Krohn Racing Satisfied with Silverstone Result

Photo: Krohn Racing

By: Kobe Lambeth

The No. 38 Jota Sport/G-Drive Racing Gibson 015S-Nissan driven by ex-Formula One driver, Giedo van der Garde, Harry Tincknell, and Simon Dolan claimed overall honors in the European Le Mans Series season opener at historic Silverstone. Although this trio won the Four Hours of Silverstone in dominating fashion, Krohn Racing had plenty to smile about after finishing 4th overall.

Last season, Krohn Racing used Judd power, but switched to Nissan over the offseason as series veterans, Greave Motorsport, has taken over their program. Krohn Racing team owner, Tracey Krohn, had positive words about the first race of the season.

“A great day at Silverstone, our goal was to finish in the top five and we achieved through speed and a great fuel strategy,” said Krohn.

“The engine stumbled at the last corner, so we didn’t waste any, it was very close. The team did a great job, everything went off very well and we are very pleased with how today went. I made one little mistake in my stint, that might have cost a place but otherwise I was very pleased for our first race of the year here at Silverstone and I am looking forward to Imola.”

The tall, Texan gentleman driver drove flawlessly throughout the entire race and gave his co-drivers an opportunity to capitilize on great stints. His longtime co-driver, Nic Jonsson, was also pleased with the finish considering the depth of this year’s LMP2 field.

“A great result for us, especially considering the weather conditions this weekend, a fourth place is a fantastic result for Krohn Racing,” said Jonsson.

“The team has done a phenomenal job, choosing the right tires at the right time and the fuel strategy that we had secured us this result, Lee, our engineer, should get credit for that. Tracy did a great job in his stint after Björn got the car up into the top three both deserve credit. It is a great start to the season and now we must keep the momentum going.”

Bjorn Wirdheim, last year’s LMP2 driver’s champion with Greaves Motorsports, joined Krohn Racing this weekend and provided veteran leadership, which helped the team reach 4th place overall.

“It was a really, really great day, it was a great result for Krohn Racing to finish fourth today,” said Wirdheim.

“A really great performance from the whole team, especially Tracy and Nic. It has been a fun weekend but really tricky because my time in the car before the race was limited. It was only in the first stint that I became comfortable with that and able to push. I had a good start, even though it was a bit chaotic but I was able to take advantage of that. The car was set up really well and the Michelin Tires were fantastic and this helped me advance through the field. We stayed out of trouble and scored some really good points and it has been a great experience being part of the Krohn Racing team.”

The next round of the European Le Mans Series takes place on May 15th with the Four Hours of Imola. Will Krohn Racing ride the momentumn from Silverstone and make it onto the podium? Tune in, next time to find out who will claim top honors in LMP2!

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Panoz Deltawing Racing Set to Fight DP’s and P2’s; Future uncertain

Photo: Richard Dole Photography

By: Kobe Lambeth

As the Bubba Burger Grand Prix at the famous Long Beach street circuit nears, Panoz Deltawing Racing is ready to show the world that the Deltawing DW13 is capable of competing with the Daytona Prototypes and LMP2 cars on the historic street circuit.

Earlier this season, Panoz Deltawing Racing showed plenty of pace at Daytona and Sebring. Unfortunately, they did not get the result intended, due to certain circumstances. However, Team Manager, Tim Keene, is confident that his team can turn some heads as the future of the Deltawing DW13 is uncertain.

“Currently, we are focused on this season and continuing the development of the car,” said Keene.

“I have been with the team now for almost 2 years and I feel we now have a good set-up sorted and the car is the best it’s ever been in terms of competitiveness.”

Keene certainly believes that the Deltawing DW13 will have great showings throughout the IMSA WeatherTech Sportscar Championship season.

“We have seen some recent success at Daytona and Sebring and our goal is to continue this as the year continues,” said Keene.

“The team works incredibly well together and the dedication and perseverance to understand and develop the coupe is what makes me all the more sure we will be on the podium soon enough.”
As the development of this unique prototype continues, will the Deltawing DW13 have the ability to fight the Daytona Prototypes and the LMP2 cars on outright pace?
“IMSA’s prototype class has some particularly strong players but as our performance has proven, the DeltaWing coupe is a true competitor for the Daytona Prototypes and LMP2 cars,” responded Keene.
As many sportscar racing fans know, there will be a new formula called Daytona Prototype International (DPi) debuting in 2017, which makes us wonder what will happen to Panoz Deltawing Racing.
Will IMSA grandfather the Deltawing DW13 for 2017? Will the car be ineligible to compete? Could Panoz Deltawing Racing remain in the top class, but with a DPi program? What happened to the Deltawing GT project?
Tim Keene could not comment on the future of the team, but offered encouraging words about the direction of the Prototype class.
“With regards to the new DPi regulations, we believe in the idea of unique styling cues defined by the manufacturers for brand recognition.”
Yesterday, Andy Meyrick qualified the car sixth overall with a lap time of 1:16.006, who is co-driving with team regular, Katherine Legge, this weekend in Long Beach, while Sean Rayhall is on European Le Mans Series duties. Look for Panoz Deltawing Racing to have a great day on the twisty, historic streets of Long Beach, California.
*Sending my best wishes to Catherine Crawford and her family as the Panoz Deltawing Racing engineer recovers from brain surgery. I hope to see you back at the track soon Catherine!*

A New Beginning For Ryan Ellis

Photo: NASCAR

By: Kobe Lambeth

On April 24, 2016, Ryan Ellis will fulfill a long-time dream driving for Ron Devine’s BK Racing team in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series at Richmond International Raceway.

“The deal with BK is something we’ve been working on for several years,” said Ellis.

“Ron Devine and I have been friends for quite a while because we’ve grown up in the same area – Northern Virginia. I knew it would always help to have a bit of sponsorship coming in, and ScienceLogic and I have meshed very well. I am very excited to have brought them together and I really hope we get to run some more races this season and can works towards a full schedule in 2017.”

Ellis made his Sprint Cup debut last season at Phoenix International Raceway where he finished 40th driving for Circle Sport Racing. Despite the finish, there is plenty for Ellis to look forward to as the Trucks and Xfinity Series veteran is ready to take on the best stock car drivers in the world.

“I think my experience in Xfinity and Truck benefits me in many ways,” said Ellis.

Obviously, it helps to have driven similar cars in the past and learning the way they react to certain inputs is beneficial when getting in the Cup car. As different as they are with suspension-travel, power, aero-wise, and overall handling, they are still very close in nature. It helps to have driven these tracks before so I can focus on learning the Cup car and all of the new features they have. I’ve never driven a Cup car with adjustable track-bar and never used the new dash system.”

Despite new features on his No. 93 ScienceLogic BK Racing Toyota Camry, Ellis is ready for the challenge of competing on Sundays and proving that he belongs in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series.

“I think I’m in a great position with BK Racing with their new equipment and the people they already had, and the people they’ve brought in,” said Ellis.

“Ron has made some great changes to put everyone in a phenomenal position this year and the results have shown that. I want to soak up as much as I can from Matt Dibenedetto and David Ragan. They’re two very different people and two very different racecar drivers. David is a veteran who is very calm and reserved and been everywhere in the NASCAR garage. Matt is a hungry second-year driver who drives on the ragged-edge every lap. I think I can learn off of their contrasting personalities and driving styles and work my butt off to prove that I belong in the Sprint Cup garage.”

Ryan Ellis has a tight bond with his BK Racing teammate, Matt DiBenedetto.

“We’re both very racing-oriented and career-focused so we definitely find that 90% or more of our conversation is racing-based, but can definitely disconnect from that as well,” said Ellis.

“We live about an hour away from each other but the two of us, Tanner Berryhill, and Alex Bowman tend to find time to hang out. I’ll be moving closer to Tanner Berryhill soon so I have a feeling we’ll be spending a ton more time getting into trouble. It’s great to have close friends in this sport because I knew absolutely no one when I moved to NC a few years ago.”

If Ellis has a spectacular season for BK Racing, could he possibly move to the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series full-time in 2017?

“It’s hard to say,” said Ellis

“The charter-deal has changed the landscape in Cup so much. I would like to think we could do it, but I’m not involved much on the financial side. It’s definitely something in the back of my mind for sure.”

36 full-time Sprint Cup teams were awarded prestigious Charters, which allow these teams to race every week without the fear of having to qualify on time. However, the third BK Racing entry does not have a charter, so they are not guaranteed a spot in the race if there are more than 40 cars on the entry list. Ryan Ellis had plenty to say about the new Charter System.

“The charter system has changed the landscape in Cup quite a bit,” said Ellis.

“Not as much in the front of the pack, but more-so for the lower-funded or up and coming teams. A year or two ago, our ScienceLogic deal could’ve led to more of a full-season deal or much more, but it isn’t a financially sustainable business model (for most people) to run a non-chartered car without a substantial budget or massive amounts of sponsorship.”

It appears that the Charter System is hurting the smaller teams in NASCAR. Despite the challenge, Ryan Ellis definitely has the potential to overcome every obstacle in his way. Previously, on “The Troubles of Making It as a Race Car Driver Part Two,”  Ryan Ellis told me about his struggles making it to the top levels of stock car racing. It is absolutely exceptional that Ellis has come a long way and not let his financial struggles stop him from achieving his dreams. According to Ellis, it is extremely difficult to survive in NASCAR if you do not have significant financial support.

” It makes everything hard,” said Ellis

You want to focus harder on your career but there are many times when you’re not making enough from the NASCAR-side to even pay rent and food. If you take away focus and work side-jobs like I have over the last three or four years, it can affect your ability to work on sponsorships and get more races. I don’t think there’s a right or a wrong way to stay in the sport, but I’ve been very fortunate to get the opportunities I’ve had. A lot of these drivers are very lucky in that they have the family support to buy a top ride for a few million dollars, but I see my situation as a blessing. I think my position creates a situation where I’m never comfortable, and by never being comfortable, I’m forced to out-work them by a ton to counter their money and/or huge connections. I have great friends and family who help me and have helped me financially from time to time to stay afloat, and without them, I would’ve been forced to give up on this goal a few years ago.”

“The Troubles of Making It as a Race Car Driver Part Two” Starring: Ryan Ellis

https://thescoopwordpresscom.wordpress.com/2015/12/31/kobes-daily-scoop-the-troubles-of-making-it-as-a-race-car-driver-part-two/

 

Greaves Looking to Defend Title; Rojas Ready to Tackle Europe

Photo: John Brooks

By: Kobe Lambeth

As the season opener of the 2016 European Le Mans Series approaches, defending champions, Greaves Motorsport, is ready to take on Silverstone.

The opening round of the championship starts with the 4 Hours of Silverstone on April 16th as many LMP2, LMP3, and GTE machinery battle for glory at the historic circuit. The competition this season will be fierce and intense, so minimum mistakes will be the difference between 1st and 2nd place in the championship.

If Greaves Motorsport wants to be victorious once again, they must be flawless and hold off fantastic competition in the LMP2 class this season. Team principal, Jacob Greaves, is very optimistic about their chances in the European Le Mans Series.

“We are defending European Le Mans Series Champions and are keen to retain our titles, so we go into the season expecting to do so, that is natural,” said Greaves.

“However it is clear that the opposition from last year, Jota Sport (now G-Drive), Thiriet by TDS Racing, and the other teams in LMP2 will be very strong and looking to claim our crown, to beat them we will have to be at the top of our game.”

The pre-season test at the Paul Ricard Circuit certainly gave the team plenty of confidence heading into the 2016 season.

“We went to Le Castellet with a program of areas to test and evaluate, the Ligier JS P2 chassis is new to us even if the Nissan power and Dunlop tires are not,” said Greaves.

“Aside from a few minor issues, the test went to plan and we have data that will give us a good basis for racing. The three drivers really gelled as a team and they were also able to develop a good relationship with the crew, and, perhaps most importantly, they were fast. This leads us to believe that we will be competitive but there will be no easy races.”

It appears that it will be another competitive season for Greaves Motorsport in the European Le Mans Series. Although they have had much success in Europe, could the team be on the move to America with IMSA’s intriguing new Daytona Prototype International (DPi) formula set to debut next season to replace the current Daytona Prototypes and open-cockpit LMP2 cars? Current LMP2 coupes will be grandfathered one year, but it is unknown if they will be competitive against the DPi and ACO-spec cars.

Team principal, Jacob Greaves, had plenty to say about IMSA’s plans for the future of American prototype racing.

“It is difficult to say without seeing the new regulations in detail and they have not been available till just recently. However, we certainly feel that the direction that IMSA and the WeatherTech series is taking is one that will satisfy needs of manufacturers and professional teams in creating a platform for racing that is credible in marketing and financial terms. We also believe that the regulations will generate close competition on these fantastic tracks, that should keep the fans happy, it is a very promising prospect.”

With the exciting prospect of choosing from the four LMP2 constructors, having the opportunity to join forces with a manufacturer, and designing custom bodywork, DPi has the potential to take off in many years to come.

Along with staying in the European Le Mans Series for the immediate future, could we see Greaves Motorsport move to the IMSA WeatherTech Sportscar Championship for the full season or a program based around the NAEC rounds?

“It is no secret that we are examining the possibility of adding a North American element to our 2017 season, that much has been reported in the media already,” responded Greaves.

“We would seek to retain our activity in Europe that has been the foundation of the team’s successes to date and build on this in the IMSA series which, as I have already said, is an attractive platform. The program would be based on the aims of our partners and that might be just confined to the NAEC or a full season, it is too early to speculate further.”

How cool would it be for a European team like Greaves Motorsport to join the competitive IMSA WeatherTech Sportscar Championship next season? Hopefully, everything will come together, so many sportscar fans will have the opportunity to watch them race on American soil.

2016ELMSRicardTest_jb_0160

Photo: John Brooks

Long-time IMSA driver, Memo Rojas, will lead the charge for Greaves Motorsport in 2016. After spending time in America, Rojas will make the transition to Europe. Although he might be racing in a different series, Jacob Greaves had many positive things to say about Rojas.

“Memo has a fantastic track record in North America as a multiple champion and a winner at the classic endurance events at Daytona and Sebring, this does not happen by accident,” said Greaves.

“So, we have a champion in the car and he is seeking fresh challenges in Europe and, most importantly, I would suggest, at the Le Mans 24 Hours. We have to respond accordingly and give Memo the car, and the opportunity, to be as successful his side of the Atlantic as he has been before. We also have to do this for his team-mates as well, they also have racing records that command respect including victories and titles. Endurance racing is a team sport and we all have to perform to best of our abilities to succeed, it is part of the challenge.”

Rojas spent the majority of his sportscar racing career driving Chip Ganassi Racing’s Daytona Prototype, and the Deltawing last season in the IMSA WeatherTech Sportscar Championship. It appears that Rojas is definitely ready for the challenge driving an LMP2 car on European circuits.

Rojas said, “It’s a big change, the European racing culture is very different than the American racing culture, but I really like it!” 

“The biggest challenge will be adapting to the new circuits, but I’m happy to be a driver for one of the best teams which will definitely make the transition easier.”

According to Rojas, an LMP2 car is different compared to previous prototypes that he has driven.

“The Ligier JS P2 is very different from the Daytona Prototypes I had been driving in America,” said Rojas.

“First of all, the car is a full carbon monocoque and it has state of the art technology. The Daytona Prototype had a technology a bit older and was heavier. Both cars are really fun to drive, they are just different.”

Along with running the full European Le Mans Series season with Greaves Motorsport, Rojas will join the team for the 24 Hours of Le Mans this summer. He has very high expectations when it is time for the twice around the clock French endurance classic.

“My goal is to win! I know it will be tough and there are many good teams and drivers but we’ll certainly do our best to achieve that goal.”

Rojas has the talent and Greaves Motorsport has the experience at Le Mans to make those goals a reality when June zooms around the corner!

It was previously mentioned, Greaves Motorsport could join the IMSA WeatherTech Sportscar Championship next season with a DPi program. With the experience of Rojas in America, could he be the lead driver if the European squad decides to take their talents across the pond?

“That would be something for me to consider, although it’s still too early to know,” said Rojas.

Life is good if your name is Memo Rojas.