Houston, Texas (July 9, 2015)...The No. 40 Krohn Racing Ligier JS P2-Judd will compete this weekend at the Red Bull Ring in Spielberg, Styria, Austria, for Round Four of the 2015 FIA European Le Mans Series (ELMS) race, the 4 Hours of Red Bull Ring, July 10-12.
Le Mans, France native, Julien Canal, will be substituting for Oswaldo (Ozz) Negri, Jr., who will be racing in Mosport, Canada in the IMSA TUDOR United SportsCar Championship. Canal has an extensive racing history in the Ligier JS P2 and came to Krohn Racing from G-Drive in the FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC), where he drives the Ligier JS P2-Nissan.
Recent successes for Canal include a victory at the Silverstone WEC round in April of this year and he finished on the podium in third place at the recent 24 Hours of Le Mans. He also has four victories last year in FIAWEC with G-Drive, two in the Morgan LM P2 Nissan (Silverstone and Spa) and two in the Ligier JS P2 Nissan (Fuji and Shanghai), finishing second in the LMP2 championship.
Further 24 Hours of Le Mans successes for Canal include three consecutive victories in 2010-2012 in the GT class with Labre Competition in the Saleen S7-R (2010 in GT1) and the Chevrolet Corvette CS-R (2011, 2012 in GTE-Am). In 2013, Julien won the FIAWEC GTE-Am championship with three victories.
Krohn and Jonsson have never raced on the nine turn, 2.688-mile/4.326 km Austrian circuit, which formerly hosted the Austrian Formula 1 from 1970-87 and again 1997-2003. The circuit was formerly called Österreichring but reopened as Red Bull Ring in 2011. Canal has competed on the historic circuit eight times previously.
Krohn Racing has two Top Five finishes in the previous two ELMS four-hour races (fourth at Silverstone and fifth at Imola), with Krohn and Jonsson paired with Negri. The duo finished 12th in class at the 2015 running of the 24 Hours of Le Mans in their tenth consecutive effort, competing in that round with Joao Barbosa as a co-driver.
TRACY W. KROHN, Krohn Racing Team Owner/Driver:
Red Bull Ring is a new track for you. What are you looking forward to about this event and competing on the new circuit?
“Red Bull Ring will be a verification of the work we have put in to the car since Le Mans. We had a lot of electrical gremlins that we have fought hard to correct, including some additional testing at Magny Cours. I expect a better car than what we had at Le Mans.”
What new knowledge are you bringing from Le Mans and the recent test about the Ligier to help in this weekend's race in Austria?
“We believe we have the on-board systems communicating better now and should not have the power losses we experienced at Le Mans. At Le Mans we were without communication, traction control, reliable data gathering, and we were occasionally losing power. It was difficult to balance the car off the low speed corners, particularly without traction control, and add to that sporadic loss of power and the difficulty that caused just in getting out of the pits!”
You have a new, very experienced and successful Ligier JS P2 co-driver this week in Julien Canal. Share why you selected him to substitute for Ozz and what you hope he can bring to the Krohn Racing team.
“Julien is a very good and very reliable driver. We were impressed with his abilities while competing against him in WEC. He did a great job in winning a championship there and he always brought the car back relatively unscathed. He has also spent a good bit of time in the Ligier now and we have seen how quick he is in that car as well. We look forward to having him on the team at Red Bull Ring.”
NIC JONSSON, Krohn Racing, Driver:
How did the test go at Magny Cours this past week?
“The shakedown/system check at Magny Cours went well; we got the things done we wanted to get checked and work properly. Despite the 41C degree temperature we managed to work through the list of things we wanted.”
You and Tracy will race for the first time this weekend at Red Bull Ring but Julien has been there numerous times. What predictions do make for this race and what challenges are you anticipating for this event?
“It's always a challenge when you come to a track you never been to before, but with the allowed track walks and video we been able to study, I believe all of us will be fairly comfy after the first practice session. Our goal is to be competitive and try to finish on the podium. One of the challenges this weekend may be the weather since they are reporting 35C plus and that will put a great challenge for all drivers to manage the heat, tires, brakes, etc.”
JULIEN CANAL, Krohn Racing, Driver:
How can your Ligier driving experience and LMP2 successes help the Krohn Racing team this weekend at Red Bull Ring?
“This race will be my ninth Red Bull Ring race with the Ligier JS-P2, so I think my experience is very interesting for the team. I have tried many settings, so my opinion on the adjustments will help the team in its work.”
You will be with a new team in a different series this week. What preparations have you done in order to be ready?
“To be ready for this race weekend, I found some other driver information with technical reports and onboard cameras. I know that I have to be ready just on the first few laps to work as soon as possible on the car set up.”
HAYDEN BURVILL, Krohn Racing, Engineer:
Substitute driver, Julien Canal, brings much Ligier experience and LMP2 success to this weekend’s race. What will he be able to do in order to help Nic, Tracy and the team make it to the podium at Red Bull Ring?
“As with having Oli Pla, Ozz Negri and Alex Brundle, it's always great to have drivers with JSP2 experience join the team and expand our understanding of where we can improve the car and take full advantage of the performance potential in this package. Julien will have a good read on the other drivers in the ELMS P2 class, although it will be his first experience on the Michelin P2 tires in the JSP2. I expect his contribution will be in every area of car and driver prep for the 4 Hours of Red Bull Ring.”
Do you have any prior experience at Red Bull Ring or is this a new track for everyone on the team?
“No, this is my first visit to the RBR and my first visit to this region of Austria. The weather can be unusually hot and I understand the surface on the RBR is quite low grip. I watched the recent F1 intently to improve my awareness of the circuit and its challenges and will look forward to our first data downloads to see if our preparations are on target for the JSP2.”
What else has the team been doing since Le Mans in order to prepare for this event?
“The Krohn Racing team has been hard at work to discover why the car unexpectedly stopped on circuit during the LM24 event. Ultimately we discovered some software errors that were in third party source codes and a couple of other electronic irregularities that put the car at risk. We made a short and very hot shakedown test at Magny Cours last week to prove these problems have been eliminated. Our expectation is to run trouble-free no matter how hot the weekend weather is at the RBR.”
GARY HOLLAND, Krohn Racing, Team Manager:
How will the team prepare or strategize any differently with Julien Canal substituting for Ozz this weekend and this being a new track for all three drivers?
“Our engineering group will decide as the weekend progresses how to strategize for the addition of Julien; he has a lot of seat time in the Ligier so we expect him to be up to speed very quickly.”
Going into Round 3 of the ELMS championship (not including LM24), you, Nic and Ozz are currently 4th in LMP2 driver points and Krohn Racing is 4th in team standings. What is it going to take for the team to get their first win and keep advancing in the championship?
“The primary goal is to be fault free every event and maximize every second of session time. With ELMS having a very compact weekend, we need to be keep maximizing our opportunities. With 2015 being our first season competing in ELMS and LMP2 every event is a learning curve as we don’t have the plethora of data other teams have compiled over previous seasons in the same machinery.”
Two practice sessions are scheduled for Saturday, July 11, with a 20-minute qualifying session for the LMP2 class on Sunday morning, July 12 at 9:45-10:05 a.m. local time (3:45 a.m. EDT). The 4 Hours of Red Bull Ring ELMS race runs Sunday, July 12 from 1:30-5:30 p.m. local time (7:30 a.m.–12:30 p.m. EDT).
You can follow the Red Bull Ring ELMS action for qualifying and the race streamed live on Sunday, July 12, on the official website at www.europeanlemansseries.com. Live timing and scoring can also be found there.