RISI LOOKING TO CONTINUE ROAD AMERICA MOMENTUM TO BALTIMORE
Houston, Texas, August 25, 2011. Buoyed by its first win of the 2011 season with the new Ferrari 458 Italia, the Pennzoil-supported Risi Competizione team now heads towards another first – the inaugural Baltimore Grand Prix on the streets of Baltimore, Maryland.
From the trees and lakes of Wisconsin, the American Le Mans Series now turns its attention to the brick and steel of Oriole Park at Camden Yards, the original retro-look ball park. The one-time railroad center forms the backing to pit row for the 2-mile, 12-turn temporary street circuit, and is and only 2 blocks from the birthplace of baseball's most legendary hero, George Herman "Babe" Ruth.
Sharing the billing once again with the IZOD IndyCar Series, the seventh round of the ALMS will be a two-hour sprint race starting at 4:30pm on Saturday, September 3. With four different winners in the ever-competitive GT class from the last four rounds of the series, and a brand new track to contend with, it would take a brave person to predict the outcome of the event.
Risi Competizione’s Race Engineer and Technical Director, Mark Schomann, has – together with all the Ferrari’s competitors – been studying the layout of the Baltimore Grand Prix track. “I think Google Earth has been the most used application by any ALMS engineer recently!” said Schomann, who has been using Motorola's latest Xoom tablet at every available opportunity to help him imprint the track’s layout to memory.
“The challenges would appear to be different types of pavement, patches and track surfaces and the selection of the right gearing for the F458. When you’ve been to a track before you are usually on the nail with it first time out, or maybe just a tooth or two off, but this is very much the unknown. We have studied the track layout in detail to get an idea of the radius of corners and distances and that, together with our knowledge of similar track environments such as Long Beach, helps with set up as well as gearing.”
Schomann continues, “We don’t have much track time here at Baltimore, just two hours of practice before qualifying, so we hope we’ve got it right. We also need to have a clean run in practice to take every advantage of all the laps we can. I anticipate a potential accident ‘hot-spot’ for the field will be leaving pit lane, as you are entering the track at quite a fast area but we’ll have a spotter there to help us. On a practical level the pits are the other side of the track from the paddock and a long way from start/finish so we’ll have to be extremely organised in our planning.”