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JONSSON: Sebring Debrief

Nic Jonsson reflects back on a fourth-place run in GTLM at Sebring…

Photo: John Dagys

Photo: John Dagys

Two of the biggest and most prestigious events in sports car racing happen in the beginning of the season every year: Daytona and Sebring. This past weekend was the 62nd running of the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring, and it was quite an eventful race.

This was a very special event for me, aside from being the first year it’s run under the new TUDOR United SportsCar Championship.

I’ve been with the Krohn Racing team for 11 years now, and we’re competing this season in the TUDOR Championship. This is what made this race extra special this year; my co-driver and friend, Tracy Krohn, and I really reached a milestone this weekend.

This was our 100th race together as a driver pairing. I feel extremely fortunate and happy to have been given the opportunity for such a long time.

Not many people get the chance to work together for such a long time in professional racing, so I want to thank Tracy and the entire Krohn team for believing in me for all these years. It has been quite a ride, and I am so thankful for this fantastic opportunity to continue together this season.

So with all this going on, we also had a race to focus on. We ran the Krohn Ferrari F458 in the GTLM class with our third co-driver, Andrea Bertolini. We felt that we had a solid car for the race, and our approach was to stay out of trouble and run our own race and strategy.

This race had a lot of incidents and caution periods, and that put our driver rotation out of plan. We managed to work around that with great strategy from our engineer, and got into a good rhythm and just kept running our own race. This proved to be a great strategy for us.

One thing that we are up against all year is that we are the only privateer team in the GTLM class. All other teams are full-blown factory efforts with huge financial backing and lots of personnel and technical resources.

However, this challenge makes it even more fun, and also motivates us to give it all we’ve got every time we get in the car. You know you have to do your absolute best all the time to be able to compete with the factory teams and drivers.

We lead the race several times and were a contender throughout the whole 12 hours. With about 45 minutes left in the race, we were running a solid third and were just pacing ourselves.

We were about 30 seconds behind the two leaders and 45 seconds ahead of the fourth place car, so we just had to stay consistent to the finish. However, the yellow flag came out again, and this caution period lasted for about 30 minutes.

It finally went green again with about 20 minutes to go, and at this point it was a sprint to the finish with all the cars bunched up together.

Unfortunately, we were not able to hold off a charging BMW factory car because we got tangled up in slower traffic going in to the hairpin on the first lap of the restart.

We had to take an outside line to not get run into, and the BMW was lucky enough to be able to squeeze by on the inside, a very nice but risky move. We finished in a strong fourth position in a very competitive and deep field of factory cars and great talent from all over the world.

So with a fourth place finish in the 62nd running of Sebring and my 100th race with my co-driver Tracy Krohn, I have to say a huge thank you to all our dedicated and phenomenal Krohn Racing crew, and also to Risi Competizione for their technical support.

In the midst of the race and excitement once it’s over, we often forget to tell our families how much we appreciate their love and support.

Our parents gave us the help we needed to be able to do this, because I grew up dreaming about a career in racing.

Of course we couldn’t do any of this without our wives and kids, who are very understanding and supportive of what we do.

Without my family, I would not be where I am today, especially in the racing world, so thank you to them as well.

Nic Jönsson is a former Swedish F3 and Group N Touring Car champion and current sports car star, with numerous international victories to his credit. He drives for Krohn Racing in the TUDOR United SportsCar Championship and European Le Mans Series.

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