FROM LE MANS TO LIME ROCK: RISI COMPETIZIONE It's tempting to think that when the checkered flag falls on a race, it signals the chance to head for home, rest and relaxation. If you've been fortunate enough to win, it might also get you the...
FROM LE MANS TO LIME ROCK: RISI COMPETIZIONE
It's tempting to think that when the checkered flag falls on a race, it signals the chance to head for home, rest and relaxation. If you've been fortunate enough to win, it might also get you the right to party a bit and celebrate a job well done.
Risi Competizione, like its fellow American Le Mans Series competitors, enjoyed no such luxury after the 24 Hours of Le Mans - despite scooping the coveted winners' trophies for the GT2 class. Jaime Melo, Mika Salo and their endurance teammate Gianmaria Bruni enjoyed a quick beer with their team on Sunday night but they were long gone when the task of packing up began.
Team Manager, Dave 'Beaky' Sims, together with expert motorsport freight agents First Air, organized the mammoth task of moving a race team the 7,932 miles from one side of the Atlantic to the other.
Sims: "On Monday morning the team packed up the two race cars plus seven tons of freight in 25 cases. The trucks to take all the gear were lined up in the pit lane at Le Mans ready for their own race against the clock.
"Once fully loaded, they were driven back to Heathrow Airport in the UK from where the two cars and all the equipment were transported by Virgin Atlantic Cargo to Orlando, Fla. We sent our two race transporters to Orlando to pick up the cars, and they came back to Houston in convoy with the freight trucks carrying the spares and equipment. It all got back to the shop in Houston on Saturday, June 21.
"The team flew home on Tuesday, June 17 so at least they had a couple of days' recovery time before the freight arrived and the turnaround for Lime Rock began."
As soon as everything was unpacked, work began immediately to prep the cars for the Lime Rock race, and to prepare enough spares and parts to cover both that and the Mid-Ohio race. The target date for the transporters to leave was Sunday, July 6 with the team following on two days later. The winning No. 82 car was converted back to the No. 62 car that it is in the American Le Mans Series and was in great shape after its 2,700 miles of racing. It has had a more or less standard chassis rebuild, with engine and gearbox changes and the different setup that the compact, mostly right turn, Lime Rock track requires.
The damaged No. 83 car, which unfortunately had to retire after the first hour of the race, will be repaired, renewed and reborn. As No. 61, the red Ferrari F430 will be run in the Series by Harrison Brix and Patrick Friesacher.
"The Risi team has put in the most incredible amount of work over the last five weeks or so," says Sims. "Repairing accident-damaged cars in minimal time, prepping for the longest race we do plus Lime Rock, and for much of the time being away from home. I can't praise them highly enough for the job they've done, the way they all pulled together to help each other out, and of course for the No. 82's race result."