step this year.

"We had a good race last year. We were fast and I had a strong and long stint. We fell a little short in the end but had out best finish of the year with second place. We need to improve that by one step this year." The Japanese people have really welcomed the Krohn Racing team at Fuji. Share some of your experiences. "We had the best time hosting the school kids with Keiko Ihara last year. As a matter of fact, we had so much fun, we're going to do it again and we can't wait. It was one of the highlights of the year! Everyone we have met in Japan has been so welcoming and we appreciate it and look forward to it!"

NIC JONSSON, No. 57 Krohn Racing Ferrari 430 GTE-Am:

Last year you and your teammates just missed the top step of the podium at Fuji, finishing in second place. Share your recollection of last year's race and how you plan to get to the top step this year.

"We were fast right out of the box last year. The main reason was most people had not been to the Fuji circuit before as it was the first year for the WEC but I had been there racing for three years. With our engineer, we got the car set up quickly and that helped the whole process. Tracy did a great job and we were en route to a win but had a mishap that put us behind. We worked our way back up to second. This year we are going back with same hopes, and along with Maurizio, who has also lived and raced in Japan for a year and is familiar with track, we are optimistic this will hopefully play into our hands. We have had our fair share of bad luck this year with Krohn Racing so we do want to turn that around this coming weekend." What are the things you like about the Fuji circuit and what is the most challenging? "I really that it is a proper race track with along straight, hard braking zones, sharp hairpins and long, fast sweeping corners. Its' challenge is the slow into fast into slow direction that makes you plan a little ahead that makes it a challenge. Like most places if it rains, rain runs across the track which also makes it more challenging."

You used to live in Japan when you raced in the Formula Asia Series in the 1990s. Have you been able to reconnect with some of your old friends since returning to racing at Fuji with the WEC?

"Definitely! Last year was 16 years since I had raced at Fuji and I had many people come up and remember me. I did stay in touch with some people and it was great to see them. The WEC is the largest sports car series in the world. There were lots of familiar faces. They know their motorsports and have a lot of passion and it was great to have that around us last year."

The Japanese people have really welcomed the Krohn Racing team at Fuji. Share some of your experiences.

"Last year we had a group of school kids that came and visited us through another WEC driver, Keiko Ihara, who works with school groups. It was a very enthusiast set of young kids and we loved to have them around with their fun questions. Apparently they had been given the theme of racing where they drew race cars, drivers, flags, and so forth. It was very emotional for us and we had a fantastic experience. We will have another group of school kids through Keiko again this year to sit in car and add to our weekend fun. It makes it even more exciting to travel to these places where you can do something like this with kids where they remember it for the rest of their lives. I certainly will."

Have you found some good sushi restaurants in the area?

"Traditional food of the Japanese culture is sushi and seafood. It is not quite what we get in the States. It is perhaps a little different and more flavorful. We found a few places, including one I remembered from 16 years ago. We'll be back again this year."

MAURIZIO MEDIANI, No. 57 Krohn Racing Ferrari F458 GTE-Am:

Have you ever raced at Fuji Speedway before? If so tell us about your experiences. If not, tell us what you have heard about it.

"I spent a year in Japan in 1999 to do a Japanese championship of Formula 3. At that time the circuit configuration it was different in the last part. I have been there with the FXX program with Ferrari Corse Clienti four years ago and I had an opportunity to drive and learn a little of the new circuit. I like Japan and the Japanese people and this is a good start."

The Krohn Racing team finished second at Fuji last year and your teammates like the track. Do you think the three of you can climb back on the podium this year?

"This season is more difficult than last year. I think achieving the podium will not be easy, especially because the Aston Martin is too fast. For sure we will be there to do our best...and even more."

As the season is starting to wind down, share a little about how your experience has been with Krohn Racing so far this season and with your teammates.

"I'm really proud to be a part of this team. I like the people that work for Krohn Racing; we have good mechanics and good staff. Unfortunately, we had to suffer a bit because of our result, but the championship is not finished. It will soon be our time."

MARK SCHOMANN, Krohn Racing Race Engineer:

Austin was your first official race as the new Krohn Racing Team Engineer. Tell us about how the transition is going.

"I feel the transition is going well. We are starting to work through things and get on a different track. This, of course, will take time and will not happen in one race. I am sure we will see the result of some of that work taking shape at Fuji."

Weather can be a factor at Fuji, and thus tire choices. How important does this become in the race outcome?

"The weather always plays a big role in the outcome of a race. The weather is just more unpredictable at Fuji than at other tracks. We are lucky to be on Michelin tires, which perform well in any condition. I am not so worried about tire this weekend and we are ready for anything."

Another team you engineer, Ram Racing, recently won the ELMS GTE Team and Driver's Championship in a Ferrari 458. How did that championship come together and from that experience what can you potentially bring to Krohn Racing for the rest of the season?

"It was a Cinderella story season for Ram Racing. This is a new team and their first year together. The worst finish for the No. 52 car all season was second. They won the last race to wrap up the championship by over a lap. That is a great accomplishment for any team. They have a lot to be proud of and I am sure they will continue to have great success. I will try to bring a lot of the same car set up and race strategies that brought us this result to the Krohn Racing team in the WEC closing races."

The 6 Hours of Fuji race will be broadcast live around the world via live streaming on the FIA World Endurance Championship website, and on the ACO website, Radio coverage is available on Worldwide coverage varies. Check your local listing.

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