RISI COMPETIZIONE SCORES A PODIUM FINISH IN THE ROLEX 24 AT DAYTONA - 30.1.2017
Endurance races have become the specialty for the Risi Competizione Ferrari sports car team. The single-car, Houston, Texas-based outfit battled for a hard-fought podium finish in this weekend’s Rolex 24 At Daytona with a third-place result in the GTLM class and seventh overall at the Daytona International Speedway. The third-place finish in class during the opening race of the 2017 International Motor Sports Association (IMSA) calendar comes on the heels of the team’s victory in the Petit Le Mans at Road Atlanta to end the 2016 season. Risi also collected a second-place finish in the prestigious 24 Hours of Le Mans during June of 2016.
Risi previously finished second in the 24-hour race at Daytona in 1999 and 2003.
In the 2017 edition of the event, neither persistent rains throughout the night and into the morning, nor the resources of the factory-backed GTLM teams could slow the Risi trio of Italian Giancarlo Fisichella, Finland’s Toni Vilander and James Calado of Great Britain as they battled weather and 54 other competitors across four classes at the famed Daytona track.
Risi remained in contention for the class victory until the checkered flag flew Sunday afternoon at 2:30 p.m. EST, when waning grip forced a hard-driving Calado to settle for third as the workhorse Ferrari 488 GTLM crossed the startfinish line for the 652nd lap over the 24-hour period.
Vilander qualified the car on the outside of the second row for the start of the race at 2:30 p.m. EST on Saturday afternoon under sunny skies.
He, Calado and Fisichella completed double stints to start the race, remaining near the top of the running order. As night descended on Daytona Beach, the first rain drops began to fall, ultimately turning to consistent rain storms that persisted through the entirety of the dark hours and forced numerous full course yellows.
During the gruelling early morning hours, Calado turned in a masterful drive in wet conditions, relieving Vilander and remaining in the car for nearly three hours from 3:40 a.m. to twenty minutes before seven o’clock, close to dawn. The No. 62 machine often appeared at the top of the leaderboard during that time.
As the rain finally began to subside in the late morning hours, the track’s cool temperatures and drying conditions continued to prove treacherous. Still, Vilander drove into the lead and Calado kept the car up front during his stint, only to be gridlocked in his pit stall by a neighboring team during a driver change to Fisichella, forcing the Risi Ferrari to drop to sixth.
Fisichella returned the car to as high as second place before turning the car back over to Calado with just under two hours to go. Race Engineer Rick Mayer instructed Calado to save fuel while also asking him to go to battle with the stout Ford GTs and Porsche 911s.
Ultimately, the Risi group came up just short of the top step on the podium, but turned in an amazing effort and served notice again as a GTLM team to be reckoned with as the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship turns its attention to Sebring for that circuit’s renowned 12-hour affair.
Toni Vilander, driver, No. 62 Ferrari 488 GTLM: “The overall competitiveness in the category is just remarkable. We did a completely trouble-free race, but it was a really good 24-hour race. What years ago might have been a victory today is now good enough for third place. It was a good team effort. It was great driving from Giancarlo and James and a great job from the team at Risi Competizione. We have a good collaboration with Michelin and obviously huge support from Ferrari and Michelotto helping us to be here. We are happy to be on the podium, but the race is so long and there were moments where we felt we had a winning car today. So that’s why at the moment it’s bitter tasting third place. We’ll see how it feels during the next week.”
Giancarlo Fisichella, driver, No. 62 Ferrari 488 GTLM: “It’s a good result, obviously. We were there to fight for a win and everybody was quick. We did our best. At the end, James was struggling with the grip level, but the pace was there. I think we did our maximum today and am really looking forward to Sebring.”
James Calado, driver, No. 62 Ferrari 488 GTLM: “Obviously, I’m disappointed we didn’t get the win, but I gave it my all. I had to save fuel for the first half of the stint, which cost me a lot of performance in that time and I had to do it or we wouldn’t have made it to the end. Then, the full yellow came out and I was able to push the gap and maintain, but the Ford was just too fast. I caught the Porsche at the end, but third was the best we could do. The team did a great job as did both Toni and Giancarlo and I was glad to get to race again with the entire Risi Competizione team.”
Dave Sims, Risi Competizione Team Manager: “The team is so good and it all stems from the basics of real teammate and talent; they’re brilliant. If you haven’t got reliability then you don’t finish a big Press Release Risi Competizione Race Public Relations Barbara J. Burns firstname.lastname@example.org Tel: +1 770 329 7134 Ferrari of Houston Russell Adams email@example.com 6100 Southwest Freeway Houston, Texas USA 77057 Telephone 1-713-772-3868 www.risicompetizione.com Page 3 of 3 race like this. The team’s mechanics, Crew Chief Mark, and all the boys do a fabulous job. The pit stops were fantastic the entire 24 hours. We went to Le Mans last year and were second, which is no mean feat in anybody’s eyes. It was a perfect race for us. Then at Petit [Le Mans] in 2016, the last race of the year, we won it against all the two-car factory teams. Now here we are finishing the 24 hours of Daytona in third. With a bit more Lady Luck on our side we could have won it, but it was a brilliant run the last two days. The car didn’t miss a beat. Every pit stop was immaculate; I have to give it to the team again. The drivers did a good job. There were no protests; we have a welldisciplined, organized team. We didn’t change the car in practice, from the setup we had at the Roar [Test]. We kept with it and it proved to be the right decision all the way around. Again, it’s the TEAM: mechanically, strategy and engineering-wise, which did it. We all like to win, but are well pleased with third at Daytona. This is a tough place, especially with the 15-16 hours of rain we coped with. On top of that we won the DEKRA Award for the first race of this season and our tenth time since 2015.”
Rick Mayer, Risi Competizione Race Engineer: “It was a very different race with the long cautions as opposed to a red flag stoppage drawing it out a bit. The fact that you had so many cars on the lead lap was impressive. We were in a significant fuel savings mode, which didn’t help our cause. That final caution came out and put us in a window where we could make it to the end without saving fuel, but I don’t think we had enough for the Ford and Porsche at that point. We’ll take a third and go to Sebring.
The crew does an awesome job preparing the cars. I think the drivers did a stellar job keeping it out of trouble. The drivers have to keep the car perfect and undamaged for the final late hour run to the finish.
With the weather being like it was I thought Giancarlo, Toni and James did a great job. Particularly with all the rain, its so easy to go off-track and damage the car.”
The next race on the 2017 IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship schedule is Round 2, the 12 Hours of Sebring, in Sebring, Florida, on Saturday, March 18.
For more information, please go to www.risicompetizione.com .
Race Public Relations
Barbara J. Burns
Tel: +1 770 329 7134
Ferrari of Houston
Russell Adams firstname.lastname@example.org
6100 Southwest Freeway Houston,
Texas USA 77057
Risi Competizione attains top five finish at Lacuna Seca - 2.5.2016
Monterey, California (May 1, 2016)... The No. 62 Risi Competizione Ferrari 488 GTLM of starting driver Toni Vilander and teammate Giancarlo Fisichella drove to a hard-fought Top Five finish in today's Continental Monterey Grand Prix Powered by Mazda race at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca in Monterey, California.
The fourth round of the 2016 IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship featured only the Prototype (P) and GTLM classes in a two-hour sprint format. Vilander had qualified the car on the third row, in the fifth starting position, and drove a strong first stint.
On the second of three full course cautions, Vilander pitted for a driver change to Fisichella, along with new tires and fuel at approximately 40-minutes into the race and while in fourth position.
The Risi Competizione pit crew, known for their legendary pit stops, did not disappoint and managed to get the car out before several other pitting GTLM cars and into second-place, just behind a BMW that was out of the pit cycle. Eventually Fisichella was the race leader for five laps just past the halfway point of the race, as some cars pitted and some strategized to stay out.
The Risi Prancing Horse had to pit one additional time in order to satisfy the needed fuel to finish the race. The team elected to just do a 'splash-and-go' fuel stop only in just eight seconds and without a tire change 50 minutes from the race end and were back on track at approximately 12:25 p.m. EDT. In the end the lack of new tires did not play in their favor as well as the team had hoped and they had to settle for a Top Five instead of the desired victory or podium finish.
The Risi Competizione is now (unofficially) tied for fifth place in both the 2016 IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Driver and Team Championships after fourth of 11 races. The new Michelin GTLM 'Le Mans tires' that all the GTLM mid-engine teams used for the first time proved to suit the Ferraris well. The Houston, Texasbased Ferrari team is hopeful this will be a positive factor as the Risi team heads to Le Mans, France next month for the 24 Hours of Le Mans, June 18-19.
Rick Mayer, Risi Competizione Race Engineer:
“It was quite a race. We had a great pit stop. On the first full stop, we put Giancarlo out in front. Unfortunately, as the tires got old we seemed to suffer a bit more so we weren’t really able to push for a better position. Toni did a good job in his opening stint. Giancarlo was leading for awhile and we decided to pit early to make it to the end on fuel so we wouldn’t get caught up in a yellow. Obviously, if you had a crystal ball you would have waited, but that’s just how racing is. But we had a good race and we’ll rebound for the next one.”
Risi Competizione Friday and Post-Qualifying Notes at Long Beach Grand Prix - 16.4.2016
Long Beach, California (April 15, 2016)…
The Risi Competizione Ferrari team used Friday to get as prepared as any team can on the ever-changing streets of Long Beach, California in preparation for tomorrow's 100-minute BUBBA burger Sports Car Grand Prix, Round Three of the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship series, from 4:05-5:45 p.m. PDT.
Two hours of practice early this morning allowed both drivers to get refreshed with the circuit and the team to tweak the set-up derived from past data. This afternoon was another brief practice for 25 minutes, which went straight into GTLM qualifying for a short 15-minute session Giancarlo Fisichella took on the qualifying driver role of the No. 62 Risi Competizione Ferrari 488 GTE and qualified the car eighth, with a time of 1:18.282 at an average of 90.504 mph.
Rick Mayer, Risi Competizione Race Engineer:
“We rolled off the truck this morning with what we thought would be a good starting setup based on what we learned last year with the (Ferrari) 458. There are some differences, but they’re not huge. The track rubbered in this morning. We ended up relatively good before people put their third set of tires on. We used two sets. It seemed like we had a decent car and were running fourth and even up to third at one stage. We made very few changes because the track is changing so much it’s very difficult, much like chasing a moving target all the time. The session before qualifying wasn’t bad, but very low grip. We still thought we ended up okay, as far as the time goes. Then, in the qualifying, we really didn’t improve. That’s just the way it is sometimes. Giancarlo thought he didn’t do a perfect lap, he said he had some errors in each lap. He figured maybe a 1:17.9, that’s what the data showed, but still not anywhere where we wanted to be. Obviously, we have quite a few things to change, but this track is so difficult to setup for because you’re always chasing the track. If the drivers are comfortable with the car or not complaining excessively about the handling it makes it difficult to make adjustments or changes because you could just as easily go backwards as you could forwards. It’s always tough here, but hopefully IMSA will adjust a few things after this race for Laguna and we’ll have a more competitive car. It’s always an evolving process, but we’ll see where we end up.”
Toni Vilander, driver, No. 62 Ferrari 488 GTLM:
"I love racing here, but we are half a second slower than our car was doing here last year. We are down on power compared to our previous race car so I don’t know. Apart from that, this is a demanding track and is really bumpy and the grip level changes. Besides being frustrating, Giancarlo and I would love to be up there (on the timing charts) with the others. I don’t mean that we need to be P1 and half a second to everyone, but we would like to be up there and battling with those guys as we’ve done the last ten years. But now it’s a little bit too much of a gap to the others.”
Giancarlo Fisichella, driver, No. 62 Ferrari 488 GTLM:
“There is not a lot to say. We are certainly not as quick as we would like to be. I think we need a bit more power. I feel we are losing a lot in the straights. One second here is huge. I think it’s too much. It’s quite frustrating, but we will give it our best tomorrow. The team always has great strategy and pit work and hopefully we can have a good result.”
The Risi Competizione Team has six podium finishes in 10 entries over eight years at the 1.968-mile, 11-turn Long Beach street circuit. Fisichella finished second last year in the Risi Competizione Ferrari 458, alongside teammate Pierre Kaffer. Toni Vilander paired with Jaime Melo for a third-place finish in 2011 in the Ferrari 458, driving for Risi Competizone.
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