Risi Competizione Sebring test 2006-03-14

Risi Competizione are now into the second week of intensive track testing and development at Sebring with the brand new Ferrari F430GT, as they prepare to take part in the 12 Hours of Sebring this coming Saturday. During a press briefing at the...

Risi Competizione are now into the second week of intensive track testing and development at Sebring with the brand new Ferrari F430GT, as they prepare to take part in the 12 Hours of Sebring this coming Saturday.

During a press briefing at the 76th Geneva International Motor Show earlier this month team owner Giuseppe Risi was able to officially confirm that Risi Competizione's driver line-up for the 12 Hours of Sebring will see Ralf Kelleners, being joined by Jaime Melo and Anthony Lazzaro.

Lazzaro has returned to the team to rekindle a partnership with Kelleners that brought much success when the pair first raced together for Risi Competizione during the 2003-04 ALMS seasons. They are being joined at Sebring by 25-year-old Brazilian Jaime Melo who is currently one of international sportscar racing's hottest properties, and securing his services has been something of a coup for the Houston-based racing team. As Ferrari was closely involved in negotiating his race seat his arrival is a clear demonstration of Maranello's commitment to Risi Competizione's 2006 ALMS programme.

"I'm really delighted with our driver line-up for Sebring," commented Giuseppe Risi at the Geneva Motor Show, "We know Ralf and Anthony very well from their time with us driving the 360 Modena. Both are real racers, blisteringly quick but importantly they always bring the car home safely. Jaime comes highly recommended and his career so far backs up that reputation. I think we have got a very strong set of drivers to give us the best shot at GT2 victory in Sebring," he added.

Last Monday Lazzaro and Kelleners took to the track at Sebring, undertaking a programme that involved shaking down the new Ferrari F430GT, acquainting themselves with the new racer, conducting system checks, and working on tyre analysis. Immediately 'quick out of the box' the whole team were very impressed by the speed of the new car which bodes well for their forthcoming assault on the legendary 12 hour race. During the course of last week a full development programme got underway, and testing resumed yesterday as final preparations for Saturday's race continue to gather pace.

Jaime Melo and Anthony Lazzaro complete the driver line-up for Sebring

Jaime Melo, from Cascavel in Brazil, began his career in South American Formula 3 before moving to Europe and stepping up to the première single- seater F3000 category. He won the Euro F3000 series title in 2003, and also tested a Williams F1 car, before he switched disciplines to sportscars where he has piloted the GT2 class Ferrari 360 GTC and the GT1 class Ferrari 575 GTC in the last two years, experiences that will serve him well for this new challenge.

Anthony Lazzaro, a 42-years-old from Acworth in Georgia, is a highly experienced open-wheel and sportscar racer who competed in the ALMS series with Risi Competizione during the 2003-04 seasons. He arrived in ALMS after a couple of years spent in the Indy Racng League, and has most recently raced in NASCAR. He counts a GT2 class victory in the 24 Hours of Daytona amongst his career highlights.

All systems go at Risi Competizione

It has been a hectic last few weeks at Houston, Texas-based Risi Competizione. The brand-new Ferrari F430GT only arrived by airfreight from Italy a fortnight ago, and with just a couple of 'workshop' days before the team was scheduled to set off for Sebring there was very little time to work on the car. "We only had time to carry out initial systems checks on the new car and make some preparation for the track testing programme," comments Risi Competizione's Chief Engineer Rick Mayer. "However after just a first glance this car appeared to be something special, a real racer in the Ferrari mould. We should really be able to take the fight to Porsche in GT2 this year." The team's transporter departed for Sebring on Saturday 4th March with the new F430GT and equipment on board, while the crew members flew out the following day.

The team is now taking part in official testing which began on 6th March at Sebring, and they will work on the new car right through to the official practice sessions which start on Wednesday, 15th (tomorrow) & Thursday, 16th; and qualifying on Friday 17th March. The 12 Hours of Sebring takes place on Saturday 18th March.

LP Italy announces The Stratosphere® "Competizione" watch has been chosen as the official timepiece of the Risi Competizione Ferrari F430GT for the 2006 American Le Mans Series.

Designed by renowned Italian watch designer, Lorenzo Pozzan, The Stratosphere Watch Collection, from LP Italy is as distinctive and unforgettable as it is sleek and modern. The Stratosphere watch is LP Italy's most innovative watch to date - Italian designed and Swiss made, this timepiece is so uniquely different it had to be patented.

With only two machines in the world capable of cutting a case of this size and shape, the high-tech Stratosphere is the first three-dimensional watch in history. Each piece is meticulously handcrafted, adhering to the most rigorous of timekeeping standards.

The Italian designed "Competizione" boasts a Swiss movement, and an Italian stainless steel case, featuring a hand set diamond bezel. The striking red dual time zone face is complemented by an Italian black leather strap with matching red stitching.

Winner of the prestigious JCK 2005 award for "Most Innovative Design", the Stratosphere "Competizione" is unlike any other watch in the market place today. Featuring a curved case that resembles the speedometer of a sports car, this unconventional watch is both daring and beautiful, making it the perfect choice as the official time piece of the Risi Competizione Ferrari F430GT.

Risi Competizione

One of the world's top teams in sportscar and endurance racing, Risi Competizione most recently raced its own Ferrari 360GT in the ALMS GT2 class. The team also has had superb results running the famous Ferrari 333SP, winning its class at Le Mans, overall winner of the Petite Le Mans, and World Sports Car champion.

In 2002, a Risi managed and prepared team consisting of two Lola-Nissans, which completed a perfect season, winning the SRPII Grand American Championship with 10 wins, 10 poles, and 10 fastest laps. The team also won its class at the 24 Hours of Daytona and was placed third overall. Risi Competizione's 360GT was on the podium for every race it entered in 2002, and won the IMSA trophy for the best private team in ALMS. It kicked off the next year with second overall at the Rolex 24 Hours of Daytona. In 2005, the team provided logistical support for the Maserati Reparto Corse MC12 campaign in the ALMS series.

Ferrari of Houston also provide technical, racing, and logistical support for selected clients who are taking part in the North American Ferrari Challenge; and the Ferrari of Houston team have produced more Championship Challenge drivers' than any other team in North America. At the end of the Challenge Season, drivers are invited to the World Championships which are staged in Italy at one of the famous tracks.


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About this article
Series ALMS
Drivers Ralf Kelleners , Anthony Lazzaro , Jaime Melo
Teams Williams , Risi Competizione