RISI AIMS FOR CHAMPIONSHIP SUCCESS AT LAGUNA
Houston, TX, 16th October 2007. The Risi Competizione team, together with its Krohn Racing partner, now heads for one of the USA's most challenging road circuits -- the Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca -- for the final round of this year's American Le Mans Series.
Every team member is ready to play his or her part in the battle against their Porsche rivals for the GT2 Drivers' and Teams' Championship titles -- a competitive element of the Series which has captured the attention of racing fans around the world.
Risi is aiming to capture its second straight crown, while the hugely successful pairing of Jaime Melo and Mika Salo are looking to secure their first ALMS title. Also at stake is a first Manufacturers' Championship for Ferrari. Melo and Salo are currently leading Jorg Bergmeister and Johannes van Overbeek by 22 points, while Risi Competizione holds a 13 point advantage over the Flying Lizard Motorsports team.
"Once again, the GT2 Championship will come down to the final race at Laguna Seca," said Giuseppe Risi. "We have been talking all year about how competitive the GT2 series is in the American Le Mans Series, and this final race will prove it. All the other classes, LMP1, LMP2, and GT1 have already been decided but GT2 is still up for grabs. We will have our hands full with the Porsches, and it will take a full-on effort by both of our cars to have a chance at retaining the championship."
Built on a former US Army base, the 2.238 mile Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca is challenging for drivers and engineers alike, with its 11 turns and many ups and downs. The famous Corkscrew turn, a steep drop away over a blind 90-degree left-hand bend that immediately sweeps away to the right, is one of the highlights here, and is an awesome place to watch the drivers in action. The track is also notoriously slippery due to the sand surrounding the asphalt, which is often either blown on or brought onto the track by another car. A fast lap here takes every ounce of skill that a driver possesses.
With the rare-for-2007 advantage of having raced at the circuit before (for Risi in 2006), Mika Salo is looking forward to his return visit. "There are some tricky parts and some similar corners to some of the street circuits we've raced at this year. It's more difficult maybe to memorize than most of them because of the elevation changes, and also the low grip is an issue there. It was my first time at Laguna Seca last year. It was a beautiful track. It's a nice place, the whole area there. I really enjoyed it and we're just going to try to repeat the same thing this year and see how fast we can go there."
Competing alongside the championship contenders in the Krohn green Ferrari 430 GT are Tracy Krohn and Nic Jonsson. This is the fifth time that Krohn Racing has joined forces with Risi this year and, after the disappointment of not finishing the Petit Le Mans event due to oil pump failure, the duo are determined to put on a good show for Ferrari. Nic Jonsson feels that the Ferrari will show well in California.
"I think the Ferrari has shown to be very good on braking and good to put power down but Laguna Seca is a very low grip track. They actually resurfaced the track a few years ago and it's still very slippery because of the sand that blows across the track all the time. It's like polished asphalt and it's very slippery. I think though it should be a very good track for the Ferrari because the geometry on the car helps it get good traction. Even though we have traction control, the geometry and the set-up the engineers give us with the shocks and everything, should benefit us on that track."
Risi Competizione is a Houston, Texas based racing team sponsored by Boost/Motorola, Michelin, Forza2Motorsport, Putnam Leasing, Tessera, Freescale Semiconductors, Q Horsepower, Boardwalk Autogroup, Ferrari of Silicon Valley, and Ferrari of Houston.
The final round of the 2007 American Le Mans Series is the Monterey Sports Car Championships at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca. The four-hour race is scheduled for 2:30 p.m. PT on Saturday, October 20. SPEED will air the race live from 5:30 to 10 p.m. ET. Live coverage from American Le Mans Radio and IMSA Live Timing and Scoring will be available at americanlemans.com.