Estoril, Portugal (October 18, 2015)...For the 2015 FIA European Le Mans Series (ELMS) finale for the 4 Hours of Estoril race Krohn Racing brought Olivier Pla back in to the "Krohn Family", along with team owner/driver Tracy W. Krohn and longtime teammate Nic Jonsson at the wheel.
Pla led the way in the first rain-shortened first practice on Saturday and followed it up with qualifying in the third position for Sunday's four hour race. The No. 41 Greaves Motorsport entry was put to the back of the grid for improving under caution in qualifying, promoting the No. 40 Krohn Racing Ligier-Judd to the front row for today's race. Tracy Krohn was elected to start the race and unfortunately spun on cold tires on the first lap, which put the fan favorite green-and-blue machine back to 29th of 30 cars after requiring a pit stop.
Weather was a factor during the race as numerous caution flags were flown when competitors spun off and experienced problems during the on-and-off rainy conditions. Nic Jonsson was second in the car and drove fiercely through the competition to bring the No. 40 Ligier up to the eighth position before turning the car back over to Krohn for a mid-race stint. Olivier Pla drove for the final hour and a half to cross the finish line in eighth position on the 4.138-kilometer/2.57-mile Portugal circuit.
The only American team on the ELMS grid took fourth in the year-end ELMS LMP2 Trophy Teams Championship, an impressive season-long finish for the small privateer team in their first season of ELMS competition.
Houston, Texas-based Krohn Racing finished in the Top Five in the four previous ELMS four-hour races (fourth at Silverstone and fifth at Imola) with Krohn and Jonsson paired with Oswaldo (Ozz) Negri, Jr. They also finished fifth at the 4 Hours of Red Bull Ring paired with Julien Canal and fifth at Paul Ricard with Olivier Pla.
TRACY W. KROHN, Krohn Racing Team Owner/Driver:
“We really had a good position to start out. I started, but made a big mistake going into turn one, then got off track, then went off track again as a result of pick-up on the tires. It was a rough start for us and I wish it had been different, but sometimes you live and learn. This result didn’t affect our overall standings for the season. We finished fourth overall, so it was a good day for us. It’s a very competitive series. I really enjoy doing the entire ELMS circuit. It will be good if we can come back next and know all the tracks. Of course the only different track will be Spa, but we’ve been there before, although not in a P car, so it should be fun. I’m already looking forward to it.”
NIC JONSSON, Krohn Racing, Driver:
"It's been a very different conditions here this weekend. It started out with rain in practice and we had a very good car in the rain. We were quickest in P1 (Practice 1). We struggled a little bit when we first started running in the dry but I think we got the car pretty well dialed in. The race today had shifting weather conditions and we had a challenging race. The guys did a great job preparing the car for us. It was very reliable. The Michelin tire was very good on and off on the wet track, versus the damp track and back to dry track again. All-in-all to finish fourth overall in the championship the first time in the ELMS series is considered acceptable and overall it's been very interesting to come over here and run on the race tracks I ran on in the 1990s in Formula 3. To be back at these track brings back a lot of memories and it's great to be back here with Krohn Racing, and with Olivier Pla and Tracy Krohn as my teammates. Hopefully we'll get an opportunity to come back here again next year and, now with some more experience under our belts, maybe come back and hopefully win some races and compete for the championship."
OLIVIER PLA, Krohn Racing, Driver:
"Obviously it's a disappointing result for today. We had pace to be in the Top 4 again. Unfortunately, we lost position at the start of the race. That's the way it is. I think the car was good and we could run a decent pace. I was really glad to be back with Krohn Racing for the last two races. I wanted to finish a little higher and hopefully be on the podium but now we'll focus on the championship finish."
HAYDEN BURVILL, Krohn Racing, Race Engineer:
“Coming into the weekend, it was obviously going to be tricky. The weather was already forecasted to be difficult for us. We had two sessions, one wet and one dry. Then going into the race, there was uncertainty on if it would be wet and which part of the race would be wet. We did our best we could in terms of preparing and understanding how we would use our Michelin tires. Tracy had an unfortunate incident on the first corner of the first lap, which left us in the gravel. But we recovered from that and rallied and had a clean race beyond that, in what were tricky conditions with downforce and drying conditions and multiple tire changes to make the most of it. Although we had our worst finish of the season, we have to be satisfied that we have completed a season error-free. Our crew has had a complete season without a crew related penalty, which is something they can all be proud of.”
GARY HOLLAND, Krohn Racing, Team Manager:
“I'm very proud of the team this season and the ease at which they transitioned from previously racing in WEC (FIA World Endurance Championship) which a different car, through to racing in IMSA and now moving across to ELMS, who made it look like a seamless transition. I think we can be very pleased with fourth position in the championship. It not only shows the consistency but also shows a very good turn of pace, especially considering the level of some of the competitors and their experience in the ELMS. We hope to build on it for next year and move forward. We had a couple of low points this year, with Le Mans being one of them and we're looking to rectify that and go back and be successful at each of these events next year."
Today's race concluded the 2015 ELMS season. Krohn Racing is currently reviewing options for next year but has not yet made a definitive plan for 2016.