Team makes the short journey from Houston base to COTA.
Fresh from two victories and a second place in the last three rounds of the TUDOR United Sportscar Championship, Risi Competizione now makes the short journey from its Houston base to the Texan state capital of Austin. The Lone Star Le Mans race, the 10th round for the GTLM category, takes place on Saturday, September 20 at 11:35am.
Italy’s Giancarlo Fisichella, who last time out made the move of the race at VIR to take overall victory in the GLTM/GTD only event, will once again be paired with his German team mate Pierre Kaffer in the No.62 Ferrari 458 Italia. The duo has formed a very successful partnership since the drivers’ first event together at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca in May this year.
The Circuit of The Americas (COTA) is Risi Competizione’s home race, not only because of the proximity of Houston but also because Giuseppe Risi, the team’s owner and Principal, is also President and CEO of Ferrari of Austin. With many customers, families and friends due to be present, Risi is looking to put on a good show for all.
Even with the four classes running together and a significant total of 51 entries, car count will not play as big a role here on the longer 3.4 mile circuit. COTA is quite wide and has ample straits where passing slower traffic will be easier than on street or tighter, permanent circuits. It has a good, smooth track surface – as you’d expect from a fairly new track – and has good run off areas. The recently issued IMSA Adjustment of Performance gives the Ferrari 458 a slightly smaller air restrictor than before (-0.3mm) plus other adjustments for GLTM competitors which, on this occasion, will include a third factory Porsche.
Lap times will be around 2m05 for GTLM so use of practice time will be important. However, with both drivers having competed at COTA before (last year in the FIA WEC race) and a very successful recent test at the track, Risi Competizione is approaching this event in a stronger position than at some other rounds this year.
Fierce battle predicted
As Championship titles start coming into play, this will likely be another fierce GTLM battle with the Porsches, BMWs, Vipers and Corvettes all having something to prove after the last three rounds.
Giancarlo Fisichella, who raced at COTA last year in a Ferrari 458 Italia, commented: “I really like the track, especially the first part of it, and came second there last year with the FIA WEC. Using the data gathered at our recent COTA test will be very helpful for us going into the weekend.
“When you start to win, you go to the track very strong mentally – not just the drivers but the whole team. The mechanics have done a really fantastic job in the last few races and now everyone else can see the results as well as them – that’s a good feeling.”
Pierre Kaffer added: “Everything went well at the test and we received good feedback and some good data to use so cross fingers that we will straight away be in the right direction for the race. COTA is one of my favorite new generation tracks and it’s fun to drive. It will be the first time I’ll race there in a GT car as last year I was in an LMP2 but it won’t be much different. I’m looking forward to having more than 50 cars on track again, and to more success!”
The United Sportscar Championship will be running alongside the FIA World Endurance Championship this weekend in what is due to be a festival of racing and entertainment for fans in Texas and beyond. The FIA WEC’s 6 Hours of Circuit of the Americas takes place from 5pm and into the night, hence the early start for the TUDOR race.
Three hours of practice take place on Thursday and Friday, with qualifying on Friday afternoon. The Lone Star Le Mans for the TUDOR United SportsCar Championship race takes place at Circuit of The Americas, Austin TX on Saturday, September 20 beginning at 11:35 am. The 2h45 minute race will be for all four classes.