Risi renew efforts for Mosport
Risi Competizione heads this week to the Mobil 1 Grand Prix of Mosport in Ontario, Canada, the scene of considerable success for the team with three wins and two second place finishes in the last five years.
As Risi has seen at first hand, however, the fast and challenging Mosport track can catch out even the most experienced of competitors with its short runoff areas relative to the speed of corners. At 2.459 miles (3.96 kilometres) long, the historic Canadian circuit is one of the fastest in the American Le Mans Series, and while its ten corners are demanding they are also deeply enjoyable for nearly every driver.
In 2010, Finland’s Toni Vilander drove a superbly judged race to take the No. 62 Pennzoil Ultra sponsored Ferrari F430 GTC from the back of the starting grid to second place in the manufacturer-led GT class. He, together with team mate Jaime Melo, will be hoping for a trouble-free weekend at Mosport after electronic issues on the all-new-for-2011 Ferrari 458 Italia cut short their charge at Lime Rock Park in Connecticut.
Vilander acknowledges that Mosport requires some compromise in terms of car set up: “You want to have a perfect race car, like at every track, but to do a single quick lap here is one thing and to have a good, fast race car is another. Mosport is a track I enjoy - maybe it suits my driving style – and it’s very smooth and fast with lots of high speed corners. You have to be smooth with the steering wheel and throttle at the same time and it’s the sort of place that, if you get a fast lap which flows well, it makes you feel really good!
“The main things we have to think about are the tires, as the circuit is demanding on tires, and set up. We’ve tested with Michelin in Italy and are now able to use the experience of the races so far this year to make good steps forward. Most important is that we need good, dry practices and a decent qualifying session so we can start up with our competitors.”
The fourth round of the 2011 American Le Mans Series will feature 35 entries – 17 of which are from the GT class. Of those, aside from the expected, close-run challenge from BMW, Corvette and Porsche, Vilander expects the Ford GTs to present a particular type of challenge.
“The Ford GT is amazingly quick on the straits. Although the Ferrari feels like one of the quickest through the corners, it’s a hard battle on the straits. They just pull away from you in the braking points which can make it difficult sometimes if you find yourself behind them. A quick car will get through in the end, but we have to be patient...something I’ve learnt at bit about recently!”