Pierre Kaffer and Giancarlo Fisichella and Andrea Bertolini finished in second place in the GTLM class.
Sebring, Florida - The No. 62 Risi Competizione Ferrari F458 Italia team started from the fifth position in the GTLM class and overcame overheating issues to collect their first podium of the 2015 IMSA TUDOR United SportsCar Championship season.
Qualifying driver Pierre Kaffer and Italian teammates Giancarlo Fisichella and Andrea Bertolini drove a steady pace all race but had to deal with tire management and overheating issues before they coaxed their red across the finish line. They finished in second place in the GTLM class and 11th overall for the 63rd Annual Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring presented by Fresh from Florida race, Round 2 of the 2015 IMSA TUDOR United SportsCar Championship Series.
Claiming the runner-up position on the podium
Tire management and an overheating car were key factors the Risi Competizione team had to deal with throughout the 12-hour race on the 3.74-mile, 17-turn historic circuit. Claiming the runner-up position on the podium was a pleasant surprise for the Houston, Texas-based Ferrari team.
The Risi team was awarded an extra bonus for their near flawless and diligent pit stops, the DEKRA Green Challenge Award, given to the team who exhibits the cleanest, fastest and most efficient pit stop performance.
Pierre Kaffer, qualifying driver, No. 62 Ferrari F458 Italia: "The race was not so easy for us from the beginning on. We had difficulties with the heat and our engine temperature was harsh on our car after about 8 hours we were on the limit and we don't know why. It was very difficult to bring out the lap times to stay away from the Falken (team). We had a pretty good car when the temperature dropped. Thanks to the crew they did an awesome job in the pits. They tried their best with the engine. In my cockpit all the lights were on and it was like a Christmas tree. Thanks to my teammates Giancarlo and Andrea they did a very good job today.
All together, I think we deserve to be second. This is now the second race that we have had some technical issues. I am really crossing my fingers that for the rest of the season this will be gone and I'm really looking forward to Long Beach. It is really nice to be a part of Risi Competizione and to drive for Ferrari and Giuseppe. We finished second today because we are such a patient team that sticks together and never gives up. That's how a team should be and when you have a difficult time like this race you can see how strong this team is."
Giuseppe Risi, Risi Competizione Team Owner: "I thought we would have had first (place), but Giancarlo had to come in and stop. If we had stayed out another seven laps we would have been able to stay out front. We had an issue with the engine for several rounds of the race where the engine was so hot and we had to short shift and be real, real sweet to the engine. We could not use everything we've got, which is a real testament to what a Ferrari engine can do. This is a real testament of vehicle, engine and, of course, a hell of a team!"
Andrea Bertolini, driver, No. 62 Ferrari F458 Italia: "First of all, when you finish second, you are not completely happy, but at least I think we have a lot to be proud of as a team. We had a really amazing race. In my first double stint, I saw the alarm for water temperature and it was still eight hours still to go. The car is really strong and Pierre and Giancarlo performed really well. I am here to give them support for the Championship. Right now, I'm really happy to see the face of all the team guys and Giuseppe, and see how happy they are at the end of this race and see them so pleased. This is really a top team and I am so proud for these guys."
Giancarlo Fisichella, driver, No. 62 Ferrari F458 Italia: "The race was a great result, considering the problem we had today and especially the last six hours. The water temperature was too high so we were running with low revs and loosing performance. The guys did a fantastic job with the pit stops and all the drivers did a fantastic job, as well. The car was a bit unpredictable, but in the end the Ferrari brought us to a great result."
Rick Mayer, Risi Competizione Race Engineer: "The race began fairly well, and then we started running into some issues. We had a very high water temperature for about the last four hours that we were battling. We had to actually run an extra rich MAP which didn't allow us to run a fuel strategy at the end, which didn't allow us to make it on one stop at the end like the Corvette did. We had to run risk to cool the motor and short-shift for the last several hours. The drivers had to really be on their game and short-shift and try to get the lap time in while watching the water temperature. We're not sure what the problem was, but it wasn't something we could diagnose or fix easily so we're glad to have the second place."
Dave Sims, team manager, No. 62 Risi Competizione Ferrari F458 Italia: "The DEKRA Green Challenge Award all about efficiency with the pit stops, fuel consumption and the amount of time you're in the pits. Basically, if you spend a lot of time in the pits, you're never ever going to win the reward. Your stops have to be fast and quick, so the less time you spend with every pit stop, the better it is. It's down to the crew and the engineering on the fuel consumption, as well. They have a meter on the fuel tanks and it registers how much you put in and how much fuel you use within the 12 hours. We won because we obviously used less than anybody else, which is a good thing."