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Interview: Tracy Krohn, Krohn Racing

Krohn Racing's team principal discusses the WEC, sponsorship in sportscars and his team's future plans

by Rachel Evans

 


What’s your earliest motorsport memory?
When I was about 7 or 8 years old, I was with my father in one of the first Porsche 911s in the US. We were on the turnpike between Dallas and Fort Worth Texas. Then we went through the toll booth and I saw a [Pontiac] GTO. I was looking out the back of the car as we were going at 140mph and I remember seeing the big puff of smoke coming out the back.

How did you become involved in motorsport?

I wanted to become part of the sport in college but I couldn’t afford it. Then I bought a Porsche many years ago and my ex-wife gave me a gift voucher for a session with a performance driving school. I liked it a lot so I did another. Then I went to race school. I joined a spec series and I did that for about a year and a half.

What are the best and worst parts of your job?

I wouldn’t call it a job but the travel is the worst part, the long plane journeys going back and forth. The best part is being in the car. It’s the one place I can go to where I don’t have to think about anything else. It’s a zen-like experience.

How could the rule makers make your life easier?

I think that motorsport in general misses the concept of people who don’t do this for a living. They should recognize that manufacturers have big expensive teams, but those who are running teams like me are the people who the make the sport what it is. Where they’ve had the best success historically is where they’ve recognized this. And the future of the WEC depends on this.

How difficult is it to get commercial sponsorship?

It’s very difficult. The good thing for me is that this is a networking opportunity. I’ve done some fairly big transactions in the oil and gas industry as a result of my racing connections. We did one for US$400m and we did another one that included 148,000 acres that we’re still testing in East Texas.

Do you think that is ever likely to change?

I think it could but it would require an effort on my part to not run a public company! My time right now is better spent running a public company and coming over to try and make this a business. We tried several different models. The best model is that we make these networking connections. I think in order to raise that sponsorship we’d have to make a concerted effort; I’ve tried it that way and had very limited success. We tried to build cars, again with limited success. But the payoff in the sport for me has been the connections that I've made in motorsport.

More generally what are your plans for the race team?

We’re looking at several possibilities for 2014 and 2015, one of which may include an LMP2 effort. We’re also going to see what happens with Grand-Am. I didn’t feel it was justified to go out and make the expenses [on Grand-Am] not knowing what the rules were going to be for the next two or three years. We didn’t want to have to make a change again.

 

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