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.

F1 Preview – 2018 French Grand Prix

Photo: Getty Images
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It’s hard to believe that the French Grand Prix, the oldest grand prix event on the planet, as it dates back to June of 1906, was ever removed from the Formula 1 calendar.

Alas, not since 2008 at Magny-Cours has Formula 1 held a race on French soil. Yet, that all changes this weekend, as Formula 1 visits the Circuit Paul Ricard for its first French race in a decade.

Formula 1 teams are not strangers to Paul Ricard. It has been a popular testing facility for years, as evidenced by the below photo from 2016, featuring Sebastian Vettel and Ferrari in a wet tire test.

LE CASTELLET, FRANCE – JANUARY 26: Sebastian Vettel of Germany and Scuderia Ferrari drives during wet weather tire testing at Circuit Paul Ricard on January 26, 2016 in Le Castellet, France. (Photo by Mark Thompson/Getty Images)

However, in terms of racing, Paul Ricard has also been absent from the calendar for quite a long time – the last time Formula 1 race at Paul Ricard was in 1990. Alain Prost won for Ferrari that day.

1990: Alain Prost of France punches the air in celebration after passing the chequered flag in his Scuderia Ferrari to win the French Grand Prix at the Paul Ricard circuit in Le Beausset, France. Mandatory Credit: Pascal Rondeau/Allsport

As such, despite being a known quantity as a testing facility, how a race weekend will shake out is anybody’s guess.

And what’s more, it marks the beginning of three consecutive race weekends – The French Grand Prix, The Austrian Grand Prix, and The British Grand Prix – which F1 teams and drivers are calling “the triple header.”

Talking points ahead of the French Grand Prix are below.

A Journey Into the Unknown?

Like all new venues, or resurrected and refurbished ones in this case, the Circuit Paul Ricard represents somewhat of an unknown, as there’s no available race data to make predictions off of.

And the 3.61-mile, 15-turn track itself represents a range of challenges. It has fast corners, like Turns 1 and 2 (S de la Verrerie), a technical section between Turns 3 and 7 (Virage de l’Hotel through the Mistral Straight Start), and a 1.1-mile straightaway in the Mistral Straight, though it is separated by a chicane (Turns 8 and 9).

Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff discussed the challenge of the circuit, highlighting the lack of data to build off of as well the tough three-race stretch ahead as especially challenging, in a preview on Formula 1’s website.

“France should be an interesting race. We don’t often get to race on a track where we have little to no historical data. It makes preparing for the weekend a bit trickier than usual, but that element of the unknown also adds to the challenge. The French Grand Prix marks the first race of the triple header, which will test all F1 teams to their limits, but also offers the chance to score a lot of points over the course of three weeks – which is precisely what we’re setting out to do,” said Wolff.

That element of the unknown makes Paul Ricard one of the biggest wildcards on the 2018 F1 calendar, and a championship shake up could be in the cards as a result.

Ferrari, Mercedes Continue Their Back and Forth

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA – MARCH 25: Sebastian Vettel of Germany driving the (5) Scuderia Ferrari SF71H leads Lewis Hamilton of Great Britain driving the (44) Mercedes AMG Petronas F1 Team Mercedes WO9 on track during the Australian Formula One Grand Prix at Albert Park on March 25, 2018 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Mark Thompson/Getty Images)

Ferrari and Mercedes have traded jabs throughout the 2018 season, with neither able to pull away from the other so far through seven races.

Sebastian Vettel enters the French Grand Prix with a one-point lead over Lewis Hamilton, and holds a slight edge in victories – three to Hamilton’s two – and comes off a thorough domination of the Canadian Grand Prix.

Vettel led every lap at the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve on his way to victory, while Valtteri Bottas had to carry the Mercedes flag in finishing second. Hamilton languished in fifth, a surprising and disappointing result given his previous success there.

The aforementioned Toto Wolff described it as a “wake up call,” though Mercedes will roll out a power unit upgrade this weekend – Ferrari and Renault, which also powers Red Bull Racing, rolled out upgrades of their own in Canada.

With four long straightaways present at Paul Ricard, power will certainly be at a premium, so such upgrades will be vital in giving Mercedes a chance to make amends after Canada’s disappointment.

Trio of French Drivers Look to Impress on Home Soil

It comes hardly as a surprise that the three French drivers – Romain Grosjean, Pierre Gasly, and Esteban Ocon – are keen to make an impression at their home race.

And all three could certainly use a boost. Gasly has only one finish inside the points (seventh in the Monaco Grand Prix) since his stellar fourth place effort in the Bahrain Grand Prix. Ocon is coming off back-to-back points finishes (sixth in Monaco, ninth in Canada), but he has only one other finish inside the points this year (tenth, in Bahrain). And Grosjean, despite showing the speed to finish in the points, is yet to score any in 2018.

As such, all three are hoping for big things in their home race this weekend.

“I want to get a good weekend, have some luck, get my first points of the season, and get a lot of support from the fans,” said Grosjean. “I think we should be in a nice place at Paul Ricard. I’m always looking forward to jumping back in the car. I just love driving an F1 car.”

Ocon, who has raced and won at Paul Ricard in the past, expects his prior experience could be a big help.

“I did race at Paul Ricard early in my career – it was actually where I had my first victory in single seaters in 2013 so I have some fantastic memories of the place,” Ocon described. “I hope we can add some more success this weekend. Having been there in the junior categories makes getting used to a new track in a Formula One car much easier. I think I will find my rhythm quite quickly.”

Gasly’s excitement level obviously matches that of his French compatriots, with the added bonus that the return coincides with his rookie F1 effort.

“For me it will be absolutely incredible that my first full season of Formula 1 coincides with the return of a French Grand Prix to the calendar for the first time in 10 years,” said Gasly. “That has to be a reason for me to be very happy and I’m really excited to be racing in my home country. I can tell it will be a special feeling going out on track and actually, I have spoken to Jean Alesi and Alain Prost about it and they both told me that it will feel really special and something that you really have to experience as a Frenchman racing in France.”

Qualifying for The French Grand Prix begins at 9:55 a.m. ET on Saturday, with Sunday’s race at 9:30 a.m. ET.

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