The American racer is one of the first female drivers in the Prototype Cup Germany. She competes in a Ginetta G61-LT-P3 from Gebhardt Motorsport. In this interview, Crone looks ahead to the season in Europe.
When the 2023 season in the Prototype Cup Germany gets going at the Hockenheimring from 28th to 30th April, the race series organised by the ADAC and Creventic will feature women at the wheel for the first time - one of whom will be Courtney Crone. The 22-year-old from Southern California will take a seat in a Ginetta G61-LT-P3 for the experienced Gebhardt Motorsport team from Sinsheim. She was able to test the British race car at the end of March. In this interview, Crone reveals that she is looking forward immensely to the new season:
Courtney, you are one of the first women to be competing in the Prototype Cup Germany. Is that something special for you, and does it give you extra motivation?
Crone: “In fact, I only realised that when the official press release for the series was published. Of course, it’s exciting for me to break down barriers like that or set milestones. Naturally, I hope that more women will enter the series. In the cockpit, it makes no difference whether I am competing against men or women. All that counts is who is ahead of you and who you have to overtake.”
You are also racing in your home country in 2023 and will be appearing in the IMSA series. How did you decide to compete in two series?
“After the season-opener in Daytona, I was contacted by Mr. Gebhardt to see if I wanted to race for his team this year in the Prototype Cup Germany. I checked out the schedules before accepting the offer. Some of the teams involved here are also racing in the IMSA. So, it was clear that it’s a good series. I was already following the results last year. After I got the call from Mr. Gebhardt, I then really focused on the Prototype Cup Germany.”
In your opinion, what are the outstanding features of the series?
“I like how the calendar is put together. As I had never been to Europe before, I am not familiar with any of the circuits from the cockpit perspective. But we had already heard so much in the USA about circuits like the Hockenheimring or Zandvoort. I am particularly looking forward to these two racetracks. And I am a fan of the weekend format with two races.”
What do you do apart from motor racing?
“This year is going to be pretty packed, with all the races in the IMSA and the Prototype Cup Germany. When I’m not racing, I work as a driving coach at a private racetrack in Southern California. Apart from that, I train a lot. I like to go snowboarding in winter. This year, we really did get a lot of snow. I like to go hiking or mountain biking in summer. I just love being outside in the fresh air.”
Can you give us an insight into your motorsport career so far?
“I started out with motorbike racing in California when I was about ten years old. I stayed with that for a few years and also won some championships. In my teenage years, I became more interested in moving to four-wheeled vehicles. So, I started racing midget and sprint cars. I got some funding and was able to move to single-seater cars. In 2021, I then started LMP3 racing in the IMSA. This means that 2023 is my third season with prototypes.”
You were able to get a first taste of the Hockenheimring and the Ginetta during testing at the end of March. How did that go?
“Hockenheim has such a great history. It was just phenomenal to be driving there myself. The circuit is a bit smoother and slicker than the ones we have in the USA. It was a brilliant experience. The Ginetta was also uncharted territory for me, as I had previously only driven the Ligier and the Duqueine. All three models share a lot of similarities. My first impression is that the Ginetta feels like a type of fusion of Ligier and Duqueine. The level of responsiveness is close to that of the Ligier, while the handling tends more towards the Duqueine.”
What is your sporting objective for the Prototype Cup Germany?
“The season is all about continuous development – for me and for the team. 2022 was the first LMP3 season for Gebhardt Motorsport. We are aiming to build on that and keep on improving. There are always some factors during a race that are out of your control. If we can up our pace from race to race, we will certainly be happy. If we can manage that, then a podium is definitely within reach.”