Dear new guests, or friends rather, of Open-Wheel.com. It is a pleasure to be part of a new and exciting site such as this, and I can guarantee you that everyone behind it has a lot of passion for our sport. From the creators of the site to my fellow drivers helping out, I have the utmost respect for all of them and look forward to making this site just as popular as Facebook. Well, maybe not quite as popular, but close!
I was approached by David Bolton, Zachary Houghton & Tony Tellez a little while back and asked to provide an insight into my various roles in the world of racing. I was honored to do so, and below you can see a bit more on what keeps me busy.
The reason why I am here in the first place is because I’m a driver, and have been fortunate enough to do so professionally and full time for the past six years. After having competed in Gokarts from the age of 8-18, I made the step to Formula Ford in Europe in 2007. The very next year I made the step to the F2000 Championship Series, followed by two years of Star Mazda and culminating with Firestone Indy Lights last year. I guess you could say I’ve climbed the entire Mazda Road to Indy, even before that was the actual name of it. More on that in the next paragraph. This year I’ve been involved with Yellow Dragon Motorsports and their Grand Am Rolex Series program with Mazda. I’m not going to bore you with all my career details, but if you want to know more, feel free to stop by my website www.AndersKrohn.com.
MRTI – Four letters that sound just as good as Gold to young up and coming drivers competing in North America. I am of course referring to the Mazda Road to Indy, which is without a shadow of a doubt the best and most lucrative ladder system in all of racing. As opposed to going in at the top levels of the sport with big money, Mazda has elected to spread their funds widely across the grassroots of motorsports. The result of this is on the open-wheel side is a ladder system where the champion of each category gets a paid ride in the next level. Beyond the financial benefits, the Mazda Road to Indy has also provided a clear cut path to the top in racing, and makes it very easy for team owners, drivers and sponsors to know where they need to be. Mazda and INDYCAR deserve a massive thanks for putting this program together, it is truly unique and oh so effective.
Beyond driving I am also involved with several younger drivers, trying to help them climb the ladder. I’ve had so much help from so many people throughout my career, that I feel a strong need to give something back. I am a co-owner in ABK Sports Management, alongside former F2000/Star Mazda driver Jonny Baker and USF2000 Series owner Dan Andersen. Our goal has been to help drivers make the right decisions, come well prepared and know what to expect when it comes to all aspects in racing. I act as the Director of Marketing & Driver mentor since I’ve been working full time with funding my own career for the past five years. We’ve worked with Tristan Vautier (2011 Star Mazda Champion and 2012 Firestone Indy Lights race winner) among others, and currently work with USF2000 National class driver (and race winner) Henrik Furuseth & Skip Barber rookie Ayla Agren. It is tremendously exciting to work with these two talented drivers, so watch out for their names in the years to come! On select race weekends I also work as a driver coach and its funny how easily I can relate to what they are going through. So much about this sport is mental attitude, and it is really incredible what a calm and focused brain can do to your laptime. I guess that’s where I come in, to make sure that they don’t get stressed up about the small things while they are still learning the game. I could go on forever, but the point is that it is such a rewarding feeling to be able to help younger drivers out.
As if my North American activities weren’t enough, I also have a karting team in Norway called Anders Krohn Junior Team. We are one of the biggest teams and currently have around 20 drivers! I don’t get to go back to Norway too often, but when I do, we have training camps and other exciting stuff. The team recently had a training camp in Italy while preparing for the season, so they are staying busy and will push for some big results this year. I control more of the commercial side of the team, while I am fortunate to have some very experienced people running the team on a day to day basis.
Before writing this piece I asked people to send suggestions on Twitter and Facebook if there was something in particular they would like me to write about.
Mason on Facebook asked me “How can the growing television and internet coverage best be molded and utilized to help the Mazda Road to Indy system grow?” Everyone in racing is looking for money, one way or another. Looking for money (Sponsors, Partners) is tough when you are doing something that is not visible. But with the Mazda Motorsports Hour now going and the Firestone Indy Lights races televised, we are starting to become visual. I think everything is headed in the right direction and it’s becoming easier to justify the cost of the various rungs on the Mazda Road to Indy. The television coverage also lets fans connect to drivers at a young age, and find someone they can follow through their whole career. It’s a great thing all together and I can’t wait to see where we are in five years’ time.
Our very own David Bolton asked me “How receptive are younger drivers to advice from a veteran like you? Also, what’s the biggest challenge in coaching young drivers?” First off, I wouldn’t refer to myself as a veteran. A veteran of the Mazda Road to Indy maybe, but certainly not the sport as a whole. But to answer your question, the drivers I’ve worked with have been very receptive to any and all feedback. The biggest challenge for young(er) drivers is that of patience. Nothing can happen fast enough, and if things don’t go exactly like planned right away, they tend to get stressed and start making mistakes. That’s where I have to do some work on the brain and make sure they stay calm and focus on the task at hand.
Wow I guess that was a bit longer than I expected! Anyways, hope you guys enjoyed the read and I look forward to writing more stuff for Open-Wheels.com soon. Should you have any questions/comments/suggestions, please Tweet me @AndersKrohn and I will answer you to the best of my abilities.
All the best,