16.03.2006 - RISI COMPETIZIONE'S F430GT SETS THE FASTEST TIME DURING WEDNESDAY PRACTICE AT SEBRING - "WE ARE BANG ON COURSE FOR A VERY COMPETITIVE RACE" NOTES GIUSEPPE RISI Sebring, Florida - The GT2 cars hit the punishing, difficult track ...
16.03.2006 - RISI COMPETIZIONE'S F430GT SETS THE FASTEST TIME DURING WEDNESDAY PRACTICE AT SEBRING - "WE ARE BANG ON COURSE FOR A VERY COMPETITIVE RACE" NOTES GIUSEPPE RISI
Sebring, Florida - The GT2 cars hit the punishing, difficult track at Sebring yesterday and at the end of the first day of official practice ahead of Saturday's 12-Hour race, the brand-new Risi Competizione F430GT had turned in the fastest GT2 time, just ahead of the two Panoz Esperante GTLMs.
The #62 Risi Competizione Ferrari F430GT posted the fastest GT2 lap in 2:02.807 (108.463 mph) during the opening morning session at Sebring, a time that would remain completely unmatched all day. In the morning the F430GT was well ahead of the two Panoz entries who mustered a best time nearly nine-tenths of a second adrift (2:03.689) of the rapid Italian machine. However in the afternoon second session the tables were reversed, with the quicker of the two Panoz cars turning in a best time of 2:03.299, with the F430GT in third place after the crew of Ralf Kelleners, Jaime Melo and Anthony Lazzaro posted a 2:04.166 best time.
Commenting on the two sessions, Team Managing Director Giuseppe Risi noted that "We are pleased with the pace of the car so far. This is a whole new era for Risi Competizione as we race the new F430GT and welcome Jaime Melo, a Ferrari factory driver, to our team. The time we spent testing last week is now paying off. It certainly helps to have Jaime on-board as we sort the car out and, of course, Ralf and Anthony have done thousands of miles in the predecessor 360GT and 360GTC, so they have a terrific frame of reference."
Commenting on the speed of the two Panoz Esperante cars, Risi said that "GT2 has the potential to be the most competitive class in ALMS this year. Panoz is good. Porsche is good. BMW is in the hunt. Everyone is bringing their best to the series this year. We look forward to a very competitive Sebring and a terrific year of racing. I think the fans, sponsors, and the media are going to get a real show from GT2."
Discussing the difference between the morning and afternoon track times Chief Engineer Meyer Rick Mayer said that the team is continuing to test and experiment with setups for this tough track. "We know better with each lap we run exactly what the car is capable of doing," he added.
Risi Competizione, back at Sebring with a Ferrari after a one year absence spent in support of the Maserati Reparto Corse MC12 ALMS effort, has revamped every element of the program. The team is now back racing on Michelin tires, and has new sponsors in Boost, LP Italy and Putnam Leasing. "We enjoyed last year's experience with Maserati," Risi concluded, "But we did miss competing under the Risi Competizione banner. We still have a lot to do for this race and this season, but we're up for the challenge. Everyone is very positive about this race the coming season".