The No. 57 Krohn Racing Ferrari F458 team started the race from eighth on the grid in GTE-Am on Saturday afternoon as the first raindrops of the day touched the track surface. The rain passed before starting driver Nic Jonsson had gotten more than few laps into the six-hour endurance. Jonsson drove for almost an hour before handing the green-and-blue liveried Prancing Horse over to teammate and Krohn Racing team owner Tracy W. Krohn.
Once in the car for his first stint, Tracy Krohn clocked his fastest lap of the weekend. Then, after being hit by a fellow GTE competitor during an attempted pass, the Krohn Ferrari sustained cosmetic damage on the front left but did not require Krohn to pit for repairs. The dry weather conditions that Jonsson had experienced throughout his first turn behind the wheel quickly turned into a heavy rainfall, and Krohn managed to keep the Ferrari F458 on track when many of the top competitors hydroplaned through the standing water. After a significant amount of rainwater collected on the circuit in a short amount of time, the race was red-flagged on Lap 41 and cars were stopped on the front straight to wait the rainstorm out. After 43 minutes under red-flag circumstances, the WEC field paced under caution for a few laps to dry the track out before returning to green-flag conditions.
The Texas-based Krohn team made the right decision from the start with regards to tire choice. This proved to be a big factor in keeping the car out of trouble for the duration of the six-hour enduro in Austin, Texas. The weekend was the first day-to-night racing at the COTA circuit and saw mixed weather conditions that took their toll on the field of 29 WEC entries.
TRACY W. KROHN, Krohn Racing Team Owner/Driver, No. 57 Krohn Racing Ferrari F458 GTE-Am:
"It was a really bizarre race to start off with due to the weather conditions. We got the tire selection right the first time, then we had to drive around (under caution) until it got really dry and then we didn't have the right tires. I had to spend most of my stint on tires that weren't right for the track at the time but it was okay. The car was actually fairly good. I had one unfortunate incident with one of the Aston Martins that dive-bombed me and caused a little bit of damage and time. Overall I was pretty satisfied with what I had to do. Everybody was hoping that we would do better but sometimes it just doesn't work that way. It was a bizarre race with bizarre weather conditions."
NIC JONSSON, Driver, No. 57 Krohn Racing Ferrari F458 GTE-Am:
"I started the race and really struggled with my grip. I couldn't really figure out what happened but it must have been the track conditions that the car didn't like so much. I was working really hard to keep it on track. Then Tracy got in and was in for about half an hour before a big downpour came and Tracy kept the car on track. He did a phenomenal job and really put us in contention there. From then on, we had a pretty solid run and when I got back in at the end, the car was balanced and the only two cars we couldn't really keep up with were the two Aston Martins. They are in a completely different league. I don't know why that is but they are more like a Pro car than an Am car so it's really hard to compete with those guys. We were very competitive with the rest of the field for the last hour so and I'm very pleased with that. The Krohn Racing team did a fantastic job prepping the car so I'm looking forward to going home, recharging the batteries and coming back to Petit Le Mans in two weeks time. This is my home track and has been the Krohn Racing base for a very long time. We hope to have a good showing there in a couple weeks and end the season on a positive note."
BEN COLLINS, Driver, No. 57 Krohn Racing Ferrari F458 GTE-Am:
"It was great coming here with Krohn (Racing) for my second race with the team and for the home track race. The weather was fairy uncharacteristic for Texas, so I'm told. We got absolutely hammered with rain. For me, it was great. I went out on intermediate tires when it was quite wet and sliding around was quite fun. The tire was the right call because they lasted pretty well. We switched to slicks and bashed around and really tried to make up some ground. I think we didn't have the balance the way we wanted it to be. We were close, but not quite there. Without making many excuses, we had a really great car, ran flawlessly and hoped to be further up the field. The guys did a great job, as always, with very quick pit stops and we were in the right place. A sixth place finish is a good result for this race."
HAYDEN BURVILL, Krohn Racing Engineer:
"The weather was really a factor for us. The track actually wasn't good to begin with for us. We made a rapid and considered choice to go onto wets early, which under normal circumstances would have paid off except the race director stopped the race and gave everyone the free chance to catch up and put wets on under a red flag, which negated the prudent choice by us. Once the track was washed and started to dry, we did a short stint on intermediates while the rest of the water was cleaned up and then went back to slicks a little bit later than everyone else. I don't think that hurt us. The track conditions were more suitable for the car after it rained and Nic ran very steadily at the end. Ben did a solid job and Nic picked up the pace where we hoped he would. He ended up running a pace that was good amongst the Ferraris, but not very competitive against the Aston Martins. All in all, it was a good day for Krohn Racing."
GARY HOLLAND, Krohn Racing Team Manager:
"Obviously it was a really difficult race for everyone. I think the guys did a really good job in very trying conditions. There were a lot of opportunities to go off and mess up and obviously it was the same for everyone. We saw a lot of people in the gravel traps, so I'm really glad we finished the race. The guys did a really great job and extracted the best out of the car in the conditions handed to them."
The next round for Krohn Racing will be Petit Le Mans powered by Mazda, the season finale for both the IMSA TUDOR United SportsCar Championship and the Tequila Patron North American Endurance Cup, at Road Atlanta in Braselton, Georgia. The 10-hour endurance event will take place on October 4th.