"Nobody Ever Says They Don't See You In Their Mirrors!"

5 Minutes with... Tracy Krohn

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In a field full of similar looking P2 cars and muted Porsches there’s one team in particular that stands out like a big, lime green sore thumb: Krohn Racing. Owned, funded and raced by 58 year old Texan Tracy Krohn, they are one of the most memorable teams in the paddock. We spoke to Tracy just before he slotted into his Ferrari 458 for the FIA WEC 6 Hours of Spa.

JS - “You qualified eighth today, how are you feeling about starting that far back on the grid?”

TK -”You know, you never feel good about starting towards the back of the pack. We've got a lot of set up problems with the car, we really haven't nailed set up yet. In fact we were still working on it in warm up this morning and we're still working on it for the race, so we're not quite sure we're there yet. It should be an interesting first couple of stints before we get everything lined up, it may be one of those things where you just have to figure out how to drive the car; instead of having a good car you've just got to figure out how to drive it.”

JS - “”You're a massively popular team; looking out of the front of the garage during the driver signing earlier, there's a massive scrum of people, so what do you think it is that makes Krohn such a popular team?

TK - “First of all it's a recognisable brand; we’re the green brand, and the green colour is very recognisable. It shows up in video very well and it shows up in print very well, nobody ever says they don't see you in their mirrors! But we've had some success, we've got good drivers and a very professional team. And we really are a team, we work together very well and we don't lose sight of the fact that it's about entertaining people.”

JS - “You tend to qualify lower down and then make your way up through the race, how do you always manage to punch above your qualifying weight?”

TK - “It's about patience. I'm generally not as fast as most of these younger kids out here, so I have to be patient. The more consistent you are in longer races the better off you're going to be. Most of the time we make it to the end, sometimes we don't, but usually at the end we do fairly well.”

JS - “Talking to your lead engineer at last year's Le Mans we were told that the usual plan is 'plod round the track and hope that others, who might be pushing too hard, are going to fall off. Would you say that's a fair reflection?”

TK - “I think it's very important particularly at Le Mans because it's so fast and so easy to make a mistake at those speeds, particularly very early in the morning, or late in the morning if you will, and I think it's a real plus if you stay on the track. I think if you dial it back just a little bit then that helps, I think if you're pushing very hard for 24 hours that's very difficult to do, and particularly in a GT car because you just don't have that kind of grip. Later on the track gets narrower and narrower, and when you're getting close you try to push that's when you make mistakes.”

JS - “You race Daytona Prototypes back in the states, so why do you race prototypes over there and GTs over here?”

TK - “It's mainly convenience; we built these cars a long time ago and we're used to them and they're a lot of fun to drive, but it's difficult to run two operations in Europe.”

JS - “Why the Ferrari?”

TK - “I just think the Ferrari's a very well balanced car, the Porsches are a lot of fun to drive, they just drive very differently and this car just has better balance. I'm a fairly tall guy but I get in and out of the car pretty easily, the rest of the GT cars it's pretty hard to get in and out.”

JS - “Have you ever been tempted by something American like a Corvette?”

TK - “I have, and I'm sure it'd be fine. I've not really driven one but I've spoken to guys who have and they've liked it a lot, but it's a different balance I'm sure because it's front engined.”

JS - “You're one of only two US teams in the series, and we've had Americans on Twitter saying that they're a bit disappointed that there aren't more US teams. Why do you think that is?”

TK - “It’s because the geographic positioning is difficult. Some races are really close, for instance we go to Brazil which is relatively easy but then we'll go to Japan after that; so you go from Brazil to the US and then over to Japan, then you'll go from Japan back to the US and then to China, and then from China back to the US and then Bahrain. The reality is that if you live in Europe it's easier to get to most of these places except for Brazil.”

JS - “With the introduction of United Sports Car Racing, are you tempted to do that rather than the WEC and stay in America, because as you say it's logistically a lot easier?”

TK - “I don't know because I don't know what the rules are yet, as soon as we understand what the rules are then we'll make that decision. I haven't really been asked for any input, so the rules are gonna be whatever they are and we'll have to make an assessment based on what the rules and qualifications are. We have a prototype, and I've asked for some variances on the prototype so that we wouldn't have to build a completely different car and so far Grand-Am have completely refused that. So, OK, I understand, it's their series and they can do what they want, but I can do what I want too.”

Jamie Snelling is a freelance motor sports journalist and 7-time Speed Chills veteran, contact him