Houston, TX, 25th September 2007. American Le Mans Series GT2 class leaders, Risi Competizione, will be looking to continue their current winning streak and go all out to clinch a second, consecutive Championship title with a win in the...
Houston, TX, 25th September 2007. American Le Mans Series GT2 class leaders, Risi Competizione, will be looking to continue their current winning streak and go all out to clinch a second, consecutive Championship title with a win in the forthcoming Petit Le Mans race at Road Atlanta on Saturday, 6th October.
The team, who will be re-united with their fellow Houston-based racing partner Krohn Racing for the last two rounds of the 2007 series, currently lead the Drivers', Manufacturers' and Teams' points tables and victory is very much the purpose in mind for all within the Risi Competizione team.
While drivers Mika Salo and Jaime Melo have a greater points margin (36 points) over their nearest rivals, thanks to three consecutive class victories at Road America, Mosport and Detroit, the Manufacturers' title chase is more tightly poised with Ferrari holding a lead of 24 points over Porsche. Risi are currently heading the Flying Lizards Team by 27 points in the Teams' classification. The 1,000 mile or 10 Hour (whichever comes first) race offers a maximum of 26 points to the winners in each category.
The highly successful pairing of Salo and Melo, GT2 winners at 7 of this year's 10 rounds to date, will be reunited in car 62 with their regular endurance driving partner, Johnny Mowlem, who has been busy since his last outing with the team at the 24 Hours of Le Mans driving a Ferrari 430 in the International GT Open series in Europe.
The Briton finished second overall in last year's Petit Le Mans in a Zytek prototype, and will be able to offer a great deal of Road Atlanta experience to his team mates, neither of whom have raced here before. The lack of track knowledge is, however, no impediment to either the Finn or the Brazilian who have been quick to find their feet at each new circuit they've visited this year, with Melo setting new qualifying records no fewer than five times.
"I've been told it's a lovely track," said Melo. "And one that I think I will like as it's fast with different types of corners. Hopefully I will learn the track very quickly, like I have all the new tracks we have visited. We will test there on Saturday and Sunday (29th/30th September) and use that time to set up the car for the race. We want a car that is easy to drive for all three drivers. I'm looking forward to it and the target is obviously to win to get the championship done. It won't be easy as Porsche want to win as well, but we have a good package, the car and drivers are in good shape, so we should do well".
The three Krohn Racing drivers entered in car 61, as a result of the special five-race racing relationship between Risi and Krohn Racing, have between them a wide range of skill and experience both of the Ferrari 430 GT and the Road Atlanta track. Regular Krohn Racing team mates Tracy W Krohn and Nic Jonsson will be joined for this event by a name familiar to both the Ferrari marque and the American Le Mans Series. ALMS GT2 race winner (and Le Mans GT1 victor) Darren Turner, 33, is very much looking forward to driving at Road Atlanta again, especially after winning Petit Le Mans' GT1 class last year, and can't wait to meet his new team mates.
Tracy W Krohn, of Houston, Texas, is team owner/driver of the two-car Krohn Racing Daytona Prototype team in the Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series. The team recently finished 4th overall in the 2007 standings, with Krohn himself honored with the Jim Trueman Award as top independent driver in the Daytona Prototype class. While the tall Texan has enjoyed finishes in the Risi-prepared Ferrari in the Sebring and Houston rounds of the American Le Mans Series so far this year, the highlight was undoubtedly the fine 2nd place in class at the 24 Hours of Le Mans gained by him, Colin Braun and Nic Jonsson.
The Swede, who is now based in Buford, Ga., is eager to be back behind the wheel at his home track. "I am very excited to be back at Road Atlanta," said Jonsson. "It will be a great experience to drive the Ferrari 430 GT for Risi Competizione and Krohn Racing, especially with all the success this year at Le Mans and with the Risi Competizione team. I am glad to be able to drive at my home track and think it will be an advantage to be able to sleep in my own bed and eat home cooking during race week. It will be great to be able to team up with Tracy Krohn and Darren Turner, and we should have a good run. Tracy has really picked up speed with the Ferrari and knows the track well through the Panoz School, and Darren has plenty of experience with both the car and the track. We hope to have a good result."
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 4-litre, V8-engined Ferrari 430 GT, built by Michelotto on behalf of Ferrari and race-prepared by Risi Competizione in their Houston premises, will be taking to the newly re-paved 2.54 mile, 12-turn Road Atlanta track for a two day test on 29th-30th September. Official testing for Petit Le Mans begins on Wednesday, 3rd October, with night practice on Thursday, 4th and qualifying on Friday, 5th.
The 10th running of Petit Le Mans, the annual 1,000-mile/10-hour endurance classic at Road Atlanta, will take place on Saturday, 6th October. The start is scheduled for 11:15 am ET. SPEED will provide live coverage from 11 a.m. to 1 pm and again from 6:30 to 10 pm. American Le Mans Radio and IMSA's Live Timing and Scoring will be available at www.americanlemans.com.