Houston, TX -- February 25, 2008. Continuity and consistency are the key themes central to Risi Competizione's attack on the 2008 American Le Mans Series which opens with the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring presented by Fresh from Florida on...
Houston, TX -- February 25, 2008. Continuity and consistency are the key themes central to Risi Competizione's attack on the 2008 American Le Mans Series which opens with the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring presented by Fresh from Florida on March 12-15.
The Championship-winning team will be fielding two Ferrari 430 GTs, cars 61 and 62, in what promises to be the most competitive and challenging GT2 season to date. At Sebring - plus the Lone Star Grand Prix, round four of the ALMS, at Houston and the 24 Hours of Le Mans - Risi Competizione will once again be renewing its racing relationship with Krohn Racing, also headquartered in Houston, Texas.
"Krohn Racing's participation with our program in 2007 was very rewarding for everyone," said Team Principal Giuseppe Risi. "They certainly had a successful first season with Ferrari, taking second at the 24 Hours of Le Mans--a very considerable achievement by any standard. This year, with more experience in the car and in the ALMS series, we expect them to be even more successful."
At the very heart of the team are reigning GT2 Driver Champions, Jaime Melo and Mika Salo, who will be starting their third season of racing (second full season) with Risi Competizione. The duo last year delivered the most thrilling and closest finish in the history of the Sebring classic, a victory they aim to repeat in 2008 but with a little more margin than the 0.202 seconds that was between their no. 62 Risi Ferrari and the second-placed Porsche 911 of Flying Lizard Motorsports.
Melo and Salo will be joined at Sebring by Ferrari regular, Gianmaria Bruni -- himself no stranger to the team. The 26-year-old Italian competed for Risi in four rounds of the 2007 American Le Mans Series, qualifying on GT2 pole in Detroit and taking two podium finishes.
The trio will present a formidable line up, but the level of competition from amongst other Ferrari runners and Porsches is expected to be equally strong.
Mika Salo said: "We have three drivers who all know the team and the car well, and we are all quick so I know we can do well. Our car is reliable and well prepared by the Risi team so we [three] will just drive and do our best. I think this year's race will be just as hard as last year; there are a few more Ferraris but that's a good thing. Winning is fun, but winning great races like Sebring is even more fun! We will race to win everywhere this year; we start the year as champions and have the same team as last year so our opposition have to be a lot stronger than us to beat us."
Another key element in the continuity theme is the team's racing relationship with Krohn Racing, the highlight of which was the second place GT2 finish by the Risi Competizione prepared, Krohn green Ferrari at the 2007 24 Hours of Le Mans.
Tracy Krohn, Nic Jonsson and Eric van der Poele, all full-season drivers in the 2008 Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series, will be looking for a strong finish in the 12-hour season-opener. Swedish-born and Buford, Georgia-based Jonsson has been Krohn's team mate since he started racing six years ago and both he and the highly experienced Belgian, van der Poele, have a wealth of experience from which Krohn can draw upon.
Tracy Krohn said of his renewed association with Risi: "Giuseppe Risi has a first class and a 'first in class' organization. His crews have been with him for a long time and there has been very little turnover. These are all the things you look for in a quality organization. My schedule does not allow for a full time effort in both series so we have aligned ourselves with what we think is an excellent race team and a quality individual leader in Giuseppe Risi!
"I'm pleased to be coming back to Sebring with Nic, and of course with Eric. He and Nic have similar driving styles in that they are both very focused on the end result and both extremely good with their input and setup for the cars. It is a pleasure and very much an advantage for me to be able to drive with both of them. Their assistance and coaching has proven to be a big factor in my performance. I feel very relaxed this year and ready for the season, due in large measure to the fact that I know my team mates are making a huge difference in the team and my performance."