Krohn Returns to Ford Power for 2009
Krohn Racing is testing at Daytona International Speedway with the same car and same drivers that ran with the team in 2008, with one big change. The team is returning to Ford engines, which it last ran in 2006, when Jorg Bergmeister captured the Daytona Prototype championship.
Nic Jonsson tested the lime green No. 75 Ford Lola on Monday, and is expected to be joined by Tracy Krohn and Ricardo Zonta on Tuesday. Jonsson and Zonta finished eighth in the 2008 Daytona Prototype championship, co-driving the No. 76 Krohn Racing Pontiac Lola.
"The decision to run Ford was made a couple of weeks ago, to go with a different powerplant for the '09 season, switching from Pontiac to Ford," Jonsson said. "I think we saw last year that the Ford powerplant was strong. We definitely struggled last year, not just with the car, but with the powerplant. We've done everything we can on our part to get the best engine at the back of our ProtoAuto Lola, and now it's up to us to get the car fine-tuned to where we can win some races next year and run for the championship."
Other teams are already looking to Krohn as a team to beat for the championship.
"I think Krohn is the team to watch," said Ozz Negri, the New Jersey Motorsports Park winner who was on hand observing Monday's testing along with his team owner, Michael Shank. "This year they've done a fantastic job with their new chassis from the beginning of the season. Look at the progress they've made. They've got a great driver lineup, and the car is really good."
Negri also is a fan of Krohn's new engine - it powered him to the pole for the 2008 Rolex 24 At Daytona in his first race with Ford power.
"We hope we will be more competitive," Jonsson said. "I think with Ricardo (Zonta) coming back as my teammate again, now that he's been to all of the tracks this year, and will be more familiar with the team, the car and the tracks, we definitely hope to be a contender for the championship in the '09 season. There's no reason why we couldn't be."
While the 2008 season was spent developing the Lola chassis (after running the Riley in the Rolex 24), Jonsson does not expect the engine switch to pose a problem.
"This year was spent learning the ProtoAuto Lola chassis, I think we've made a lot of progress with the Lola chassis" Jonsson said. "We still have some to come. But I think the engine is a sorted item. John Maddox with Roush Yates Engines is doing a great job with that powerplant. We ran the powerplant in '06 when we won the championship the first year out with Krohn Racing, and I think it's going to prove itself to be the best and the right choice for us to go with."
Krohn will test the car for a half-day on Tuesday, with Jonsson and Zonta doing half a day Tuesday and a full day on Wednesday. Van de Poele will be at the next Daytona test, Nov. 11-12.
"We're using one car for this three-day test, because there are a lot of things we want to try," Jonsson said. "We're focusing on one car to try to get those items out of the way. When we come back here in November, we will bring both cars."