Le Mans: Krohn Racing’s logistics for last-minute trip

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Krohn Racing received a late invitation to the 2014 24 Hours of Le Mans race and had a very short window in which to prepare their Ferrari F458 and get all their racing equipment and team members to Le Mans, France in time for the official start of the week’s activities. A 17-day turnaround of all race equipment and personnel was all the Krohn Team had for all logistical movements.

Below are some interesting facts and timeline specifics about the complexities of the logistical effort:

  • Krohn Racing received a call from the ACO on Friday, May 23, 2014, that they were officially invited to participate in the 2014 running of the 24 Hours of Le Mans, June 14-15.
  • First official ACO event that Krohn Racing needed to attend was ACO scrutineering on Monday, June 9 at 3:30 p.m.
  • Three Krohn crew members flew on June 2, via Milan, Italy, to Padova, Italy to the Michelotto shop to assist with the transformation of the Ferrari F458 from IMSA specs to the 2014 Le Mans GTE-Am aerodynamics package and Le Mans race engine installation
  • Over 8,650 kilograms (19,000 lbs) of Ferrari racecar, spare parts, and the Ferrari engine were shipped from Houston, Texas to Le Mans, France, via air, water, and land
  • In the process of shipping parts and the car, the following transportation vehicles were used: a small van, a 40-foot curtain side truck, a car transporter, a 53-foot semi truck, a ferry, a Boeing 777, and a Boeing 747
  • On May 30, the No. 57 Krohn Racing Ferrari’s spare parts were driven from Houston to Chicago, and were then put on a plane to London Heathrow airport on June 1. Once they arrived in London on June 2, the parts were driven and also rode a ferry to get to the Le Mans paddock from June 5-6. This task required seven days, door-to-door, and 12 people.
  • The Krohn Racing Ferrari and engine had to make a stop in Padova, Italy at Michelotto’s shop on their journey from Houston to Le Mans. On May 28, the car traveled from Houston to Luxembourg and then on to Padova on May 31.
  • On May 27 the Ferrari engine was flown from Houston to London Heathrow, and rode in a van through the Chunnel under the English Channel, arriving at Michelotto in Italy on May 29
  • Seven different destinations were involved in Krohn Racing’s journey to the 24 Hours of Le Mans: the Houston George Bush Intercontinental Airport, Chicago O’Hare International Airport, London Heathrow Airport, Luxembourg Findel Airport, Milan Malpensa Airport,Eurotunnel Calais Terminal (Chunnel),  Michelotto shop in Padova, Italy, and finally the Le Mans paddock
  • All said and done, almost 18,000 miles were covered in getting the Krohn Racing Ferrari race car and necessary race parts from the Krohn shop in Houston, Texas to the Le Mans paddock
  • 7.1 tons of freight were sent, which included seven freight boxes, the race car and engine
  • 24 people work for the Krohn Racing team during Le Mans week and air travel had to be arranged for 21 of them, with the furthest origination point being Perth, Australia (over 10,600 miles without layovers). The main Krohn Racing crew arrived in Le Mans on Saturday, June 7
  • All three Krohn drivers arrived into Le Mans on Sunday, June 8. Team owner/driver Tracy W. Krohn arrived directly into Le Mans by private jet from Houston, Texas, USA; Nic Jonsson flew commercial from his home in Atlanta, Georgia USA to Paris and took the TGV train to Le Mans; and Brit Ben Collins drove and went through the Chunnel  from his home in Bristol, England
  • The Ferrari F458 arrived from Michelotto on Sunday, June 8, and finished the preparations. The three drivers and car went to ACO scrutineering on Monday, June 9 at 3:30 p.m.
KROHN RACING LOGISTIC EFFORT – LEMANS 2014
Date Activity
23-May Krohn Racing receives invitation from ACO
27-May Ferrari engine flown from Houston to Michelotto in Italy via Luxembourg
28-May Ferrari race car flown Houston, Texas for Michelotto in Italy via London
29-May Ferrari engine arrive at Michelotto in Padova, Italy
30-May Krohn Racing spare parts and equipment driven to Chicago
31-May Ferrari race car arrives at Michelotto in Padova, Italy
1-Jun Krohn Racing spare parts and equipment put on plane to London Heathrow Airport
Road  journey begins for equipment and spares from London to Le Mans, France
2-Jun Three Krohn Racing crew fly to Milan, Italy and drive to Michelotto shop in Padova
2-6 Jun Crew work with Michelotto on car prep and installation of engine and 2014 aero bodywork
6-8 Jun Krohn Racing crew arrives in Le Mans
8-Jun Krohn Ferrari arrives in Le Mans
All 3 Krohn drivers arrive in Le Mans
9-Jun ACO Scrutineering at 3:30 p.m.
Post-Race:

  • Krohn Racing plans to spend the three days after the 24 Hours of Le Mans race in their Garage no. 3 at the track to work on the Ferrari, preparing it for the next IMSA TUDOR Series race at the 6 Hours of Watkins Glen, June 27-29. The Ferrari race car, crew and all equipment will then depart Le Mans on Thursday, June 19, with the crew returning home and the car and the equipment being sent via London to JFK Airport in New York, from where it will be transported to Watkins Glen.
  • The Krohn transporter will depart Houston, Texas on Monday, June 23 to drive to Watkins Glen, New York. The crew will fly out on Tuesday, June 24 to Watkins Glen.
  • Simultaneously on Tuesday, June 24 Tracy Krohn, Nic Jonsson, Race Engineer Hayden Burvill and Team Manager Gary Holland will converge at Magny Cours in central France for a P2 test.

Battle for sixth on line between Toro Rosso, Renault, Haas

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With little else to play for this weekend in the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix season finale, it’s the battle for sixth place in the Constructor’s Championship that has received a bit more attention than normal as one of the last key items to get decided in the 2017 Formula 1 season.

The top five positions from Mercedes, Ferrari, Red Bull, Force India and Williams are set, before a six-point spread covers Scuderia Toro Rosso (53 points), Renault (49) and Haas F1 Team (47) heading into Sunday’s race. The difference in payout between sixth and eighth is significant, and as such all three teams have extra incentive to end as high as possible.

TORO ROSSO AND RENAULT’S YEAR AS F1’S ODD COUPLE

Somewhat joined at the hip all year, Toro Rosso and Renault have enjoyed a particularly weird year being F1’s “odd couple.”

Carlos Sainz Jr. provided Toro Rosso 48 of its first 52 points, with a fourth place in the Singapore Grand Prix the best result for the team all season.

But that Singapore weekend saw things change substantially on several fronts. At the weekend, the McLaren/Honda divorce was made official, with the Toro Rosso/Honda link-up revealed, and then Sainz confirmed to get loaned by Red Bull to Renault for 2018.

Kvyat then was surprisingly dropped before Malaysia to give Pierre Gasly an opportunity for his F1 debut, and after Japan two weeks later, Jolyon Palmer got himself out of the way by announcing that was his final drive for Renault, clearing the way for Sainz to switch early. Gasly’s Super Formula commitments at Suzuka meant Toro Rosso needed two new drivers for Austin and so Kvyat was reluctantly brought back, and Brendon Hartley made his shock F1 debut after his Red Bull relationship was rekindled.

At Austin, Sainz then provided Renault the team a shot in the arm with seventh place on debut and six crucial points, while Kvyat delivered a 10th place to ensure Toro Rosso got one more point… and then was promptly dropped again.

SPA, BELGIUM – AUGUST 26: Red Bull Racing Team Principal Christian Horner, Red Bull Racing Team Consultant Dr Helmut Marko and Renault Sport F1 Managing Director Cyril Abiteboul talk after qualifying for the Formula One Grand Prix of Belgium at Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps on August 26, 2017 in Spa, Belgium. (Photo by Dan Mullan/Getty Images)

That has set up the drama of the last two race weekends, then, as Toro Rosso has endured the brunt of unreliability from its engine partner Renault in Mexico and Brazil.

The two sides nearly came to blows in a war of words in the Interlagos paddock. Red Bull motorsport advisor Dr. Helmut Marko stepped in to stem the tide, briefly, but the damage has been done.

Such an unusual situation will reach its climax this weekend with Toro Rosso trying to beat its engine partner for sixth place in the constructor’s championship. This would equal the team’s best result (sixth in 2008, with Sebastian Vettel and Sebastien Bourdais) if it holds. But it will have to stave off its former driver, Sainz, at Renault to do so.

“We go to Abu Dhabi aiming to finish this rollercoaster season on a high,” said Cyril Abiteboul, Renault Sport Racing Managing Director, who has both teams to worry about it.

“This race is almost a championship in itself as we are in a tight battle with Toro Rosso and Haas, and everything is still to play for. Either one of us could finish between sixth and eighth position so we are being very careful with our preparations. We will have to combine an approach that is at the same time attacking, as we need five points more than Toro Rosso to get sixth, but also conservative as we are just two points ahead of Haas.”

Renault, the team, feels it has a good chance of overhauling Toro Rosso. Both Sainz and Nico Hulkenberg have delivered double Q3 appearances the last two races in Mexico and Brazil, although they only have a single 10th place (Hulkenberg in Brazil) to show for it.

“We will look at the balance of risk and reward with the aim of maximising our chances of overhauling Toro Rosso for sixth in the Championship. We’ll fight for every point,” said Bob Bell, Renault Chief Technical Officer.

“I get a great sense that the momentum in this team is building for the longer term and that’s what we’re interested in. Clinching sixth in the Constructors’ is important as this team wants to show progress en route to being successful and winning championships. It’s important to feel and build on this momentum.”

Hulkenberg has a solid record in Abu Dhabi, coming sixth, seventh and seventh in the last three races here with Force India.

“The constructors’ championship will go down to the wire for sixth in Abu Dhabi and I’m really relishing the challenge. The track should suit us better than Interlagos. It’s the season finale, there’s plenty at stake and that makes me very excited,” said the German, who holds the record for most Grands Prix started without a podium finish.

“I head to Abu Dhabi hoping to score well. I want to kick back on Sunday night at Yas Marina with the team and celebrate a job well done.”

SAO PAULO, BRAZIL – NOVEMBER 12: Carlos Sainz of Spain driving the (55) Renault Sport Formula One Team Renault RS17 on track during the Formula One Grand Prix of Brazil at Autodromo Jose Carlos Pace on November 12, 2017 in Sao Paulo, Brazil. (Photo by Mark Thompson/Getty Images)

Sainz, who with 54 points scored is also in the unique position of having scored more points himself than either of his two teams (Toro Rosso 53, Renault 49) all season, thinks the Abu Dhabi track will suit Renault better. Sainz is yet to score at Abu Dhabi in two prior starts (best finish 11th in 2015).

“I left Brazil with a positive mindset as I’m starting to feel at home in the car and we head to Abu Dhabi with confidence and an aim for points. It’s going to be a tight fight in the championship for sixth, but we are ready for the challenge,” Sainz said.

“There’s been a lot to learn but I think we’ve been able to face the challenge in a positive manner. It’s been an education for me to come to a manufacturer team, and there’s been a lot to do because of joining mid-season. I’m still on a steep learning curve with the car so I hope for another step forward in Abu Dhabi.”

TORO ROSSO’S YOUNG GUNS HOPE TO SAVE SIXTH

SAO PAULO, BRAZIL – NOVEMBER 10: Pierre Gasly of France and Scuderia Toro Rosso and Brendon Hartley of New Zealand and Scuderia Toro Rosso walk in the Paddock after practice for the Formula One Grand Prix of Brazil at Autodromo Jose Carlos Pace on November 10, 2017 in Sao Paulo, Brazil. (Photo by Mark Thompson/Getty Images)

For Toro Rosso’s pair, despite the relative lack of F1 experience, the newly re-signed Gasly and Hartley also enter Abu Dhabi with optimism. Gasly sealed the GP2 title here last year while Hartley has track experience there from Porsche LMP1 testing among other outlets, and brings to an end his epic eight-week, seven-country, three-continent, three-series, three-car “Brendon Hartley Boogaloo World Tour.”

“I’m really excited and looking forward to the last race of the season in Abu Dhabi! It’s a track I really like, especially because I have some really good memories from racing there last year, where I won the GP2 Series title. It’s a place that therefore means a lot to me, also because I was on pole position there for the last two GP2 seasons!” Gasly said.

“I will give my very best; we need to really push and keep our sixth position in the constructors’ championship – it’s really important for the team and us drivers, as we want to make sure the team can develop the car as much as we’d like for next year.”

Hartley added, “Wow, what a way to end a year… Abu Dhabi will mark the end of a very busy and surreal few months for me! This will be my fourth Formula 1 Grand Prix of my career and I have to say that I’ve been feeling more and more comfortable in the Toro Rosso F1 car if I compare it to the first time I drove it. I now feel right at home within the team too, which is always a nice feeling to have. Abu Dhabi is a track I have raced and tested on in other categories and I remain optimistic that I can score my first F1 point!”

HAAS WITH OUTSIDE SHOT AT P6, BETTER SHOT AT P7

SHANGHAI, CHINA – APRIL 07: Haas F1 Team Principal Guenther Steiner sits on the pit wall gantry during practice for the Formula One Grand Prix of China at Shanghai International Circuit on April 7, 2017 in Shanghai, China. (Photo by Mark Thompson/Getty Images)

Haas is the underdog in the battle for sixth, but, at only two points back of Renault for seventh, can still manage to end one spot higher than it did in its debut season – and hit its preseason target of 50 points scored in the process.

Romain Grosjean has a best finish of fourth at Abu Dhabi in 2013 with Lotus, and just missed a point here last year with Haas in its somewhat traditional P11. Teammate Kevin Magnussen has a best finish at Abu Dhabi of, you guessed it, 11th, in 2014 with McLaren. After a miserable Brazil where both cars had incidents on the first lap, there’s nowhere to go but up in Abu Dhabi.

Team principal Guenther Steiner outlined the team’s goals heading into the weekend. Thus far, there’s been 47 points scored in 11 Grands Prix a big uptick on the 29 points scored in five last year.

“I think points tell something, but not everything,” Steiner said. “Even if we race the same teams, there are different levels of performance. I wouldn’t have said we’ve gotten better if we had less points, but looking in from the outside, I think we’ve made progress at all levels. We wanted to better our position, but at this moment in time we are equal, so sure we will try to get better in Abu Dhabi. I was hoping to better our end-of-season position by one spot.

“Absolutely. We will have a go at it. In Brazil, without the two accidents on lap one, I think we’d have had a good chance to get some points. Then again, we didn’t do it, so it’s just ‘if’ and ‘would’. We will, for sure, try hard in Abu Dhabi.”