Between this weekend’s Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring, the European Le Mans Series pre-season test early next week and the Silverstone season-opener just around the corner, it will be a busy next month for Krohn Racing as it undertakes an aggressive travel schedule with its new LMP2 program.
There’s no room for error, as members of the Houston-based team, including drivers Tracy Krohn and Nic Jonsson, travel directly to France following Saturday’s TUDOR United SportsCar Championship race to take part in the two-day ELMS test on Monday and Tuesday.
According to team manager Gary Holland, the tight timeframe has resulted in a few compromises, including the team utilizing a G-Drive Racing Nissan-powered Ligier JS P2 at Paul Ricard instead of its primary Judd-powered car that will be used at Sebring, all five ELMS rounds as well as the 24 Hours of Le Mans.
Prior to the Four Hours of Silverstone on April 11, the team will be busy moving into its new European headquarters at the OAK Racing/Onroak Automotive workshop in Le Mans, which Holland feels will serve as the perfect location for the globe-trotting American squad this year.
“Being based at Le Mans with the ELMS races scattered around the five destinations in Europe, Le Mans is a central base for all of those,” Holland told Sportscar365. “It also gives us the opportunity to take the car back to the source and gives us an easy repair base, an easy engineering base and it gives us a lot of feedback from the guys that have run the car for a year.
“We think it offers the best opportunity to maximize the partnership we’ve got. Being one of very few customers, we feel that now is our time to make the most of that before too many customers come on board.”
The team, which recently announced a tire partnership with Michelin for its ELMS and Le Mans campaign, has already spent time at the Onroak facility in the construction of its car late last year, prior to its debut in January’s Rolex 24 at Daytona.
While Krohn features a multinational mix of crew, Holland has stressed the importance of keeping the American flavor and attitude remains at the utmost importance as the team takes on the five-round championship for the first time.
“We’ve got guys from America, Canada and some from the UK and Europe,” Holland said. “So we’re going to keep the guys from the UK and Europe dipping in and out of Le Mans. The guys from the States will just fly in for the races. The European guys will go to effectively do the car prep and the America guys will come in and do the races.
“But we don’t want to lose our American flavor as a team. We don’t want to become a European team. We are American. Tracy is fiercely Texan. It’s something that’s important to us as our identity. We’re not going to lose that. It just offers us a more economical solution.”
The team could be making its final TUDOR Championship start this weekend at Sebring, with no definitive plans to return to the U.S. due to the logistics involved, although the races at Circuit of The Americas and season-ending Petit Le Mans both remain possibilities.
Holland, meanwhile, hasn’t ruled out seeing an expansion to a multi-car effort in the future, particularly with its already strong foundation and partnership forged with Onroak.
“We’ve got the infrastructure and ability to run a second car in whatever championship that may entail,” he said. “We’re actively looking for customers and ways to expand our team.
“The Ligier is a turn-key solution for us as a team, to have a second Ligier. But we’ve also got the Ferrari [GTE] car which crosses over between ACO and IMSA.
“Previously, we’ve been a pro-am team in a pro class and that’s [affected] our ability as a team. We think this will show us what we really can do. Hopefully we’ll get a customer or two coming to us.”
Olivier Pla rejoins Krohn and Jonsson at the wheel of the green prototype, with Ozz Negri previously announced as the third driver for the ELMS races. The team’s third driver for Le Mans has yet to be revealed.