Risi Competizione, victors in the highly competitive GT2 category at the recent 24 Hours of Le Mans, is looking to continue its winning ways on its return to the American Le Mans Series at this weekend's forthcoming fifth round at Lime Rock...
Risi Competizione, victors in the highly competitive GT2 category at the recent 24 Hours of Le Mans, is looking to continue its winning ways on its return to the American Le Mans Series at this weekend's forthcoming fifth round at Lime Rock Park in North West Connecticut.
Risi's brilliant Brazilian, Jaime Melo, together with its fiery Finn, Mika Salo, drove a superbly judged race in France -- helped along by an equally faultless performance from endurance team made Gianmaria Bruni -- to lay at rest all the demons that had haunted them in the opening months of the 2008 ALMS season.
While the wet European weather is likely to be replaced by extremely high New York temperatures, the same 'no risk' approach is being adopted by the #62 car's driving talent for the 1.51 mile course as they had for the 8.5 mile Le Mans circuit.
"It's very different, for sure", says Melo. "It's a very short track and, compared to last year, it will be different because of the new pavement and the layout. We will probably start with the same car as last year but maybe need to make some changes...we won't know really until we get there. It will be really hard because of the traffic but Mika and I have talked and we know the best thing will be to stay out of trouble. If we can do that, we will finish in a good position.
"Winning at Le Mans was good for me personally and for the whole team. Not just winning, but bringing about a change in luck from what we've had in the season so far. Hopefully we can keep this same motivation and approach to winning going until the end of the year. Even if we can't win the championship, we aim to win as much as we can from now on."
Returning to the driving seat in the #63 car after the long break since Salt Lake City will be California's Harrison Brix and Patrick Friesacher. The fresh-faced Austrian has been keeping busy testing the new A1 Grand Prix car which has been produced for the open-wheel series by Ferrari, while Brix had a trip to France to break up the weeks of racing inactivity. He wasn't just a spectator either...the team put him to work as a driver change assistant for the 24 Hours on the Krohn Racing crewed car and it gave the young American a new perspective on sports car racing.
"Le Mans was a spectacular event," he enthused. "I thought it was going to be big but I didn't realise exactly how huge it is until I got there. It's easy to see why it's considered so special and why lots of drivers use Le Mans as a major career milestone. It was fantastic to watch the Risi team do so well, and hopefully next year one of my personal goals will be to race there.
"It's been a long break since Utah but fortunately it's winding down quite quickly now. I've been running my go kart and just trying to stay as ready as I possibly can. One thing I've learnt is that it's very hard when you go to a race and are just observing! I've never raced at Lime Rock before but I've done a bit of research and talked to a few people who've raced there for years. Having said that, a lot of what people know about the track might not apply any longer because of the new pavement and maybe the new layout. It will be quirky for sure."