Risi-Krohn Ferrari Returns for ALMS Finale The No. 61 Risi Competizione-Krohn Racing Ferrari 430 GT returns to the American Le Mans Series October 18-20 for the Monterey Sports Car Championships at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca. Looking to assist their sister No. 62 Risi Competizione team win the manufacturer’s championship for Ferrari, Tracy Krohn and Nic Jönsson will take to the 2.238-mile, 11-turn road course for the four hour ALMS finale. Krohn and Jönsson had to retire the No. 61 Ferrari at the recent Petit Le Mans in the final hour with oil pump failure. They had Top Ten finishes with the Risi-Krohn Ferrari 430 GT at both the 12 Hours of Sebring and the Houston Grand Prix (ninth and tenth respectively). The highlight of their year with the Krohn green colored Ferrari was their second-place class finish, along with third driver Colin Braun, at the 75th Annual 24 Hours of Le Mans, the pinnacle of their season. Krohn and Jönsson also drive Krohn Racing Pontiac Rileys in the Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series, where the team finished fourth in the Team Championship and Krohn won the prestigious Jim Trueman Award for gentlemen drivers. Tracy W. Krohn, owner of Krohn Racing, driver of the No. 61 Risi-Krohn Ferrari 430 GT: Tell us your thoughts on returning to the cockpit of the Ferrari 430 GT for the final ALMS race of the season at Laguna Seca. “The Ferrari 430 GT is a great car to drive and so much fun. It’s a good package and prepared by an outstanding team, so I’m happy to return to the cockpit and give it a go on a fantastic circuit.”
Give us your thoughts about the historic Laguna Seca circuit.
“Laguna is always a great place to race. The climate is good. The track changes from dawn to dusk, so it is always challenging. It is really all about getting the car set up for the race. We plan to have a great set-up and go out there and challenge the rest of the GT2 class field.” Nic Jönsson, driver of the No. 61 Risi-Krohn Ferrari 430 GT: It is the final race of the season and you are back in the Ferrari. Talk about Laguna Seca being the last race of the season and also the opportunity to drive the Risi/Krohn Ferrari one more time.
“We have had ups and downs with the Risi-Krohn Ferrari this year. We started out in Sebring with very big hopes and were very fast in practice. We had a few mishaps in the race. Then we went to Houston and ran pretty well there as well. Obviously the big thing of the year was Le Mans, where we had a very good run and finished second. Thanks to the Risi-Competizione-Krohn Racing crew, who prepared a fantastic car, the car ran flawless for entire 24 hours of Le Mans. That was, I think, the pinnacle of this season altogether. To stand up on the podium at Le Mans and look out at the crowd was just a fantastic feeling, for both Tracy and I. Then at Petit we brought Darren Turner in as a co-driver. I think he did a fantastic job in his first time with the team. We had a very good car and unfortunately had a bit of contact about two hours into the race. And then, unfortunately, had more of that during the day and fell a few laps behind and couldn’t really recoup and ultimately had to retire, so we didn’t have a good finish. I’m really looking forward to getting back in the car again at Laguna. It is one of the nicest tracks with the famous corkscrew. There’s a lot of drivability. I think the Ferrari should be a very balanced car for that race track. It’s always a pleasure to be racing with Risi Competizione-Krohn Racing and with my co-driver, Tracy Krohn. He’s really shown this year that he can be very competitive in this car if he gets enough time. He was within two seconds, I believe, of the fastest guys at Petit Le Mans. I think that shows a lot for a guy that just started racing five years ago and doesn’t do it full-time. I’m very optimistic and we hope to get a Top Five finish there.”
The combination of the Ferrari 430 GT on the Laguna Seca circuit…how will you like driving the Ferrari there and what do you anticipate will be the best part?
“I think the Ferrari has shown to be very good on braking and good to put power down. Laguna Seca is a very low grip track. They actually resurfaced the track a few years ago and it’s still very slippery because of the sand that blows across the track all the time. It’s like polished asphalt and it’s very slippery. I think it should be a very good track for the Ferrari because the geometry on the car helps get the good traction. Even though we have traction control, the geometry and the set-up the engineers give us with the shocks and everything, should benefit us on that track.”
It will be a tough finale – four hours in a tightly contested class. What are your goals for the weekend?
“The goals have to be, first of all, obviously to help Ferrari win the Manufacturer’s Championship. In addition to the three races with Krohn, I’ve done additional races with Risi Competizione and I feel if I can help win the constructors’ championship that would be a big thing with my first year driving a Ferrari. For Tracy and I, our goal for ourselves is to finish in the Top Five. That would be a fantastic achievement. You have to remember Tracy and I are probably in the only car that has one full-time driver and one driver doing this partial, who actually has another job. If we can mix it up and finish in the Top Five, I think that will be a tremendous performance for us and result.”
Mark Schomann, Race Engineer of the No. 61 Risi-Krohn Ferrari 430 GT: What do you anticipate will work the best for the Ferrari 430 GT on the Laguna Seca circuit?
“What we’ve seen in the past about the Laguna Seca race track is that it is better suited for the Ferraris than the Porsches. There are two reasons for that. One is that it is a very low-grip track that tends to be very slippery and we tend to be able to set-up our cars to gain grip a little bit better than the Porsches. The other thing we do better, compared to the Porsches, is our tire longevity. Last year we had a great run to clinch the championship between Mika (Salo) and (Jörg) Bergmeister. The reason we outran them and made it no race whatsoever was Bergmeister’s tires went off and Mika was able to drive by him. I anticipate that being similar this year, although not exactly the same because sections of the track have been refinished, resurfaced and touched up. I know since last year there have been some surface changes made to the track. So we’ll have to see what that does to the performance for this year.”
This weekend’s race will make for a tough finale – four hours in a tightly contested class. What are your goals for the weekend?
“The team has got pretty strict marching orders, with the main concern that the No. 62 (Risi Competizione Ferrari) car finishes. If it finishes, it will wrap up the Driver’s Championship and the Team Championship. If it finishes fourth or better, it will also wrap up the Manufacturer’s Championship for Ferrari. So, the first priority is finishing and the second priority is finishing fourth or better. Since this is a two-car team, I would like to think that we’re going to utilize the second car, the Risi-Krohn No. 61 Ferrari, this weekend to help protect the lead car because it is not in a points chase. I’m hoping it’s there to help support the lead car.”
Share a few thought on your experience engineering the Risi-Krohn Ferrari 430 GT this year and what it has meant to you.
“It turned out to be quite an experience. You never know what a part-time team is going to be like. Changing drivers, changing colors of the car and changing the strategy for the weekend depending on who is driving. It turned out much better than I thought, honestly, especially at Le Mans – with a finish like that (second in class) without a consistent basis to go there with, I was very happy with how we did as a team – drivers and crew. We actually probably did better at most of the events this year than show with the record of finish. I think the team actually did a much better job than the record books are going to show. I actually enjoyed it.”