Houston, Texas (October 15, 2015)...Krohn Racing heads to beautiful Estoril Circuit near the Atlantic Coast and Lisbon, Portugal this week for the 4 Hours of Estoril, the season finale of the European Le Mans Series (ELMS). The six-race series has seen the No. 40 Krohn Racing Ligier-Judd finish in the Top Five in the highly contested LMP2 class in all previous European rounds.
Team owner/driver Tracy W. Krohn will pair again with longtime teammate Nic Jonsson and Frenchman Olivier Pla, an official Nissan driver, for the last ELMS round this weekend, October 17-18. Krohn Racing currently sits fourth in the LMP2 class Team Championship point standings, with Krohn and Jonsson also fourth in Driver Championship points.
Pla, an Onroak Automotive Ligier JSP2 test driver, will be joining Krohn Racing for the fourth time this season (24 Hours of Daytona, 12 Hours of Sebring and 4 Hours of Paul Ricard). He has extensive experience on the 4.138-kilometer/2.57-mile Portugal circuit. He previously won the 2004 Estoril round in the World Series by Nissan with Carlin Motorsports in a Dallara-Nissan. Additionally in 2009, the year which saw Pla win the LMP2 ELMS title, his Quifel ASM Team was based in Lisbon, so he participated in extensive testing at the Estoril Circuit in the team's Zytek LMP2 car.
Krohn and Jonsson previously drove the Estoril circuit in November 2014 when the Krohn Racing Team first received delivery of the new Onroak-designed Ligier JSP2 Judd-powered race car. Diverse weather conditions, including rain, were part of the 573-kilomter/358-mile two-day test.
Krohn Racing has four Top Five finishes in ELMS this season, including fourth place at the 4 Hours of Silverstone (with drivers Krohn, Jonsson and Ozz Negri) and fifth at the 4 Hours of Imola (with drivers Krohn, Jonsson and Negri), the 4 Hours of Red Bull Ring (with Krohn, Jonsson and Julien Canal) and the 4 Hours of Paul Ricard (with Krohn, Jonsson and Pla). Krohn Racing also competed in the prestigious 24 Hours of Le Mans, where they finished a hard-fought 12th-place with drivers Krohn, Jonsson and Joao Barbosa.
TRACY W. KROHN, Krohn Racing Team Owner/Driver:
You did a brief test at Estoril last winter when you first received the new Ligier. What do you think about returning to the circuit?
"We did our shakedown and test after we first took delivery of the Ligier at the Estoril Circuit. It's a rather technical track with a long straight and numerous turns. You throw in some hard braking zones, a bumpy surface and you have to watch not to go too wide and get in the marbles or to not use the kerbs incorrectly, so it's challenging. I'm glad we've at least had a little experience at Estoril so hopefully we can get up to speed fairly quickly since there is limited track time at these ELMS events prior to the race."
OLIVIER PLA, Krohn Racing, Driver:
You are back for the final ELMS race with Krohn Racing for the fourth and final time this season. How have you enjoyed your experience with the team?
"Since I met this team at the beginning of the season in Daytona it is truly a joy to work with them and I cannot thank Tracy enough for giving me the opportunity to finish the season with him and Nic. From the beginning we had very good relationship all together and it means a lot for me."
What is it going to take to finish on the podium at Estoril?
"We showed a great pace in Paul Ricard last month and I was very happy with the car balance. We definitely had the pace for a podium so we want to continue to build on that and I will give everything to make sure we can finish very high this season. I simply can't wait!"
NIC JONSSON, Krohn Racing, Driver:
Going into the final race of the ELMS season, what are you looking most forward to accomplishing at Estoril and how feasible is it going to be to obtain that goal?
"The ELMS series is a highly competitive series in the LMP2 class, so it's always really good and tough competition, but our goal is, for sure, to be on the podium. The big question is how good our Michelin tire will pair to the Dunlop at this circuit. I think it's going to be good, since it is an abrasive surface and the Michelins seem to do really well under those conditions."
How difficult will it be to finish ahead of the other LMP2 competition vying for their place in the ELMS Championship?
"We are currently fourth in the Championship, and will push hard to keep that position with a top result. At the same time you need to keep in mind that there is several other teams running for the title that, unfortunately, we our out of, so you need to make sure to not get involved in any of those situations where someone can get caught out, but we are there to win and race hard."
Do you have any history at the Estoril circuit? If so, tell us about it.
"Yes, I have experience at Estoril from back in my F3 days in the early 1990's, and from the first test we did with the Ligier LMP2 car when we took delivery of it last November. Last year when we tested at Estoril it was raining for the most part, but I do know the circuit and the layout, so I’m really looking forward to go back and to finish this season strong."
HAYDEN BURVILL, Krohn Racing, Race Engineer:
The team is 24 points out of third place contention. What will have to happen for Krohn Racing to finish third in the LMP2 Championship?
"It would require an extreme long shot with only 25 points available for the win. If Greaves score no points and Krohn win the race then their current positions in the championship could be reversed."
Krohn Racing previously tested at Estoril after the Ligier car delivery. Will you be able to take much information from the previous test to use in this weekend’s race?
"Our test was in 2014 and was the three-day delivery test for our then new Ligier JSP2. We ran the whole test on 2014 Dunlop tires and mostly in the rain. The best take away from that test is complete familiarity with Estoril in the rain and where the rivers cross the road, etc. Our understanding of the car on delivery day was too naive to really appreciate the potential and how it responded to set-up changes. The conditions were too wet to be very experimental. It could be the same this weekend, so we do have that useful familiarity."
Is there any new team strategy or changes made to the Ligier JS P2 going into this event?
"No, it’s business as usual this weekend. However, with heavy rain forecast for Saturday and Sunday, it’s possible we will see our Michelin wet tire options offer a unique advantage. The driver line-up remains Tracy, Nic and Oli, and we will look at how our driver rotation can work to offer the best advantage as we see the weather and our pace in general develop on Saturday."
GARY HOLLAND, Krohn Racing, Team Manager:
What has the team been doing to prepare for the final race event of the ELMS 2015 season?
"As a team we have done nothing different in our car preparation. We have been making incremental improvements throughout the season as a team to every aspect of the organization. We are striving, as ever, for a good result to round off what has been a very solid first season in ELMS with the Ligier Judd LMP2 car."
As the season comes to a close after Estoril, what's next for Krohn Racing?
"We are evaluating a multitude of options for 2016. We are pretty unique in that our owner/driver, Tracy, actually has a very demanding day job; so we have to balance the demands of each race calendar with his needs as a businessman. He is almost unique in that he doesn't devote his life to racing like a lot of so called 'amateur drivers'. So, to answer your question, we are balancing the options and deciding on the best thing to develop Krohn Racing into 2016 and beyond."
Two practice sessions are scheduled for Saturday, October 17, with a 20-minute qualifying session for the LMP2 class on Sunday morning, October 18, shortly before the 4 Hours of Estoril ELMS race goes green from 1:00-5:00 p.m. local time (7:00–11:00 a.m. EDT).
You can follow the Estoril ELMS action for qualifying and the race streamed live on Sunday, October 18, on the official website at www.europeanlemansseries.com, along with live timing and scoring.
Follow Krohn Racing on Facebook.com/KrohnRacing, on Twitter @KrohnRacing and on Instagram at KrohnRacing.
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