Krohn Racing will compete in the GT Le Mans (GTLM) class in the event, as they have been and will do for the remainder of their abbreviated six race season in the 2014 TUDOR Championship.
The Continental Tire Monterey Grand Prix will feature two two-hour races, the first of which will showcase the Prototype Challenge and GT Daytona (GTD) fields. The second race, in which Krohn Racing will compete, features the Prototype and GT Le Mans (GTLM) classes. While there will only be two classes contesting in each race, the large class fields and tight track are factors that every team takes into account.
Krohn Racing has been competing at Laguna Seca since 2005 in multiple series, and the team finished a career-best of third place at the well-known circuit in 2006. Tracy W. Krohn and long-time Swedish co-driver Nic Jönsson will share the cockpit of the No. 57 Ferrari F458 this weekend on the 2.238-mile Northern California track. Krohn has competed in both the Grand-Am and IMSA American Le Mans Series (ALMS), most recently in a TRG Porsche 911 GT3 in 2012 to a sixth-place finish in the GTC class at the circuit and Jonsson has raced in Indy Lights and World Challenge in addition to Grand-Am and IMSA ALMS.
TRACY W. KROHN, Krohn Racing Team Owner/Driver, No. 57 Krohn Racing Ferrari F458 GTLM:
Coming off of two endurance events, how difficult is it to change the mindset to sprint mode for Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca?
"It's great that our season started off with two endurance events because we were able to really work on our Ferrari, make some adjustments and see what it could do. Now that we have a good baseline for the car, we can switch the strategy to that of a sprint race and Laguna Seca has always been one of my favorite events. With the physical and mental toll the endurance events take on the drivers, it's nice to be able to focus on really giving it your all during one stint for this event, rather than spread out over 12 or 24 hours straight. I'm looking forward to getting back to this track and putting on a good show."
With the incredible finish Krohn Racing had at the 12 Hours of Sebring, how are you going to try and replicate that success at Laguna?
"We got into a quite a steady rhythm at Sebring and things really went our way, enough so that we almost made it to the podium. I am hopeful that we have the same luck at Laguna, and are able to really push the entire two hours so that we have another podium opportunity. The team has been working very hard on the car setup since Sebring, and as long as Nic and I stay out of trouble, I think we've got a good shot."
Laguna Seca has always been a Krohn Racing favorite. What is it about this event that you and the team love so much?
"Laguna Seca has always been a personal favorite of mine because the track is just so much fun to race. The legendary corkscrew is one of the most famous corners in racing and it is such a competitive circuit. The track changes throughout the day so it's always a challenge to get the right setup for the right time of day. The fans that this event brings are always so passionate about sportscar racing, the facilities and management are top notch and it is just a great event, so I'm thrilled to be going back."
NIC JONSSON, Driver, No. 57 Krohn Racing Ferrari F458 GTLM:
You and the Krohn Racing team put in a hard charge towards the end of the race at Sebring in March, and almost made it to the podium. How are you going to harness that same drive for this shorter race?
"We had a very good run at Sebring, and I think the reason for us having success there was that we stuck to our plan and settled into a steady race pace without getting caught up in any incidents. We hope to be able to carry that momentum over to Laguna. I believe a sprint race, like the Laguna event, may not suit us as well as the longer endurance races do, but we have a solid car so we are going to Laguna with a positive mindset and hope to have another solid run."
Having competed many times at Laguna Seca, what are the biggest challenges of a track like this?
"Laguna is always one of my favorites every year for many different reasons. The track has some of the most famous and challenging corners a racetrack can ever offer such the corkscrew turn. Another challenging factor is that the track is surrounded by hills and sand and this makes the track conditions change all the time, especially when the wind picks up as it does very often. So it's always very important to have a well-balanced car with good traction in the corners."
With the GTLM class sharing the track with only the prototype class at this event, how will that change the dynamic of the competition?
"Even with less cars, the traffic is still going to be a factor when the faster prototype cars start to lap the GTLM cars. The reason is that it's very hard to go outside the regular line because of the sand that makes the track surface very slippery. At the same time, you will have fewer inexperienced drivers, so that may help a bit."
HAYDEN BURVILL, Krohn Racing Engineer:
Given the technical aspects of the track, what are you doing to get ready for the tough competition at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca?
"It's been a long break since our solid fourth position finish at Sebring, so we need to make good use of the short meeting schedule at Laguna. It will be key to manage the very limited session time available, very limited number of changes possible, and be efficient and not experimental with that time. Working with the base set-up from Risi Competizione gives us a valuable head start and the technical cooperation with them between sessions will also increase our potential to reach our competitive goals."
With the varying weather conditions that the team has seen over the years at this circuit, how do you prepare the car for all the elements that northern California offers?
"The weather at Laguna is often misunderstood. As a central California local, I am very familiar with the variations in the coastal weather. Visitors often remember the cool and foggy mornings, yet by race time, the skies will most likely be clear, a good sun load on the track surface and the typical cool Monterey Bay sea breeze blowing up the valley to the race circuit. At this time of the year, it is reasonable to expect great racing conditions for the cars and the spectators. However, like any weatherman, I exercise the prerogative to be absolutely wrong! The Laguna track surface is known to be a relatively low grip compound, so tire selection will be important and need to be well matched to the ambient conditions – even so, I am expecting clear sunny skies for race time on Sunday."
With the Laguna Seca 2-hour race consisting of only Prototype and GTLM class cars, how does that alter your race plan than when you have the slower class cars?
"In my pre-event commentaries for 2014 I have often mentioned the relative pace of the GTLM and GTD cars and the necessity to manage a race and race meeting strategy to accommodate that. For the Laguna race, our GTLM cars will be the slowest category on track and our consideration of race traffic alters as a result. Our strategy for the driver rotation and qualification process can also be manipulated to match the grid configuration for this particular race with the smaller car count. In general, the on-track awareness will be no different, but the recent changes to the yellow flag rules, wave-by rules, etc., have created a few new angles for our race strategy management and the absence of the GTD cars will alter that another step as well. The short race duration means that an opportunity to fully recover from an error is unlikely, so it will be critical to stay out of trouble and capitalize fully on the errors of others."
The green flag will drop on the Continental Tire Monterey Grand Prix Powered by Mazda (P/GTLM) at 2:45 p.m. PDT on May 4. Tune in to FOX Sports 1 for LIVE coverage of the race beginning at 2:30 p.m. PDT.
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.