Krohn Racing's long overdue return to Watkins Glen International comes this weekend, June 28 and 29, with the IMSA TUDOR United SportsCar Championship Sahlen's Six Hours of the Glen at the famed 3.4-mile circuit in New York.
Since the formation of the team in 2005, Krohn Racing has achieved multiple overall wins at The Glen in the Daytona Prototype (DP) class of the Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series, as well as a few additional podium finishes. In 2005, team owner/driver Tracy W. Krohn took his first professional victory alongside long-time teammate Nic Jonsson at Watkins Glen International in their No. 67 Pontiac Riley Daytona Prototype at the Six Hours of The Glen race. Krohn Racing actually took a sweep of both first and second place in the race, as the sister car of Jorg Bergmeister and Christian Fittipaldi finished directly behind them.
Then in 2006, the Krohn Racing No. 76 sister DP car, piloted by Jorg Bergmeister and Boris Said, won again at the Six Hours of the Glen. In 2009, Nic Jonsson and Ricardo Zonta again brought another victory to Krohn Racing at the Crown Royal 200 at Watkins Glen.
This season, Krohn Racing will compete at Watkins Glen for the first time since 2010 in their green-and-blue liveried No. 57 Ferrari F458, which recently returned from a successful outing at the 24 Hours of Le Mans. Krohn Racing spent the three days after the 24 Hours of Le Mans in their garage at the Circuit de le Sarthe to prep the car for the Six Hours of the Glen, then shipped the car and all spare parts from Le Mans to the JFK Airport in New York to arrive at Watkins Glen in time for the race.
The No. 57 Ferrari will contend in the GT Le Mans (GTLM) class of the IMSA TUDOR Championship at The Glen, and this six-hour endurance event will see the series return to racing with all four classes. With the exhilaration still flowing from their Top 10 finish at Le Mans, the team is eager to get back to Watkins Glen and potentially stand on the top step of the podium, a place they haven't seen since 2009.
No. 57 Ferrari will return to Watkins Glen after a three-season absenceTRACY W. KROHN, Krohn Racing Team Owner/Driver, No. 57 Krohn Racing Ferrari F458 GTLM:
Going back to Watkins Glen must bring back good memories for you. Krohn Racing competed there from 2005 through 2010, and you and Nic won there together in your first season (2005). What does it mean to be heading back there?"Watkins Glen is one of the most fun racetracks on the planet, as far as I am concerned. I am assuming we will be racing the full track set up and that is my favorite way to race there. There is usually a variable set of weather conditions surrounding race day. There is a lot of history with the race and the town and the fans are always terrific. I can't wait!"
So far this season, you've done a lot of endurance racing. What knowledge have you taken from Daytona, Sebring, and Le Mans that you'll use to help get through the Six Hours of the Glen successfully?"Since I can only race part time, getting enough seat time is always a premium for me. The more I drive, the quicker I get in all of these races, so the big plus for me going into this race is that I have been in a car quite a bit lately. That makes it easier to get up to speed."
This event at Watkins Glen will take the Series back to racing with all four classes. How will you handle the transition back into a larger field of cars?"Fortunately, we just finished with Le Mans so that will make it much easier. Actually, this should not be an issue but for the fact that there is not much runoff area at the Glen. It has improved somewhat over the years, but the walls are still close. There will be a full field and it is a long race, so no need to try to prove anything as there will probably be a lot of yellow flags. The idea still remains that it is a long race and the car will be mechanically fit, so just keeping it between the white lines will go a very long way toward a podium!"
NIC JONSSON, Driver, No. 57 Krohn Racing Ferrari F458 GTLM:
You co-drove to a Krohn Racing win at Watkins Glen in both 2005 and 2009, and the team also took the class victory in 2006. How special is it to be coming back to this track after having not raced there since 2010?
"Watkins Glen has always been so full of great memories for me, especially having helped Tracy get his first professional win here in 2005. Tracy and I have been racing together full-time for ten seasons, and get to get come back here in Krohn Racing's tenth year is really special. We've been racing internationally for the past couple of seasons and have really missed the Glen on our schedule, so we're very excited to get the opportunity to possibly repeat our success."
For many years, you and Krohn Racing competed at the Glen multiple times per season. What knowledge do you have of the track that will put you ahead of some of the other GTLM competitors that might not be familiar with this circuit?
"Having raced here so often for so many years, we had gotten pretty familiar with the track and how to get the most out of our car. However, we've only raced at Watkins Glen in the Daytona Prototype, so competing with our Ferrari F458 will be a totally different experience. We know the circuit well, now it will just be about finding the right balance for the Ferrari here to keep pace with the factory GTLM teams."
This season, Krohn Racing has done fairly well in the endurance events. What are you expecting from this six-hour enduro?
"We just got back from the 24 Hours of Le Mans, where we finished in the Top 10 and gained a lot of good endurance racing experience and data to use. Our near-podium finish at Sebring earlier this year also showed the team how hard we can push to get the most out of the car in the last hours of any endurance race, so we're feeling that we have a pretty good handle on what we're capable of. That endurance experience mixed with our existing knowledge of Watkins Glen gives me confidence for our race here."
HAYDEN BURVILL, Krohn Racing Engineer:
Watkins Glen is a track where Krohn Racing has been pretty successful. What is your strategy going in to hopefully bring the team another successful finish?"Watkins Glen always seems to have some surprises in the weather: either very hot heat or thunderstorms and rain. So being successful there is a combination of having a stable car and making good decisions in the split seconds that will make a difference when the weather is changing. I can even recall one six-hour race where fog caused a red flag for a long period. It's difficult to build a strategy that includes such strange circumstances. Capitalizing on the errors of others is one of the best ways to climb the leader board at Watkins Glen. We have updated the aero package on the car to the 2013 configuration, so the car now has a lower drag figure and we can expect a small top speed advantage to be useful on the long back straight."
What experience with this track do you have that could be beneficial for the race? "We used to come to this track twice a year with Grand-Am, and through the mid 90's I remember coming for the six-hour with IMSA. Getting the car to be stable on the bumps going downhill into Turn One and balanced in the downhill exit of Turn One so the car can accelerate full speed up through the esses is a constant part of any briefing and preparation. The 'outer loop' is a great chassis dyno. It tests the steady state balance of the chassis like no other corner on the schedule and, the 'boot' section of the Grand Prix circuit requires great precision from the drivers. The uphill exit from the toe of the boot is very tricky and being able to get to the throttle early and have the car accelerate freely in the exit leads to overtaking opportunities up to Turn Eight. On top of that you need a car with great change of direction in the chicane. Getting the F458 to do all these things in harmony is a great challenge and now that IMSA has added the extra hour of practice, I am confident we will take a competitive car to the grid."
At the last IMSA endurance event, the 12 Hours of Sebring, and also at the 24 Hours of Le Mans, Krohn Racing had a late race push that almost put the team on the podium. How will the data gained from the three endurance events Krohn has competed in this season play into having another shot at an endurance event podium finish?"With only six hours of racing, we will need to compress our 12-hour strategy to create a similar opportunity at Watkins Glen. Changes to the yellow flag rules should give us more green flag racing, which is a positive step by IMSA. Having a car that is gentle on the tires and has a consistent green flag average performance is the key to our endurance racing program in 2014. Now, with the 2013 aero package on the car, we should see a step towards the top of the GTLM performance scale. So far this season we have not been involved in the bump and run tactics we have seen - and seen these tactics penalized among the factory GTLM teams fighting at the front. We will need to be careful to avoid those antics and capitalize from the mistakes of those who drive rough and pay the price. We will have to wait until Sunday to see if we can convert that extra potential into a podium."
The green flag will drop on the Sahlen's Six Hours of the Glen at 11:15 a.m. EDT on June 29. Tune in to FOX Sports 1 for LIVE coverage of the race beginning at 11:00 a.m. EDT. Qualifying will be streamed live on IMSA.com on Saturday, June 28, beginning at 3:55 p.m. EDT.
Krohn Racing is competing at six TUDOR Championship events this season including the 24 Hours of Daytona, 12 Hours of Sebring, Continental Tire Monterey Grand Prix at Laguna Seca, Six Hours of Watkins Glen, the Lone Star Le Mans at the Circuit of the Americas, and Petit Le Mans at Road Atlanta, as well as the 24 Hours of Le Mans.