Ferrari team ready for tough battle at Road Atlanta.
The final round of the 2014 TUDOR United Sportscar Championship, Petit Le Mans, is just days away and the Houston-based, privately-owned Risi Competizione team can’t wait for the action to get started.
Just six points away from third place in the GTLM Team’s points’ standings, the opportunity to finish just behind two top-class, two-car factory teams in the final classifications was but a dream at the beginning of the season. Risi Competizione has come a long way since the disastrous opening two rounds of 2014. The target will be to claim that third place in both the Teams’ and Manufacturers title race.
The team’s No.62 Ferrari 458 Italia will once again be in the extremely capable hands of Giancarlo Fisichella and Pierre Kaffer, and the GTLM winners of the Road America and VIR rounds have both been previous victors at Petit Le Mans. At Road Atlanta’s flagship event, the Italian-German duo will be joined by Ferrari’s Olivier Beretta, the very experienced and successful Monégasque driver a four-time winner in Georgia.
Team Principal, Giuseppe Risi, said of the coming week: “We are delighted to welcome back Olivier to the team, and we are confident that his pace and experience at Road Atlanta will be of great benefit to us. With Petit Le Mans this year being a 10-hour instead of 1,000 mile race, we need a strong, 3-driver line up and that is what we now have.”
Road Atlanta a favorite
Risi Competizione has a storied history at the 2.54 mile Road Atlanta track and it’s a favorite for the team and drivers. Favorites tend to be ones where success has been experienced, and with three wins and five further podiums in the event’s 16-year history this is no exception.
It’s a fast layout with a variety of different types of corners which is technically challenging for both drivers and engineers, and very satisfying when you get it right, as Giancarlo Fisichella remembers. The Italian won Petit Le Mans with AF Corse in 2011 and says, “Road Atlanta is one of my favorite tracks and I’m really looking forward to going back. We have a good package at Risi, with the Ferrari 458 and Michelin tires, and we have a very good crew so I think this year we can do well here. Looking at Risi’s results in the past, I think this track will suit the Ferrari better than COTA and we will be competitive – last year Risi was good here and unlucky not to win. We will try and change that to finish the season in a very positive way.”
Fisichella’s teammate since Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca in May has been Pierre Kaffer, himself a former two-time winner of Petit Le Mans (with Risi Competizione in 2009). “For me Petit has always been a good event, no matter which car I am driving, if I am with Risi Competizione or someone else. I have a lot of positive thoughts in my mind for it. As we have seen at COTA and our other races, the boys are awesome in the pits and I think that’s our biggest strength going into a 10-hour race. It’s great to be a part of such a nice team, and I hope we can finish the season in the best way for everyone.”
The next round of the TUDOR United Sportscar Championship will be the 10-hour Petit Le Mans event at Road Atlanta on Saturday, 4th October. The final race of the 2014 season will begin at 11:15 ET.