vendredi 8 juillet 2016

Risi Competizione chases GTLM success at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park


Round 7 of the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, Round 6 for the GTLM class, will bring the No. 62 Risi Competizione Ferrari Team north of the border to the Canadian Tire Motorsport Park (CTMP) in Bowmanville, Ontario, Canada.

The Mobil 1 SportsCar Grand Prix, Sunday, July 10, will feature all four IMSA WeatherTech classes (Daytona Prototype (DP), Prototype Challenge (PC), GT Le Mans (GTLM) and GT Daytona (GTD) for a 2 hour and 40-minute sprint race.

Risi Competizione drivers Giancarlo Fisichella and Toni Vilander will pair once again, after a recent sixth place finish at Watkins Glen, New York last weekend and second-place finish in the 24 Hours of Le Mans in France in mid-June.

The Canadian Tire Motorsports Park (sometimes referred to as ‘Mosport’) is a short but fast 2.46-mile, 10-turn, natural terrain permanent road course near Toronto, Canada.

The Houston, Texas-based Risi Competizione Team has a rich history at CTMP that includes three (3) class victories (2006, 2007, and 2008), nine (9) podiums, and four (4) pole positions. Having first competed at the historic circuit in 1998, the Risi Team has had 17 entries in 13 events spanning three race series (TUDOR, ALMS, IMSA). This will be the Risi’s 14th year to return to CTMP.

Finnish driver Toni Vilander has a successful history at CTMP with three secondplace finishes in three races (2006, 2010, 2011). Those were in three separate Ferrari models (the 360, 430 and 458). Italian Giancarlo Fisichella will be making his third appearance at the circuit, with his past entries in 2014 and 2015 in the Ferrari 458 with Risi Competizione.

Rick Mayer, Risi Competizione Race Engineer: 

IMSA has changed the Balance of Performance (BoP) for the GTLM class since Watkins Glen. Please share your thoughts about that.

There needed to be an ‘emergency’ adjustment. The Fords showed some additional speed at Watkins, a departure from their (comparative) pre-Le Mans IMSA pace. The BoP process is a very difficult one to get correct and we applaud IMSA for identifying the issue and making changes. The changes are in the correct direction regarding the Ford. We’ll see if it’s enough…

This year’s race has all four IMSA WeatherTech classes racing together again. How does that change the dynamic on a relatively short track like Mosport? 

Traffic, traffic, traffic…it will be difficult to pass. The GTDs add a lot of Pro-Am content and they’re as fast as the GTLMs on the back straight. Expect some additional cautions. Pit work and strategy could play a larger role.

What’s the most important thing to get setup correctly for the Canadian Tire Motorsport Park circuit? 

With these short races pit work is super important. It’s so difficult to pass here, track position is very significant. Straight speed is important for passing, as the main spot is into Turn 8 (end of straight). Unfortunately, straight speed isn’t our current strong point.

The season is at the halfway point, what does the Risi team need to do to be in the hunt for the year-end championship? 

A lot of luck! IMSA’s point system makes it very difficult to move up. You only have to start the race to get full points and the difference in points between each position is very small. We’d need to start winning races and others need some poor finishes. It’s not out of the question but the odds are not in our favor.


Giancarlo Fisichella, driver, No. 62 Ferrari 488 GTLM: 

You have competed at Mosport the past two years. How do you like the circuit and what’s the most challenging part of it? 

It’s a good circuit, very challenging. There are lots of high speed corners. It’s quite difficult and you need a good car in the corners. Obviously having oversteering is bad so if you lose the car you can do a lot of damage. It is important to have a good setup on the car so we need to set up and find our program, including resolving the pit stop fueling problem. The past couple of years were not good results for us but Risi has a good history here. There have been some BoP changes but for everybody, so I’m not sure if it’s enough for the needed equalization. We will try to do our best to get on the podium.

This year’s race has all four IMSA WeatherTech classes racing together again. How does that change the dynamic on a relatively short track like Mosport? 

It will be very difficult with traffic all around the circuit with all the classes together. It will be tough but it’s the same for everybody.

The season is at the halfway point, what does the Risi team need to do to be in the hunt for the year-end championship? 

We need obviously equal BoP for all the different makes. Apart from the pit stop fueling problem we had at Watkins Glen we always have good pit stops and this is important to continue. The Risi mechanics did an excellent job on pit stop, very quick. We have good potential with the car to do more but it depends on how the BoP works. 

Canadian race fans are known for their passion for motorsports. Have you ever experienced this first hand? If so, in what ways? 

Absolutely! I remember the experiences from F1 year ago with seeing red everywhere around the circuit. There are many Italians in Canada and lots of passion for motorsport and Ferrari. Having many fans will be extra good for us. It’s really great when there are lots of fans cheering for you and I’m looking forward to it.

Toni Vilander, driver, No. 62 Ferrari 488 GTLM: 

You’ve had some real success at Mosport with three podiums in three races…what have been the factors in your successes here? 

I think the track has suited our race car well in the past. I also liked the track since the first time and have three podium here, all in Ferraris. 

You have competed in three different Ferrari models at Mosport, the 360, 430 and 458. How do you think the Ferrari 488 will be at this circuit? 

I have a history of competing here only with Ferraris and they have given good results. The 488 will be good in corners, and fairly slow in acceleration and straight line because of the current BoP. 

Canadian race fans are known for their passion for motorsports. Have you ever experienced this first hand? If so, in what ways? 

There are always good crowds in Canada and really passionate fans. The race fans always bring you pictures from previous years to be signed at the autograph sessions and things like that which make you know they know their racing history.

Risi Competizione Press Release

Photos: Ferrari Media