Risi confident for Rolex 24 despite late start

Team's newly completed Ferrari 488 GTE "should be competitive" at Daytona, says Risi Competizione race engineer.

Risi confident for Rolex 24 despite late start
Risi Competizione Ferrari 488 GTLM unveil
Risi Competizione Ferrari 488 GTLM unveil
Pierre Kaffer, Davide Rigon, Giancarlo Fisichella, Olivier Beretta
Toni Vilander, AF Corse
Risi Competizione Ferrari 488 GTLM unveil
Risi Competizione Ferrari 488 GTLM unveil

The pictures you see here are Risi Competizione’s new Ferrari 488 GTE which will be racing in the 53rd Rolex 24 at Daytona in two weeks, but which missed last week’s Roar before the 24 test.

Risi’s first test with the 3.9-liter twin-turbo 488, which replaces the normally-aspirated 4.5-liter 458 Italia in IMSA’s GT Le Mans class, will be a shakedown at Fiorano next Monday.

Nonetheless, the team’s race engineer Rick Mayer is confident that its full-time 2016 IMSA drivers Giancarlo Fisichella and Toni Vilander, along with their co-drivers for Daytona, Olivier Beretta and Davide Rigon, can run at the front of the GT Le Mans class in the Rolex 24.

Said Mayer: “All the new GTLM cars looked good at the test and the two Ferrari 488s [of Scuderia Corsa and SMP Racing] ran competitive times and the drivers were happy with the general pace and balance.

“We paid close attention to what testing the two cars did and will have a start setup derived from what was collectively learned at the Roar. We don’t see setup as an issue. We should be in reasonable shape.”

Risi’s 488 GTE was completed today at Michelotto Automobili in Italy, and following its Fiorano shakedown, it will be flown to the USA for delivery to Miami later next week. There the Risi transporter will pick it up for transportation to Daytona International Speedway.

Although the schedule is tight, Mayer is confident that the experience of Risi’s drivers will pay off.

“We are lucky all the drivers have seat time in the car in GTLM spec,” he observed, “so they are all familiar with the cockpit and controls. Also, all the drivers have driven for this team recently, so that’s very much in our favor.

“We are looking forward to the start of race week at Daytona and we should be competitive.”

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