Krohn Racing became the fourth Prototype runner to retire from the Rolex 24 at Daytona, the opening round of the TUDOR United Sportscar Championship. Alex Brundle brought the Ligier JS P2-Judd to the pit lane shortly before the six hour mark, having lost power. The team will not speculate about the cause of the retirement at this time.
The outfit managed 172 laps of the Daytona International Speedway, stopping eight times before they were forced to pack the car away.
Team manager for Krohn Racing, Gary Holland said, “We had to retire from Daytona 24 Hours with some issues that is being investigated. We are obviously disappointed, but we will investigate all the causes and make sure to come back stronger for our next event. We will inform the media in due course of the causes of this failure. I don’t want to speculate what it is without all of the facts in front of us.”
Olivier Pla, who tested the Ligier during its development, qualified and started the car before handing over to the team owner. He told us, “The race start was okay. I could hold my position through the first stint. The car felt great and I could keep up with the pace of the leader. Obviously, as we’ve known before, it was not easy on the straight line speed. We are not as fast compared to the other cars.
“This is really a problem, especially when you catch up to a car down in the ‘bus stop’. We just know exiting the corner if a more powerful car is close behind then we have lost the edge. We kept tires for the second stint when everyone was changing tires, which was unfortunate to go out with the rear tires so gone because we could have gained position since the car was so good. We stopped for the third stint and went out on fresh tires the car felt great, was very consistent and fast. Except for the straightaways, where we’ll never be fast, the car was fantastic down in the corner, breaking real hard and the ‘bus stop’. If we can push harder in the next hours, I’m expecting something good to come of it.”
Tracy Krohn, the owner of the team added, “The first part of it was pretty ugly. The tires were just not set right and we had too much pressure in the rears and not enough in the front. We had a lot of oversteer and loose at entry and exits (to the corners) and I had to keep on track and it slowed me down immensely. After that stint we put some new tires on and it took them a while to get warm.”
Brundle finished by saying, “The car felt really good out there today and it’s a credit to everybody on the team. We were making progress towards the leaders. Then we had some kind of engine issue on the banking which has yet to be properly defined by the team. I lost power. There was a lot of smoke and, unfortunately, that was it. All I could do was get the car back. Now it seems like the guys have assessed it and it is terminal. We’re out of the race, which is a shame because the car felt excellent and we had excellent pace to end the race so soon.”
Krohn Racing will now assess the problem with the car and attempt to resolve the issue prior to the Mobil 1 12 Hours of Sebring on March 21.