vendredi 6 janvier 2017

World class line-up for Risi Competizione in Rolex 24 at Daytona



Risi Competizione kicks off the New Year at the Roar Before the 24, the pre-race test event for all Rolex 24 Hours of Daytona entrants, on January 6-8, 2017. The pairing of drivers Giancarlo Fisichella and Toni Vilander return for the Rolex 24 and are joined by James Calado in the Ferrari 488 GTLM for the season's inaugural Daytona race. Off the back of an impressive win at last year's final event, Petit Le Mans, the three return to the team determined to collect the one global sports car victory that has eluded the Risi Competizione team.

Last year the team received delivery of its brand new Ferrari 488 just days prior to the 54th running of the Rolex 24 Hours of Daytona and managed a sixth-place finish in the highly competitive GTLM class. This year the team start the year with a full season of successful racing behind them with the Ferrari 488 including a win, three podiums and seven top-five finishes.

Having run at IMSA's manufacturer's two-day test in December, the Risi team will be using the upcoming Roar Before the 24 to perfect their set up for the best performance and make sure they are well-prepared ahead of the twice-around-the-clock enduro at the end of the month.


Rick Mayer, Risi Competizione Race Engineer:

What are your goals for the ROAR Before the 24?

There is limited track time at the race event later this month. You never know what the weather will do for race week. We have the time to get Giancarlo and James comfortable with the car and back in 'race mode' after the break between Petit and the ROAR. Toni just completed the mandatory manufacturer's two-day test in December, so we don't need to run too many laps in the 14 hours of available track time. We'll try and put 'polish' on race related items; drivers' changes, radio communication, pit work, etc.

How does the competition look to stack up in the GTLM class this year in IMSA? 

Every car/manufacture will be fast and capable of winning the race.No team/car/manufacturer is trying to go fast from a fear of a balance of performance change against them. We really won't know the competitions true pace until a few hours into the race. We'll have to wait and see how the balance of performance is set for the race.

What's new for 2017?

"No changes to the proven seasoned Risi Competizione crew. No changes to the F488 GTLM car or car systems for Daytona. This is the same spec car we raced at Petit. There are no endurance concerns for any component. All the GTLM cars are running this year on the same spec of Michelin tires we finishing the year with, or what they chose at the Michelin test in October. This is a different spec of tire than we raced at Daytona with last year but the same spec tires we all tested on in last month's December test.

You'll have Toni, Giancarlo and James back together again for the Rolex 24. Their last race together was the victory at Petit. How strong do you think the pairing of the three drivers is for a difficult race like the Rolex 24?

It has to be one of the best, if not the best, driver pairings in the field. They all know how to win long endurance races. They get along well on and off track; such a key component. They are all quick, focused, know the car and Daytona and work well in the Risi environment. You can't ask for more than that.


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

Welcome back to Risi Competizione as you prepare for the Rolex 24 this week. What have you been doing since your victory at the season finale at Petit?

After Petit, the last IMSA race of season, I raced at Vallelunga for the 6 Hours and we won. I also went to the last couple of F1 championship races. Since November until now I was a bit free. I did some training and went on holiday for the new year and Christmas to Zanzibar with my family, which was nice. I continue to do training, as usual, to keep fit. The season is starting soon with the Rolex 24 at Daytona the end of January. I'm looking forward to it and with Toni and James. I'm really looking forward to the same Risi Team. We had such a fantastic end of season last year so I would like to start again with another great result. We have a good crew and car and drivers so I'm very happy for this.

What are your goals for the Roar Test at Daytona this week?

The goal is obviously to run a lot. We want to get lots of data, try to find the best set up for the race weekend, try some different materials, springs, develop the right downforce for the race, turn lots of laps, see the tire behavior, etc. for consistency, and generally prepare well for the race.

How well do you think you work with Toni and James and what are you hoping to achieve for the Rolex 24?

It's been great with Toni all season together last year. Toni's a nice guy, a really professional driver. We developed a good friendship and he speaks good Italian. We did one race together with James together last year and we won -- at Petit Le Mans. He's really great driver. He had a fantastic race with us, with not one mistake. I'm looking forward to having him with us again for the Rolex 24 and maybe more.

How does the competition look to stack up in the GTLM class this year in IMSA?

It will be very tough. Corvette is very strong, and Ford as well, and BMW. There is a new Porsche for 2017 and it will be good to see how it does. All the best manufacturers are in this category, so we will be fighting. It will be quite tough!


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

Welcome back to Risi Competizione as you prepare for the Rolex 24 this week. What have you been doing since your victory at the season finale at Petit?

Not much. I have been relaxing with my family and training. We had the Ferrari World finals in Daytona and we did the IMSA test. It was good to have a little break. I'm ready to go now.

What are your goals for the Roar Test at Daytona this week?

Just to be in the car again. We will do the test schedule planned by Rick and we go from there.

How well do you think you work with Giancarlo and James and what are you hoping to achieve for the Rolex 24?

We have a very good driver line up. I would love to win this race and if we get a trouble-free run, everything is possible.

How does the competition look to stack up in the GTLM class this year in IMSA?

GTLM is very tight and tough. There are strong race cars with best crews in the world. It will be difficult!


James Calado, driver, No. 62 Ferrari 488 GTLM:

Welcome back to Risi Competizione. What were your thoughts when you were asked to join the Risi Competizione team again for the Rolex 24?

Well firstly I would like to thank Risi Competizione and Ferrari for giving me the opportunity to come back and race for the second time. It's great to know the team have confidence in me after our great result in Road Atlanta. I am really looking forward to working with everyone again and of course we will be fighting for another win.

I believe last year was your first Rolex 24. What did you learn from then that you will take with you into the Test this weekend and into the race the end of the month?

Last year's Rolex 24 was certainly an experience. Unfortunately, we retired with mechanical problems. It's an extremely long race and very demanding on the car. I learned that we need to preserve the car, the race really opens up towards the end and obviously we need the car in good condition to be able compete for a good result. I think the key is to stay out of trouble, maintain concentration and stay out of trouble.

How well do you think you work with Giancarlo and Toni?

Both drivers have huge amounts of talent. Both on and off the track. We worked well together in Atlanta and they really helped me get up to speed. I will take their advice and experience on board and we will see how it goes. We have fairly similar feedback with regards to the car set up, so this helps a lot going forward.

What are your goals for the Roar Test at Daytona?

The main goal is to check the car is running well and set up properly for the race itself. We will see where we need to improve compared to our competitors and see what we can do to maximize our performance ready for the race. We will play around with different set ups and see where we are by the end. I think it's important we maximize the time available and concentrate on some race running and getting used to managing the traffic as best as possible. We know last years' winners will be strong, so it will be interesting.

Risi Competizione Press Release