RISI COMPETIZIONE AIM FOR THE HEIGHTS OF UTAH After back-to-back street courses, the Risi Competizione Ferrari F430 GT and its drivers will be determined to make the most of the wide-open spaces, smooth surfaces and sweeping turns that make...
RISI COMPETIZIONE AIM FOR THE HEIGHTS OF UTAH
After back-to-back street courses, the Risi Competizione Ferrari F430 GT and its drivers will be determined to make the most of the wide-open spaces, smooth surfaces and sweeping turns that make up Miller Motorsports Park in Salt Lake City, Utah, round four of the ten-race American Le Mans Series. The 2 hour 45 minute race is the last ALMS race before the 24 Hours of Le Mans, so the Houston-based team will be hoping for a smooth run before the trip to Europe in June.
Currently sitting in second place in the points Championships, Jaime Melo and Pierre Kaffer are looking to build on the results of the season so far -- a dominant win at Sebring and an impressive second place at Long Beach, coming through from the back of the field.
The 3.048 mile, 15-turn circuit configuration which was used for the first time in 2008 is a combination of medium speed and long, moderately fast corners. This favors a stiffer set up and also suits the mid-engine cars such as the Ferrari as its weight distribution makes it more consistent throughout the corners.
It is another new track for German Pierre Kaffer to learn, but he will be able to benefit greatly from the experiences of his Brazilian team mate Jaime Melo who was the 2006 Utah Grand Prix GT2 winner.
Melo says of the track: "I like Salt Lake although I don't have good memories of that race from 2008. The last three times we've been there we've had a good car so I hope we can make an impact. Hopefully this year we can be quicker than ever. The short track we will be using isn't as technical as the long one, but it's still difficult to get reference points on the braking. That means it's challenging and I like that aspect because it is the driver who can make a difference.
"Tire wear will depend a lot on how hot it is, but this track is generally not so easy on tires. The altitude is a bit of a problem technically as things don't work as well, like the helmet coolers, and of course it affects power. The heat is always something we need to consider but, for me personally, I don't find it as much of a problem as maybe for others."
Commenting on the addition of the "challenge class" runners from the ALMS GT3 support series, Jaime says, "It's good to have them with us because it's more cars but, at the same time, it's not good because they may be faster than the GT2 cars on the straights! It's one more thing to think about -- not just the prototypes but the slower cars as well."