Wednesday, 22 January 2014 13:06

Krohn Racing Returns to Daytona for the 52nd Running of the Rolex 24

Krohn Racing returns this weekend to Daytona International Speedway for the 52nd running of the legendary 24 Hours of Daytona in the new IMSA TUDOR United Sports Car Championship. Krohn Racing is prepared for their 10th year in a row at the Rolex 24 At Daytona endurance challenge, having competed in both DP and GT classes every year since 2005.

Last year the popular green-and-blue liveried Krohn Racing Ferrari competed in the FIA World Endurance Championship for the full season, and the team is ready to get back to racing in the U.S. The No. 57 Ferrari F458, which will compete in the GT Le Mans (GTLM) class of the new IMSA TUDOR Championship, recently tested at Daytona during the Roar Before the 24, and the team feels they have a solid setup and chance for success at the 24-hour endurance event.

With the addition of endurance sports car ace Peter Dumbreck and Ferrari factory driver Andrea Bertolini to the driver lineup for the Rolex 24 at Daytona, Krohn Racing regulars, team owner/driver Tracy W. Krohn and teammate Nic Jonsson, are eager to take to the 3.56-mile superspeedway/road course circuit for the historic race.

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

This will be your 10th year competing at the Daytona 24 hour race and you have finished as high as 4th overall (2010) but never quite made it to the podium. How much would it mean to you to be able to stand on the podium this season?

"That's the reason we're here. We come here to win. We've been to Daytona many times and we keep coming back because we want that podium finish. To win Daytona has been one of our main goals as a team for a long time and it's an unfinished goal that we hope to rectify this year."

Krohn Racing accomplished almost everything the team set out to accomplish at the Daytona test. Can you talk about the takeaways from the test and how you will apply what was learned to the race?

"It's our first time here with the Ferrari, so getting a good baseline of information at the test was most important. Nic and I already know the track well, but Peter has to learn and Andrea has to relearn it. You can never do enough testing, so we will continue to work on setup and advancements this week prior to the race start."

Having competed in many endurance events in the WEC and ILMC the past three seasons, what kind of preparation does it take to make it through a 24-hour event and be successful?

"At any race, you have to be there at the end, so taking care of the car throughout all of our stints will be the priority for us. We've got a good team, experienced drivers, and an excellent car, so we have the right combination. Hopefully we've prepared for whatever this challenging race might throw at us, but we just need to keep the car out of trouble and be there at the end."

Sports car aces Andrea Bertolini and Peter Dumbreck have joined Krohn Racing for this year's Rolex 24. What are your goals and hopes for them for the race?

"We're really happy to have Andrea and Peter joining Nic and me for this race. Both are excellent endurance drivers, and Andrea is a Ferrari factory driver, so we couldn't ask for better additions to our team. With our combined knowledge, we hope to run up front, keep the car in good condition, and even stand on the podium on Sunday."

NIC JONSSON, Driver, No. 57 Krohn Racing Ferrari F458 GTLM:

You and Tracy have raced together at Daytona for the past nine years (from 2005-2013) but have not yet earned the coveted Rolex. What are you focusing on improving for this year's Daytona 24 so that you can capture a podium finish?

"We're not going to do much different than usual when it comes to preparation for the Rolex 24 Hour At Daytona. We've competed here many times, and we know that 24-hour races are about consistency and staying out of trouble. We have a car that has been fast enough to win in previous years, but other circumstances took hold of the situation. We've been in a position to win but then had mechanical issues take us out, which was out of the team's control. We have a good chance, same as we've always had. It's most important to stay consistent and start to really push when the sun comes up on Sunday morning."

Having competed in many endurance events in the WEC and ILMC the past three seasons, what kind of preparation does it take to make it through a 24-hour event and be successful?

"Twenty-four hour endurance races are mentally draining. You need to be mentally prepared, and you have to be on for the entire time. Even though you get time to rest, you can't really sleep and you wouldn't want to because you want to know what's happening in the race. You also burn a lot of calories through a 24-hour race and to be able to stay focused for such a long time is tough. You must start preparing yourself well before the race with proper nutrition and exercise and mental focus. It's a long race with a lot of attrition, so our first goal is just to make it through."

You're competing this season with the same Ferrari you and Tracy raced with last year in the WEC. At the test, was the team able to nail down a setup for the Ferrari that you think will be manageable for the race?

"The focus for the test was to get a solid race car. We weren't focusing so much on speed as consistency and making sure we know how to avoid incidents. The downforce is different for the GTs than the prototypes. We worked on all of that at the test. We looked at all potential technical issues and feel prepared for whatever comes our way in the race. Andrea drives Ferraris all day everyday, but Peter doesn't have as much experience in this car, so we're also focused on racecraft."

With as many as 67 entries expected for the Rolex 24 racer, how important is it going to be to manage traffic around the Speedway?

"Traffic is the key factor in an endurance race such as Daytona, especially with such an enormous field. That's a lot of cars going around a track at once. I bet that 30 percent of the drivers have never raced at Daytona before, so it's going to be as much focusing on the other cars as your own driving. There are really experienced gentleman drivers, and then you have the guys coming into their first pro race, so you have to be conscious of other people around you, which is the biggest challenge. Every time you're coming up to a car, you have to make sure it's a safe pass and know that you have enough space. Our responsibility as the more experienced guys is to make sure we don't cause the trouble, and we also have to stay out of it."

PETER DUMBRECK, Driver, No. 57 Krohn Racing Ferrari F458 GTLM:

You've competed in 24-hour events before, but never the Daytona 24. What are you general expectations coming to this track?

"I've only heard good things about the Daytona 24 Hour. It's renowned for being a fun but competitive race, and perhaps a bit more relaxed than the 24 Hours of Le Mans. Coming from Europe, it's unusual driving on a banked oval so I'm looking forward to the experience. I had a good run in a race simulator last week to get ready for the race."

With new teammates and a crew that is unfamiliar to you, what do you bring to the Krohn Racing team that will help your co-drivers be successful at Daytona?

"I have been racing on track at the same time as Krohn Racing for many years, so I feel I know the car well. I have 20 years of racing experience and seventeen 24-hour race starts. Hopefully I can integrate into the team and get up to speed quickly so we can have a solid performance in the Ferrari."

What do you see as the biggest challenge coming to a new Series in a highly competitive GT Le Mans class at a track that these cars have never raced at before?

"We are fortunate to have a really strong, experienced team in Krohn Racing, so I'm not worried about performance from the car or team. The one thing that is difficult to control is the number of cars on track at one time. There are 67 cars entered for the race on a 3.5mile track. It's going to be busy!"

ANDREA BERTOLINI, Driver, No. 57 Krohn Racing Ferrari F458 GTLM:

For your first race with Krohn Racing, what are you most looking forward to? What do you think will be the biggest challenge of joining a new team in the new GTLM class?

"First of all, it's a great honor to race for the first time with Krohn Racing, a well-known and respected team. I have never driven for this team before, but I know that the level of professionalism is very high, also thanks to Risi's technical assistance."

You're very comfortable in a Ferrari. Can you talk about what Ferrari experience you'll bring to the team and how you can add to the technical knowledge?

"I do believe Krohn Racing has the full knowledge and experience both on the technical and sporting side to compete at the highest level. I can only repeat how much I am happy to have the chance to compete with a team who has been racing with Ferraris for a very long time."

Having not been able to participate in the test at the beginning of January, how have you prepared for this event?

"I don't think that my absence at the January test will be an handicap, as we can count on all the information collected by Krohn Racing and Risi Competizione in the test session. Now it will be just a matter of finalizing data and fine-tuning of the cars during the practice sessions. Then, it will be up to us drivers."

HAYDEN BURVILL, Krohn Racing Engineer:

Can you talk about your racing experience and how it translates to this team and this endurance event at Daytona?

"I've been a Race Engineer since 1992, so I've been to many races in different series and disciplines. You bring something from every single event as you go along. The benefit of age and experience is the ability to recognize the kernel of a situation that may expand into an advantage or disadvantage. When you sense a situation developing, it's probably based on a previous experience and you can draw on that to approach each situation for a competitive decision. This is true of the practice and preparation as well as during the race. As an endurance event, it's a matter of pacing yourself and keeping your cognitive skills clear and available all the way through to the end of the race. That means being calm and relaxed and avoiding any excess demands beyond the role of keeping the car in the most competitive position practical."

What did you learn at the Test and in the last few weeks about this team and the car that you can bring to the race?

"We learned that the GTLM cars have a distinct top speed disadvantage to the GTD cars. This is going to be critical to strategy in the race. Unfortunately, the GTD class will also have the least experienced drivers, mixed with some of the most experienced endurance drivers in the world. The challenge will be for our drivers to process that and avoid getting into trouble with the less experienced GTD drivers. The Krohn team is full of experienced racers so I don't expect any surprises on the track or in the pit."

For any 24-hour race, it's crucial to have the car make it to the end of the race. Technically speaking, what are you focusing on to make sure that the car stays out of trouble?

"It's my goal to give the drivers a car that can be placed anywhere in the corners. This will give us the best chance of meeting the expectation of avoiding contact and other driver's errors. Becoming involved in another car's misadventure is the greatest risk, and our drivers have the unenviable role of being on the frontline of that team objective. The Ferrari 458 is a durable car and I don't expect any car issues. The goal will be to avoid all issues on the track. Our practice with the spotter during the Roar Before the 24 has also illustrated the critical role the spotter will play in keeping the 57 car out of trouble."

GARY HOLLAND, Krohn Racing Team Manager:

You've just come on board with Krohn Racing for the season. What are your thoughts for what you are bringing to the team for a successful year ahead?

"Krohn Racing is going through a transitional phase at the moment: not only on the track with IMSA and Grand-Am merging, but also off the track. We are pleased to have the technical support of Risi Competizione; the team also moved headquarters to Houston, which in itself is quite a big change.

With all of these things going on, I am hoping to bring a drive to achieve all of the goals set out by the team throughout 2014 and beyond. I feel that we can mold into an excellent team given the experience of everyone involved and the desire to be successful. Obviously being a privateer team is very difficult when you are up against the factory teams, however, with the championship merger, everyone is finding their feet. I hope that with the expertise we have within Krohn Racing we can hit the ground running and take advantage whenever we have the opportunity. We have an experienced driver line up, so it's our goal to give them the best possible opportunity to achieve success."

The green flag will drop on the 52nd Annual Rolex 24 Hours of Daytona at 2:10 p.m. ET on January 25. Tune in to FOX for the LIVE start of the race at 2:00 p.m. ET on January 25. Overnight coverage of the Rolex 24 will stream on starting at 9:00 p.m. ET.

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