Risi Competizione is seeking its best finish since the 2003 race when it placed second overall in the GT class.
Daytona Beach, Florida – Risi Competizione returns to Daytona International Speedway to compete in the 53rd annual Rolex 24 At Daytona, January 24-25, 2015, with an all-star driver line-up. The GTLM class No.62 red Risi Competizione Ferrari F458 Italia will pair former Daytona 24 winner Olivier Beretta and top notch Ferrari development driver Davide Rigon, with season-long Risi drivers Giancarlo Fisichella and Pierre Kaffer.
Risi Competizione is seeking its best finish since the 2003 race when it placed second overall in the GT class. The No.62 Ferrari F458 Italia seeks redemption from last year's early retirement after a massive accident and hopes to be one of two GTLM Ferraris to cross the finish line on top this year.
Giancarlo Fisichella, driver, No. 62 Ferrari F458 Italia
You've raced around the world, what makes Daytona special? "It's a special race because it is a very important race that is 24 hours and it is something unique. There is much history and every time I come here there is a fantastic atmosphere from the fans and they are wonderful. I like this kind of race because there are so many different cars and it is very challenging."
Having been a Ferrari driver for many years, how does it feel to represent a brand so important to your home country in a key global race like the Daytona 24 Hour? "To be a Ferrari factory driver is a dream for maybe all the drivers around the world and especially for an Italian driver like me. Since when I was young, I dreamed of being a Formula One driver and to be a Ferrari Racing factory driver. I have been with them since 2009 and it is really great and I am looking forward to being with them in the future. It would be nice to win here with Ferrari."
What do you like best about the Daytona Speedway circuit and the Rolex 24 race itself and what are the most challenging aspects? "I like the ceremony and the hour before the race with all the cars on pit lane the most. During the night obviously you have to have great concentration. With the traffic and how slippery the track is, it is very challenging and easy to make mistakes."
Pierre Kaffer, driver, No. 62 Ferrari F458 Italia
You're an endurance sports car champion, tell us about being back at Daytona this year and what are the important factors to win an endurance race? "Well, it is always nice to be back here. It is one of the unique and special races for any driver to partake in this race. For me what could be better than to be back at Risi Competizone? This is my second home and I have driven for them since 2009 and we have achieved some great results winning Le Mans, Sebring, and Petit LeMans. I really enjoy being with Risi and I think we are a strong combination with Giancarlo, Olivier, and Davide. Since 2004, I have started with endurance races and am really looking forward to be a part of this race, team, and being back in the Ferrari."
You have won several endurance races at Le Mans, Sebring and Petit Le Mans but not yet at Daytona. How would you feel if you were able to add a victory at the Rolex 24 at Daytona to your resume? "It would be mega for me. I have never won here and it would be one spot I would like to achieve in my career. Daytona is one of the special races and it would be awesome to win here."
What do you like best about the Daytona Speedway circuit and the Rolex 24 race itself and what are the most challenging aspects? "You never race this kind of banking on any other race tracks and it is always special to drive this with the amount of banking. I think the most challenging thing is the track because the infield is very narrow and with all the traffic around you, you have to always be patient and focused. It is important to never lose your concentration otherwise it is very easy to crash the car. To manage the traffic with high speeds especially on turn one is not so easy."
Davide Rigon, driver, No. 62 Ferrari F458 Italia
The GTLM field is very competitive here at the Rolex 24. As a Ferrari specialist, what does it take to keep the car out front and ultimately on the podium? "It will be a long race but we are well prepared. We did a lot of meetings to prepare all of the staff. We are really focused now and don't think too much about it. I would like to see how it goes at practice. It looks like the weather will be strange, especially when we start on Saturday. We will try to keep the car in the first position until the last three hours and then be very aggressive."
What do you like best about the Daytona Speedway circuit and the Rolex 24 race itself and what are the most challenging aspects? "When you come here for the first time the banking is really something special. When you drive the corners it is something amazing. Especially with cold tires you don't know what you have to do and with warm tires you feel some strange things and I like it. You need to be very good on breaking after the long straightaway and don't lose the breaking point. You need to go out of the corner before the long straightway as quick as possible. During the race you need to stay away from the other cars and it will be a lot of traffic with a lot of fast and slow cars and you have to pay attention to that."
Olivier Beretta, driver, No. 62 Ferrari F458 Italia
You're a former winner here at the Rolex24 in 2000. Tell us what it's going to take to cross the finish line out on top again? "It was a wonderful memory at that time to win overall with a GT, that was fantastic in the year 2000. Today I am with Risi in a Ferrari for my third Daytona with them and we are here to win the race like everyone. The mechanics have worked really hard to prepare the car and we have a really good line-up that will push very hard."
Endurance sports car racing takes a special kind of driver. How do you manage sharing a car with different drivers and making it all work? "Well, it's endurance, period. I have been in endurance racing many years and driven with many factory teams and teammates so this is the base of endurance. Sharing the car, especially when there is a really nice line-up like in Risi with Giancarolo, Pierre, and Davide, I think at the end we are competitive and want to be fast. We work together and this is important for the team and the driver."
What do you like best about the Daytona Speedway circuit and the Rolex 24 race itself and what are the most challenging aspects? "It is a special place and is a huge name with the banking and it's an exciting race at night. It's something special and very difficult to compare to other tracks. When you are kid, you already know the name, so one day if you race there with Ferrari and you win, you know you are the best."
Every single lap is different. You have to race for 24 hours and go through the traffic, pit stop issues, the night and fighting with the other competitors. There really is not something in particular that makes something special it is the whole race, track and atmosphere. This is the first race of the racing season and it's 24 hours and you have to be very alert."
Practice session one begins Thursday morning, January 22, with GTLM class qualifying scheduled for 4:25 p.m. EST. The race starts Saturday, January 24 at 2:10 p.m. EDT. Live timing and scoring is available for all on-track sessions at IMSA.com and the IMSA Smartphone app.