Risi Competizione Ferrari seeks repeat success at Road America


The historic and popular Road America road course in the heartland of America has been good to the Risi Competizione Ferrari team. The Elkhart Lake, Wisc. circuit has been the site of three victories and eight podiums in 12 years, several with two-car efforts. This year Risi Competizione returns for the 13th year and 19th effort for the Continental Road Race Showcase race, August 7, 2016.

The most recent victory for Risi Competizione was in 2014 in Giancarlo Fisichella's Road America debut, along with co-driver Pierre Kaffer, in the Ferrari 458 GT. Fisichella and Kaffer returned last year for a third-place finish. His current teammate, Toni Vilander, also has two races at Road America, a victory in 2011, also in the Ferrari 458 and fourth-place finish in 2006, both times with the well-known Houston, Texas-based Risi team.

This year Fisichella and Vilander are seeking what has been an elusive victory so far in the new Ferrari 488 GTLM during the 2016 International Motor Sport Association (IMSA) WeatherTech SportsCar Championship season. They came close after leading many laps last month at Lime Rock Park, but it was not to be. Hoping to add to the Risi Competizione/Road America history, the entire Rosso Corse team will be working hard to redeem their missed victory opportunity and allow Team Principal Giuseppe Risi to take home another trophy for the showcase.

The 4.048-mile, 14-turn road course also played host to a Risi Competizione victory in 2006 in the successful Ferrari 430 GT. Risi drivers dominated the podium in their first Road America race in 2000 when they fielded two Ferrari 333 SPs and came in second and third.


Rick Mayer, Risi Competizione Race Engineer:

Risi Competizione has had some successes at Road America - 3 victories and 8 podiums over 12 years (and 18 entries). What makes Road America a good track for Risi?
"In the past we've had good straight line speed. It's so hard to pass here; once you're in front it's hard to lose the spot if you can keep ahead on the main straights. Hopefully with the recent Balance of Performance (BoP), giving us more boost, we'll again be competitive on straight line speed."

We are back to a full field and all four classes (DP, PC, GTLM and GTD) and a longer circuit. What are your expectations for the race and with traffic there?
"Traffic typically isn't a big issue here. All the cars tend to spread out as the race progresses. In the past all the GTLMs have been in a group of their own."

Road America is a 4.048 mile, 14-turn circuit, the longest circuit on the schedule with many turns. Talk about the importance of setup, brakes and tires at this track.
"It's relatively hard on brakes mainly as they tend to over cool with the many long straights. The other issue the drivers need to be careful of is flat spotting front tires. The long straights cool the tires and the front braking grip isn't there as you lack front grip when the tires are cold. It's very easy to over drive on the braking events and lock the fronts."

Both Giancarlo and Toni have two races each at Road America and each has a victory (Toni in 2011 with Melo and Giancarlo in 2014 with Kaffer). How do you expect their knowledge of the circuit to help with setup and the race?
"It's a very long circuit, over two minutes a lap. Both drivers have raced here recently which will aid in getting a good setup quickly. Neither driver will get many laps with the three session each only 60 minutes long."


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

You have raced at Road America twice and won here in 2014. What do you think about the circuit layout and what do you remember most about that race?
"Road America is one of my favorite circuits. It's very challenging. I really like it. It has a few nice corners, up and down, and the 'Kink' is a nice corner. It is a complete circuit, a really, really nice circuit. Obviously I have great memories from when we won in 2014. Last year we did well also and finished on the podium. It's quite complete. I'm looking forward to the weekend and I'm sure we can do well."

Toni also has two races here and one victory. How do you think your combined history and Risi's many successes of 3 victories and 8 podiums will help?
"I think it will be a very good thing. I know the circuit very well, Toni too. We both won on this nice circuit. The team is perfect as usual. The car will be well prepared and I think the circuit is good for the Ferrari."

Road America is a 4.048 mile, 14-turn circuit, the longest circuit on the schedule and with many turns. How difficult is passing on this circuit and where would you say are the places to pass?
"There are a couple of areas, both are on the main straight, just after the start/finish line and at the end of braking on the downhill. You can overtake in the braking point. After the 'Kink' is another area, but a bit more difficult."

We are back to a full field and all four classes (DP, PC, GTLM and GTD) and at a longer circuit. What are your expectations for the race and with traffic there?
"When we are all together, traffic is a bit difficult. There are lots of cars - Prototype and GTs, but I know how to manage it, including when the Prototypes are coming behind."


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

You have raced at Road America twice and won here in 2011. What do you think about the circuit layout and what do you remember most about the race you won?
"It is a great circuit with long, fast laps. It's important to have good balance and a fast car on the straights."

Road America is a 4.048 mile, 14-turn circuit, the longest circuit on the schedule and with many turns. What's do you expect is going to be the most challenging part of this year's race?
"Hopefully we can match the top speed of the fastest GTLM cars."

We are back to a full field and all four classes (DP, PC, GTLM and GTD) and at a longer circuit. What are your expectations for the race and with traffic there?
"Traffic is the same old thing but the track layout definitely helps us."


Practice for the Continental Road Race Showcase begins on Friday, August 5 at 1:40 a.m. EDT for one hour and again in the late afternoon from 5:45-6:45 p.m. After another one-hour practice session on Saturday, qualifying will take place for just 15 minutes at 4:15 p.m. EDT. The 2hr40 minute WeatherTech race will start at 4:05 p.m. EDT on Sunday, August 7, after a 20-minute warm-up earlier Sunday morning. Live timing and scoring is available for all on-track sessions at IMSA.com and the IMSA Smartphone app.

Risi Competizione Press Release