It was a fight for the ages – BMW’s Daytona 24 Hours battle with Porsche saw no end. Never could Porsche shake itself of that annoying BMW, and never could BMW just leave those two 911s behind. Over 40 lead changes had gone by when Jesse Krohn went in, chased down Nick Tandy and took the lead with 46 minutes remaining. The Finn finally managed to break free and win the race.
DAYTONA 24 HOURS | DPI PREVIEW | LMP2 PREVIEW | GTLM PREVIEW | GTD PREVIEW | CORVETTE C8.R TECH ANALYSIS | INTERVIEW NICK CATSBURG | INTERVIEW DENNIS OLSEN | INTERVIEW RENGER VAN DER ZANDE | PRE-RACE NOTEBOOK | RACE UPDATE 1: SATURDAY AFTERNOON | RACE UPDATE 2: SATURDAY NIGHT | RACE UPDATE 3: SUNDAY NIGHT | RACE UPDATE 4: SUNDAY MORNING | RACE UPDATE 5: SUNDAY FINISH | SATURDAY GALLERY | INTERVIEW KAMUI KOBAYASHI
The #24 BMW RLL M8 GTE’s victory was the second GT Le Mans class win in a row for BMW, following up on last year’s win of the #25 BMW. Where Jesse Krohn and his teammates finished far down the order in 2019, this time it was their moment in the spotlight.
“It’s extra special because last year we were obviously disappointed for ourselves, not being able to be on the podium, but at the same time happy for the other guys and happy for BMW that they got the job done,” Jesse Krohn says. “Now I’ve seen both sides – I was there standing in the rain look at the other guy getting the watch, and this time I was up there.
“The race that we had, it was basically a 24-hour sprint race and coming out on top at the end against world-class drivers and having the privilege of finishing the race is just something amazing – I’m super grateful for RLL having the trust to put me in the car. It could’ve been Augusto, it could’ve been Chaz, it could’ve been John, but they chose me to do the end of the race so it’s really a privilege and it’s unbelievable to be up here with these teammates.”
While co-drivers Augusto Farfus, Chaz Mostert and John Edwards watched from the pitwall, Krohn gave it his all in the battle with Porsche that raged since the green flag was waved on Saturday afternoon. The 29-year-old made the decisive pass for the win with 46 minutes left on the clock.
“It was intense,” Krohn describes the final hours. “Once I saw that the Porsche was ahead I knew that there was no other way around it: I gotta pass if I want to win. Obviously, there’s pressure: you go out on cold tyres, you can’t make any mistake because otherwise it’s done – the hard work of so many people for so many months to prepare for this one can be over in seconds if you make a wrong call. I knew that I’m here for a reason and I can get the job done, I just need to focus and have tunnel vision on the goal.
“It was stressful, but they kept it clean – I think the racing was super clean and fun. Honestly, after every stint, although it was like three hours of intense racing – I only did triple stints so every time you are out there and it’s intense, you have pressure from behind and got a guy who you need to pass – every time I got out of the car I felt like this was super fun.”
Augusto Farfus, with his wealth of experience and success, was pivotal in last year’s race when he piloted the sister car through the final rain storm and to the win. Having moved over to the #24 BMW for 2020, the Brazilian, again, proved his worth.
“Every time I race with him, I learn from him,” Krohn continues. “Obviously, he has so much experience especially with BMW in so many race series. He was here winning last year, so he was sort of a good mentor, keeping us all calm and said: ‘Guys, this is the one where you need to keep it clean for the first 20 hours and then the last 4 you really start racing.’”
One of the graduates of BMW’s successful Junior program, Jesse Krohn says this Daytona 24 Hours victory is the most important in his career with BMW.
“Yeah, 100-percent. I’m super grateful for BMW and I’m glad that this circle comes to a close, in a way, because they have the new Juniors here this weekend. I’m sort of the living proof that the program works and it’s great that BMW is giving opportunities to young drivers who don’t necessarily would be able to do this without their help. I’m super grateful that I’m able to provide this win for BMW.”
Although Krohn is never one to talk big, he does dream big.
“My ultimate goal would be – I want to be the most successful GT driver from Finland, ever. That’s big, because there’s Toni Vilander, Markus Palttala, Mika Salo, JJ Letho – they’ve all done a lot of GT racing so it’s a big task.
“I hope to be around long enough to first of all win the big ones. We’ve started off with this one and hopefully we’ll also get Le Mans, the Nürburgring – all the big ones.”
Christian Rodriguez contributed additional reporting.