Friday, 03 October 2014 10:45

Krohn Racing Returns to Winning Track for Petit Le Mans

Krohn Racing returns to Road Atlanta for the 17th running of the Petit Le Mans Powered by Mazda race in the IMSA TUDOR United SportsCar Championship, Oct. 2-4. Team owner/driver Tracy W. Krohn and longtime teammate Nic Jonsson are joined in the No. 57 Krohn Racing Ferrari F458 GTLM entry by Italian Ferrari factory driver, Andrea Bertolini.

Krohn Racing won in the GTE-Am class at the14th annual Petit Le Mans race in 2011, with the Intercontinental Le Mans Cup (ILMC) series in a Ferrari F430 with drivers Tracy Krohn, Nic Jonsson and Michele Rugolo. The team shop was based at Road Atlanta when they won in 2011. Nic Jonsson resides in Georgia and calls the historic 2.54-mile circuit his home track. This year's return will be the team's fourth appearance at Petit Le Mans (2007, 2008, and 2011).

Petit Le Mans is the eleventh and final round for the 2014 IMSA TUDOR Championship and fifth race for Krohn Racing in the series. This event also marks the fourth and final round of the Tequila Patro?n North American Endurance Cup. Having competed in all rounds of the NAEC, Krohn Racing is currently seventh in the team point standing for GTLM class and still eligible to take top prize by leading the GTLM class at the four-hour and eight-hour marks in addition to finishing first at the checkered flag.

Krohn Racing's highest finish in the team's limited TUDOR schedule is fourth at the 12 Hours of Sebring. Andrea Bertolini co-piloted this race with the team, as well as at Daytona earlier in the season.

TRACY W. KROHN, Krohn Racing Team Owner/Driver, No. 57 Krohn Racing Ferrari F458 GTLM:
Krohn Racing is coming back to Petit Le Mans for the first time since 2011 where the team took winning honors in the ILMC. Can you talk about your success at that event?
"Petit is a very difficult track to survive on because it's not a very wide track and it's very fast and there are a lot of blind corners so when the prototypes come up on you, very often you don't even see them until they're right there. The biggest part of Petit is staying out of trouble and then running like hell in the dark. It's one of the best tracks in the world, I think, so I'm always excited to come back."

Road Atlanta is such an iconic American road course with elements of European-style circuits. What do you love most about racing at the track?
"It's a relatively smooth track with a lot of blind corners. You come up to Turn One and it's blind and you turn into the esses very quickly. Six is semi-blind and you come up over the bridge and that's blind, so when someone's coming up behind you, you get one look and if you don't take it all in, sometimes you pay a penalty. It just so happened that in 2011 we had very minimal damage to the car, in fact, no damage. When you finish a race without a scratch on the car, that's usually a sign you're on the podium."

Andrea Bertolini will be sharing the cockpit with you and Nic for Petit Le Mans. What strengths does he bring to the table that will help Krohn Racing have more success at Road Atlanta? "We're very excited to have Andrea back in the car with us. He's a very experienced driver and a great guy. He's very calm and brings the equipment back in one piece. He's really quick and he knows this car very well. He does a lot of Ferrari testing so he knows a great amount about the car's performance and what it can do. There's no ego and no drama and he's so pleasant to work with and all around a great driver to share the cockpit with."

NIC JONSSON, Driver, No. 57 Krohn Racing Ferrari F458 GTLM:
Coming back to Petit Le Mans in the Krohn Racing Ferrari from your 2011 win with the team, what are you expecting for this year's race under the new series?
"We're obviously looking at a little different type of complexity since our win in 2011 at Petit in the ILMC GTE-Am. This time around, we're going to race in the TUDOR Championship in the GTLM class, which is a full factory class with full-blown factory driver line ups. Our challenge is that Tracy doesn't do this for a living and running in the GTLM class is big competition. We're up against all these factory teams and are the only privateer, as we have been this whole season, but we're excited to be taking this challenge at Road Atlanta. It was our home track for a long time and we feel very comfortable there. We tested there a couple of weeks ago and a lot of being successful in a 10-hour race is staying out of trouble. We need to be there when it's two hours to go and really get to business. I feel we can have a competitive run, as we did in Sebring, when we finished fourth. We had a podium run going and got a little unlucky, but I'm definitely expecting tough competition at Petit. I'm hoping for a little bit of luck and a lot of consistency to hopefully be on the podium."

What are your thoughts on Andrea Bertolini rejoining the team for this final race of 2014?
"Andrea Bertolini is a phenomenal driver with a lot of championships under his belt. He has probably more experience than anybody in a Ferrari 458, having been a factory driver for many years. He adds a great deal to our program and brings a lot of experience and help from a setup standpoint because he gets the latest and greatest from Ferrari. He's a team player and we're very glad to have Andrea back with us in the Krohn car. I think it's going to be one of the elements that will make it possible for us to compete for a podium finish this weekend."

ANDREA BERTOLINI, Driver, No. 57 Krohn Racing Ferrari F458 GTLM:
You're back with Krohn Racing after driving with them earlier this year at Daytona and Sebring. How do you feel about returning to Krohn Racing in the Ferrari F458 with Tracy and Nic?
"I'm happy to be back and drive with Tracy and Nic. Our last time racing together was at Sebring and we had a strong race. We lost a podium just for something minor with just 20 minutes left in the twelve-hour race. Petit is another chance at a podium."

With any endurance event, getting the car to the finish is a feat of its own. What are you most focused on for Petit Le Mans?
"Of course I'll be most focused on finishing the race and this time, why not to be on the podium of GTLM class. It's also a really competitive class with factory cars and drivers. If really focused, we'll see if we can bring home a win."

Competition is always challenging in the GTLM class, how well do you think the Ferrari is suited against the competition and at the Road Atlanta circuit?
"Every time a Ferrari contends at Road Atlanta, it's a strong car, especially during an endurance race, so I feel positive, like always."

HAYDEN BURVILL, Krohn Racing Engineer:
This is your first race at Road Atlanta with the Krohn Racing team. What is your race strategy going in to the race?
"A race as long as 10 hours is a typical endurance test. My strategy is to make sure we validate our good work from the recent test, and then get into a mode where we bring Andrea Bertolini up to his full potential at this circuit. Tracy and Nic have driven there a lot and just recently too, so we can gain by giving Andrea a chance to be happy with his familiarity with the F458 at Road Atlanta. Beyond that, we have been working to make the team more efficient in many areas and this is our last chance to capitalize on that work in the 2014 season. As always with GTLM, the competition is fierce among the manufacturers and as a private team we are always looking for ways to capitalize on the mistakes of those factory cars."

You just came off of racing in the FIA WEC endurance race in Austin, Texas. What kinds of things did you have to do to turn the car back over to IMSA TUDOR specifications?
"The changes to the F458 are basically the reverse of those to prepare for COTA two weeks ago. We make changes to the weight, engine design, fuel chemistry, aerodynamics and air restrictor. When we tested at Road Atlanta a few weeks ago, we were in Tudor spec. Since then IMSA have made a small reduction in air restrictor size, which we need to follow. In addition we have some new parts to allow the installation of our 2013 rear wing package in the most advantageous position allowed by the IMSA rules."

This final event for Krohn Racing this season is another endurance test. What have you learned in this season's other enduros that will help you get through Petit Le Mans?
"Be patient! The IMSA races have been continuously interrupted by yellow flags and pace cars. This means that any strategy is usually interrupted by something unexpected and will need to be re-jigged as soon as you get back to green flag racing. Be opportunist! Those same interruptions with the safety cars can give you a gift in the form of track position or pit stop sequencing. Stay out of trouble. It's always the same in the endurance races, any time you spend in the pits is a disaster beyond fuel, tires and driver changes, so be smart and avoid any extra stops for repairs or penalties for pit lane violations."

Watch live streaming at as the green flag drops for the start of the Petit Le Mans race, Saturday, October 4 at 11:00 a.m. EDT. Then tune in to FOX Sports 2, broadcasting live at 3:00 p.m. EDT. Additionally, the FOX network will air a two-hour highlight show Sunday, October 5. Check local listings for telecast time.


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