The Fanatec GT2 European Series welcomes a host of new drivers to its ranks for the 2023 season, and we’ll be taking the time to introduce them in our new ‘Getting to Know’ feature.
First up, it’s the turn of Jan Krabec, who joined the #GT2Family for the first time at Monza. A brace of Am-class wins in the RTR Projects #89 KTM X-BOW sealed a superb series debut for both Jan and the team, placing them top of the category standings ahead of round two at the Red Bull Ring.
Jan, first of all, welcome to the Fanatec GT2 European Series. You made quite the impression on your first outing at Monza, winning the Am class in both races. Did you expect such success on your debut event?
“Of course not! I am happy to be back on track and the goal for the weekend was simple: get familiar with the series, get to know the other teams and drivers, observe their pace and performance, and - if possible - try to achieve some reasonable results. We did say that a podium in the category might be nice if everything goes well.”
We had very changeable weather in Italy, how much did the rain hamper your preparations for the two dry races?
“It was my first time ever in Monza, so I did not want to overshoot my pace in wet Practices. Occasionally, there was a lot (!) of water on the track and I did have some difficult moments while getting to know this beautiful and super-fast track. When I thought I just started to understand the wet track a bit, the track dried up and I failed to get the best from the car and the tyres in the dry Quali. On the other hand, I knew my speed still might get better and I hoped that I would be able to get the proper feeling for the dry conditions even during the race. I knew consistency might be a decisive factor for the races. It would not be the first time.”
Can you tell us a bit about your racing background and previous success / experience?
“I always loved racing since I was little - watching it on TV. When I got involved with the racing world at my work, sport law was a very interesting branch of law for me (being Mergers and Acquisitions and Investment lawyer as my core expertise) and I wanted to stay around. When I was studying in Berkeley School of Law in California, I attended the racing program with the Skip Barber Racing School in Laguna Seca. However, I had no real plans to start racing.
“I believe it was Tomas Enge (the only Czech F1 driver to this day) who repeatedly challenged me that I should start racing and introduced me to Mr. Tomas Miniberger, the race driver and owner of the Czech team RTR Projects.
“RTR Projects quickly proved itself as the best place to gradually improve myself over years of quite intensive training while being supported by professional coaches and engineers. Without the support of Mr. Tomas Miniberger and without the professional advice from Messrs. Erik Janis, Tomas Enge and my continuous almost brotherly relationship to our engineer and now director Mr. Tomas Fanta, and of course without the day and night support of our mechanics, I would never be able to progress this fast.
“I started racing with the open top KTM X-BOW RR in the X-BOW Battle and I have many fond memories of these years. The KTM X-BOW was a very simple car: H pattern gearbox, clutch, no ABS, no traction control, no power steering. It’s basically a huge go-kart, but very fast and if you wanted to push hard - not so easy to drive. That gave me a proper training to switch to KTM GT4, a more “adult” car to race. Over these years, I started to collect podiums in the X-BOW Battle, endurance racing with the GT4 in the 24H Series and later even podiums and victories in the ADAC GT4.”
What attracted you to race in the Fanatec GT2 European Series with RTR Projects?
“That is not a difficult question: the KTM GT2 is a beautiful and capable car, the prestigious tracks are famous and a delight to race on. The series promised to offer exactly what I wanted from racing in my almost 40 years of age, i.e., a great and diverse field of beautiful GT2 cars, good atmosphere, respect among the gentlemen drivers and the challenge of racing against the Pro drivers, too.”
What is your impression of the series so far?
“It delivers upon its promise, and I hope I and many other drivers will come and be able to stay around and race with us.”
What’s been your biggest challenge in joining the series and learning the KTM X-BOW GT2?
“Time. In my field of work, time is the biggest challenge. However, I felt it was a good moment to start thinking about a comeback and I managed to properly test and get ready over the winter. I did train hard and even managed to test the car on several tracks before the season started.”
We’ve got our next races coming up at the Red Bull Ring, how are you looking forward to the second round? Have you raced there before?
“I did race there several times with the X-BOW Battle and ADAC GT4. A great fast track with perfect facilities and the beautiful mountains around. It will be an interesting link from the crazy-fast Monta to more technical racetracks.”
What do you hope to achieve during your first GT2 season?
“I would like to be even stronger and better all-round race driver. That is the main reason why I am doing things, to keep on improving.”
Jan continues his Fanatec GT2 European Series journey in round two at the Red Bull Ring, Austria, 26-28 May.