Team owner/driver Tracy W. Krohn brings together long-time co-driver, Swede Nic Jonsson, along with Ligier development drivers, Frenchman Olivier Pla and Brit Alex Brundle, for an impressive driver line-up in the 53rd annual running of the Rolex 24.
The twice-around-the-clock enduro and first round of the 2015 IMSA TUDOR United SportsCar Championship season will be the 11th consecutive pairing for Krohn and Jonsson,driving a variety of prototype and GT cars. A victory has eluded them so far in this historic classic but, like the other 52 competitors they will face year, the Krohn Racing drivers wish to stand on the top step of the podium and collect the famous Daytona Rolex watches.
TRACY W. KROHN, Krohn Racing Team Owner/Driver:
What are your thoughts on moving up to the Prototype class with the new Ligier?
“It’s always nice to look more forward than constantly looking more in the mirrors. This car just stops so well and has such good qualities. I just think that this is a spectacular car and we’ve made some good choices in the chassis.”
How has it gone so far with the new drivers, Olivier Pla and Alex Brundle?
“Olivier and Alex have been terrific because they know the car so well so it’s been a big help. Even the smallest things like getting in and out of the car, they have been helpful with tips.”
How have you seen the series change since your first race here 2004?
“Well, there are some differences but it’s normally going to be a field of around 60 cars. This year we’ll have more GT cars than Prototypes so that will make it more interesting than the past. We’ve been here 11 times but I think it’s time we get on the podium now.”
NIC JONSSON, Krohn Racing, Driver:
What are your thoughts about going into the Rolex 24 race?
“The competition is going to be as fierce as it has ever been. You have absolutely world-class drivers in all the cars in the P class. I do believe that the Krohn Team Tracy assembled is a fantastic group of guys with both experience and the drive to win. I think we should definitely be in the mix and having the driver lineup we have this year is as good as we have ever had. Coming into the 24 it’s not all about pure speed, it’s about getting a consistent car, staying out of trouble, reading the traffic, and staying out of the pits. That’s what it all comes down to.
I think we have a good, reliable, solid package with a driver lineup that understands endurance racing and understands that it’s not just about being the quickest in the car, it’s about being able to hand over to your teammate. We picked drivers that have knowledge and are also great team players.”
You and Tracy have 11 years together as co-driver so what’s that been like?
“I’ve been very fortunate to develop such a great relationship with Tracy and Krohn Racing. It’s been a blessing to be a part of Krohn Racing and to be here from the very beginning and had a good impact on this team. I take a lot of pride in Krohn Racing. Adding the new management last year has given us a new start and new look and it has been really refreshing. Many people don’t see motorsports as a team sport but it is as much a team sport. If someone misses one of their responsibilities you’re not going anywhere. Everyone has the same values just different responsibilities. It’s a great feeling to be a part of a group that has that mentality and wants to succeed and help each other.”
OLIVIER PLA, Krohn Racing, Driver:
How do you feel your contribution will be for the race?
“I know this car very well and it’s the first time driving it on the Continental tires. I think we have a great group of people and know what to do. And now we have to be really focused for the race.”
What do you like about Daytona and what is the most difficult thing about this track?
“It’s a very special and unique its one of the most famous races in the world. Everyone wants to come here and compete in an endurance race. The most difficult thing about this track is having to deal with the traffic and the amount of cars there are on the track. Also you have to be really focused the whole 24 hours.”
How do you train and prepare for this type of a race?
“To drive this kind of car you have to be really fit and I like to train as much as I can before the race. I have been running a lot and weightlifting. It’s very important to be in shape and be able to push for this type of endurance race. It’s also very important to eat good produce and not too much.”
ALEX BRUNDLE, Krohn Racing, Driver:
What are the things you bring to the Krohn Team to assist them with the Ligier and what has that experience been like since you came onboard?
“Both Oli and I were part of the development team on the Ligier, which was a long process and we both are really comfortable with the machinery. We have to keep an open mind and we are not here to preach about the race car but we’re here to work with the people around us."
What can you expect coming back to Daytona?
“It’s really great coming back and I know what I can expect and I feel much better equipped having had a year in America last year. I will come with full focus to provide the best service for the team and I am really looking forward to the green flag on Saturday.”
What tips have your father, professional F1 racer and 1988 Rolex 24 Hour winner, Martin Brundle, given you?
“I’ve been lucky enough to learn by example. I saw how he conducted himself on the race track. Off track has been where I have benefited the most from his experience, the way to meet a team in a professional manner and the way to conduct myself in a professional manner. You have got to be able to work with the people around you and having an open mind with everyone around you and understanding what they can bring to the table is the main thing.”
HAYDEN BURVILL, Krohn Racing, Engineer:
Krohn Racing has made a lot of progress since delivery of the new Ligier JS P2 in November with three private tests and the recent Daytona Roar test. Tell us about the testing process and your progress towards this weekend’s Rolex 24 race.
“Our test mileage with the JSP2 has been very productive on a number of fronts. We have been able to discover some of the strengths and weaknesses in the Ligier that only comes from direct exposure to the car and the mileage you accumulate. As a process, this is true of any new car, not just a Ligier JSP2, so even if the 2014 record speaks to the racing potential of the JSP2, the Daytona 24-hour event is a demand against which the car has never been measured. With each outing we become more familiar with the car. Our capacity to subdivide the reactions of the car to changes and have the confidence to apply a specific type and scale of change to meet a handling requirement is always building. We have had great support from Onroak and this has assisted in the rapid development of our race engineering practices for the JS P2.
As far as progress specifically for the 24-hour race, you can never have too much. We are one of few teams to have recent and thorough running experience of a LMP2 in the rain, so that is an ace in our pocket and a byproduct of late season testing in the Northern hemisphere that we started in November.”
You were one of the few teams who had all four race drivers at the Roar test. How did this benefit your race preparation and how do you feel your driver line-up looks for the race ahead?
“It’s great to go into the race event with all the boxes ticked. The race event has very limited track time, so you need to have all the work done now. I am sure this is true of all the top teams. If we had to, right now, we could run a handful of installation laps and go straight into the start of the Rolex 24 race. I expect that all the teams in contention are in that position – so is Krohn Racing. As a group of drivers, we have a great spread of youth and experience. As the long-range forecast is looking like some rain, we have the right blend of drivers to take a strategic position. If you recall Le Mans 2014, Nic did eight laps on slicks in torrential rain behind the safety car. It was a huge strategic advantage to span the rain period and re-start on slicks without a pit stop. It was a risk, but a considered risk, and a function of our driver choices. I feel the same way for Daytona. We have flexibility in our drive line-up and the guys get along great and expect me to use them in the most strategic manner.”
Practice session one begins Thursday morning, January 22, with prototype class qualifying scheduled for 5:15 p.m. EST. The race start will be Saturday, January 24 at 2:10 p.m. EDT. Live timing and scoring is available for all on-track sessions at IMSA.com and the IMSA Smartphone app.
The television broadcast schedule in the U.S. features the Rolex 24 At Daytona on Saturday, Jan. 24 (All times EST), 2:00-4:00 p.m. on FOX Network, 4:00-8:00 p.m. on FOX Sports 2, 8:00-10:00 p.m. on FOX Sports 1. Overnight viewing (Jan. 24-25) from 10:00 p.m.-7:00 a.m. watch on IMSA TV on IMSA.com (live video streaming and commentary). On Sunday, Jan. 25, 7:00 a.m.-2:30 p.m. the broadcast will be on FOX Sports 1.
The FOX Sports 1 telecast is available to viewers in Canada, Europe, Asia and Africa on IMSA.com and in the U.S. for users of the FOX Sports GO mobile app. On-board cameras are also available on IMSA.com throughout the event for both international and domestic viewers.