Krohn Racing ‘Comfortable’ Despite 17th Place Start

by Nick Smith

The Krohn Racing team have completed qualifying for the 83rd running of the 24 Hours of Le Mans in a lowly 17th place in class. The Ligier JS P2-Judd failed to match the pace of other new LMP2 cars, including the G-Drive run Ligiers with the Nissan power plant.

Wednesday saw the team working on basic setup and allowing Joao Barbosa his first taste of the Ligier. Variable conditions enabled the team to test all available compounds of Michelin tyre while Thursday’s sessions gave them more time to work on race preparation.

Tracy Krohn, the team owner and driver, still feels that the car needs a little work but is confident of a good run. “The good news is we have a better car than what we started with. We got some dry laps in so we got a better feel for it and I feel like we’re very close to where we need to be with a few tweaks and hopefully we’ll check that out in the warm-up. Other than that, I think we have the car where we need it to be. I still have a little bit of work to do. The car had a tendency to be too loose for me, so it was difficult for me to drive at first, but now that we have the rear end balanced I think we’ll be a lot better off and have a safer car and quicker car.

“We had to go through a lot of different configurations to get to where we are now. What we started off with didn’t work so we had to go almost 180 degrees to get it to work right, but we’re where we need to be now. I feel confident that we have a good car and I feel confident that everyone else feels like we have a good car, too. Hopefully we’ll get out there and don’t have too many issues on track or in the pits and have a good day.”

Barbosa added, “The last almost week has been a great experience in getting to know the team. They are very welcoming and I feel like I’m part of the team now and have been given enough time and enough information to get in the car and start to get comfortable. Yesterday was a little bit more challenging, mostly because the conditions weren’t ideal conditions, but today I was able to put a few laps together in a row and get much more comfortable in the car and have a better feeling than yesterday.

“I left the track last night just thinking a lot about what happened during the day and now today, I have some good information to sleep on and come back better for the race. I think overall it’s been great teamwork and we’ve definitely made some good improvements to the car for the race. I think we’ll have a decent pace in the race and we might not be the fastest car out there, but I think in the long runs we are going to be very consistent. Nic and Tracy have done some good laps, as well, and gotten comfortable and are doing a good job. So we just need to put the whole effort together and bring the car home like it is now, with no scratches, and hopefully in a good podium position.”

Nic Jonsson, the third of the team’s three drivers commented, “I’m glad we finally a good run in last night and today. We actually got some dry running here today, which I think was very beneficial to all three of us in the car. I don’t really read too much into qualifying or one lap here because yesterday and tonight more cars than not were having times taken away from them because of not respecting track limits. Cars were not staying on track or using too much of the track coming off of Tertre Rouge or the Porsche Curves and chicane here. We haven’t done that. We have tried to preserve the car so I think we’ll come into the race looking at race pace. I don’t think we are going to be very far off from where we need to be.

“We’re still doing some fine tuning on the car to get a little bit more consistent race car. We have some issues with under steering in some corners and power down in others so we’re going to try to get a little bit more consistent car, but it felt like we’ve been working in the right direction. Tracy got several laps in today in dry and daylight. I feel very confident going into the race, even if we haven’t done many fast laps or been the quickest car by any means. We have a smart group of guys at Krohn Racing. We’re fortunate to have Joao join Tracy and me for Le Mans. He has a lot of experience here and is a very smart, level-headed guy. It’s looking very positive and I can’t wait to get the green flag here on Saturday.”

Hayden Burvill, race engineer for the #40 car said, “We probably haven’t gone as fast as we would have liked to, but we’ve settled into a position where we know the set-up is going to work in the wet and the dry. I think all the teams are in that same position. It’d be nice to have a little more speed at this point, but I’m comfortable.”

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