Ask Franz
There’s a whole lot going on at Konrad Motorsport – so much so that it’s been a struggle to pin down Franz Konrad.“My cars are leaving tomorrow for Sebring, so I’ve been very busy,” says the team owner. “We flew the cars back from Brazil, and we’ve been doing a lot of work to them. It’s been very busy. We’ve got new bodywork on the cars, for example.”

What Franz Konrad cannot yet tell us is the line-up for his two cars for the full ALMS season: “I’ll be able to tell you that by the middle of next week. Tom Weickardt is definitely driving for us, and it should be Terry Borcheller, who as you know won the ALMS championship for us in 2001.”

Konrad Motorsport’s involvement in the ALMS in the past has clearly had a significant affect on the team owner’s thinking at this stage of the preparations – not least because ”I have received hundreds of e-mails from American fans saying that they want to see us back in the ALMS. Until then, I didn’t know that we had such support from Americans.”

dailysportscar.comThe Sebring 2001 victory was perhaps the single most significant event for this team, Franz himself, with Ollie Gavin and Terry Borcheller, bringing the S7R home to an epic GTS win. Ollie Gavin described Konrad as “like a man possessed” during that race – and Konrad pitstops are sometimes an event in themselves, as Franz takes charge of proceedings.

February 2006 sees the team owner working flat out to put all of the pieces in place ahead of what could be another very significant season for the team.

“Yes, we’re definitely on Pirelli tyres, and it looks as though IMSA will make it more equal for us. They’ve promised me a little bit of help – maybe 25 kg, and a little bit on the rear wing.

“You know, I’ve been complaining a lot about the rear wing. The small wing made the car very nervous, because the car was designed with the 1.98 metre wing. But I believe we will have a 1.68 m wing, up from 1.56 m, which will be very good for us.“I was struggling a lot with the FIA on safety, but there are several things going on in Europe. For me it was a struggle to find sponsors, and it’s very difficult if you cannot tell a sponsor where the first race will be. To me Bucarest is stupid anyway. And I don’t know what is going on with the TV in Europe.”

But the team may be racing in some FIA GT races this year, as well as in the ALMS.

“We’ve got four cars here, and we’re building up what will effectively be a new car. Saleen themselves will be giving me some more help this year, so we might do some FIA races.”

Although he can’t reveal the ALMS driver line-up yet, Franz Konrad does have some very good driver news: “Walter (Lechner) is on the way to getting better. We don’t know if he will race this year, but he should start testing a car in July. I can tell you this – as soon as Walter is fit to race, he will get a seat in one of our cars.”

Paolo Ruberti and Jean-Marc Gounon are ‘in the frame’ for seats in the ALMS cars this season, while Franz is also talking to two British drivers, one of whom (at least) is a very significant name.

Konrad Motorsport seemed to turn a significant corner in Brazil last month, with the two S7Rs, in their original Konrad livery, coming home third and sixth in the Mil Milhas race. It will be very interesting to find out who the Sebring / ALMS drivers will be – and following the adventures of this popular team at Sebring and beyond.


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