Silverstone, England (April 11, 2015)…The first round of the 2015 European Le Mans Series (ELMS) got off to a positive start for the U.S.-based Krohn Racing Team at Silverstone Circuit in Northamptonshire, England today. The No. 57 Krohn Racing Ligier JS P2 Judd finished fourth in the inaugural round of the ELMS with team owner/driver Tracy W. Krohn and co-drivers Nic Jonsson and Oswaldo (Ozz) Negri, Jr. handling driving duties for the 4 Hours of Silverstone race.
For the ELMS teams, it was a busy day which included both qualifying and the four-hour race as part of the abbreviated ELMS two-day schedule. After struggling a bit in Friday’s two practice sessions with set-up challenges and three punctured tires, team owner/driver Tracy W. Krohn qualified the Ligier-Judd this morning so that the team could allow him additional seat time.
Oswaldo Negri, Jr. started the Krohn Racing Ligier JS P2 Judd from the tenth position on the 31-car grid. By his first pit stop, approximately 45-minutes into the race on Lap 24 for fuel, the Brazilian-born driver had advanced the popular green-and-blue liveried Ligier to fifth position. Ozz relinquished the car to Krohn about 45 minutes later. Krohn drove a good, clean stint and turned the car over to Swede Nic Jonsson with just 90 minutes left and in seventh position. Longtime teammate Jonsson drove a double stint and brought the No. 57 Ligier-Judd to the checkered in fourth place, a great effort by the small American team in their first ELMS entry.
HAYDEN BURVILL, Krohn Racing, Engineer:
“We finished fourth, which is obviously quite respectable given the quality of competition. We did finish a lap down which isn’t where we wanted to be, but we know where we lost time and there’s a few things we know we need to work on to be more competitive. There were a lot of unknowns going into the week, not least of all the fact that we hadn’t tested here at all. The last time I was here with another race car was in 1992. I know Ozz hadn’t been here with this race configuration, as well. There was a lot of work to do in such a short amount of time that I think we were able to get the car in a position where it was noticed in the race and its performance was noteworthy, being we were the first car to finish on Michelin tires. The decision to run Michelin tires has been reviewed, shall I say, by a lot of people, and we are that much more comfortable running with a great tire they’ve given us. We need to go away and work on how we do this type of racing, versus the type of racing we’re familiar with in America. We need to work on how we get through a weekend that has so little track time in preparation for each event. As much as I’m disappointed that we didn’t perform better, I’m satisfied that we did not perform too poorly and I’m excited by all the new challenges that come with a new series and new people and things to learn that makes for an exciting year ahead.”
TRACY W. KROHN, Krohn Racing Team Owner/Driver:
“The good news is that we finished. We had a little bit of bad luck with the timing on a full course caution, but there was nothing we could do about it. Otherwise, we could have finished on the podium here at Silverstone and we’re off to a pretty fine start. The car was quite good during the race and I feel like we’ve solved most of the problems we had with the set-up from the first day. All-in-all it was a good race. The team did a good job. The pit stops were good and everything went well. We just need a little more luck and the car is actually quite good, so we're getting there. It keeps getting better every race.”
NIC JONSSON, Krohn Racing, Driver:
“After struggling during practice we were a little behind the curve all weekend. Things started to fall in place for us during the race a little and the car started to improve. We made some changes to the car after yesterday’s practice and Tracy did a good job qualifying today putting us in the right direction. In the race, for us, we tried to stay out of trouble and run a steady, good pace and ended up with a fourth-place finish, which I think we have to be very pleased with for the first ELMS race of the season and first race ever for us over here(in ELMS). We survived the cold at Silverstone today. So, now we’re going to go back and look at what we did here today and I think of how we can improve and make the car go faster. We’ll be back for the next race in a little over a month and hope to put the No. 40 Krohn Racing Ligier Judd on the podium.”
OSWALDO NEGRI, JR., Krohn Racing, Driver:
“After the first session I wasn’t sure where we would be. (Krohn Race Engineer) Hayden and the whole crew worked so hard on improving the car and the second practice session we definitely improved the car. I only had seven practice laps before the race. And Nic was the same way. I'm very happy for the team. The way they worked and fixed the problems that we had, I'm just extremely impressed. I think we debuted strong here and I'm just exceedingly happy.”
GARY HOLLAND, Krohn Racing, Team Manager:
“We, in general, struggled on Friday, given the compact weekend we had here. It pays to make the most of every second of track time we have, but I think if you told us on Friday we would have finished P4, I'd think we would have taken it with both hands. All three drivers drove superb stints. Unfortunately, the safety car came out at the wrong time and wrong position for us, but sometimes you make your own luck. I think we should be very pleased with where we are as this was a solid start. As previous European Le Mans Series have proven, the key is to finish every race in the first instance, and hopefully we'll get stronger moving on to the next event at Imola.”
The next race for Krohn Racing is Round Two of the European Le Mans Series, the 4 Hours of Imola, in Imola, Italy, May 16-17, 2015.