Risi Competizione will enter the 2018 IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship season with a two-car team for the upcoming Rolex 24 At Daytona, January 25-28.
The Daytona entries consist of the No. 62 Ferrari 488 GTLM (Grand Touring Le Mans class) with Toni Vilander of Finland, Brit James Calado and Italian Alessandro Pier Guidi. For the upcoming Roar Before the 24 Test Days, January 5-7, Pier Guidi will be the only driver on hand to do the testing chores for the GTLM team entry.
The No. 82 Ferrari 488 GT3-spec GTD (Grand Touring Daytona class) entry encompasses four drivers for the race: Spaniard Miguel Molina and a trio of Mexican drivers, including Martin Fuentes, Santiago Creel and Ricardo Perez de Lara, all run under the Risi Competizione flagship, based out of Houston, Texas.
Last season was an interesting one for the fan favorite Risi Competizione team, who captured five podiums in seven IMSA races last season, including a third-place finish at the 24-hours of Daytona race in the No. 62 GTLM Prancing Horse.
2018 marks the start of the third year of competition for the beautiful Ferrari 488, which made its debut just prior to the 2016 running of the Rolex 24 At Daytona. The team finished sixth at Daytona and closed the season with a victory at Petit Le Mans that year.
The GTLM Risi entry of Ferrari factory drivers comes with impressive statistics behind the three pilots. Vilander has driven full-time with Risi Competizione for the past two seasons, paired with Giancarlo Fisichella, with good results (one victory, two podium, six Top Five finishes in IMSA, in the incredibly competitive class, as well as a second-place finish in the 24 Hours of Le Mans). Additionally, Vilander, who is a two-time 24 Hours of Le Mans winner, won the 2017 running of the Bathurst 12 Hour race in a Ferrari 488 GT3
Both Calado and Pier Guidi secured the World Endurance Championship (WEC) GT drivers' world championship as Ferrari teammates at the end of the season last year. They are both making their second drive for Giuseppe Risi with Calado having previously driven to victory at Petit Le Mans 2016 and Pier Guidi driven to third-place at last year's Petit finale and both with Vilander and Fisichella.
Spanish driver Miguel Molina, who became a Ferrari factory GT driver in March 2017, will be part of the Risi Competizione GTD class entry, along with three other Spanish-speaking drivers from Mexico, Martin Fuentes, Santiago Creel and Ricardo Perez de Lara.
This will be Molina's inaugural Rolex 24 but he's quite comfortable with endurance racing, having competed a full season in WEC last year, including the 24 Hours of Le Mans and winning the Gulf 12 Hours race in mid-December.
Martin Fuentes has achieved success in the Ferrari 488 with Scuderia Corse in the Trofeo Pirelli North American series, finishing in the Top Four in 2017 and winning the Pirelli World Challenge series GTA class driver's championship in 2016. He started his racing career in go karting in 2005 before advancing to race cars.
Ricardo Perez de Lara joins the Risi GTD team after several years of competition with Ferrari of Houston's Ferrari Challenge team, including winning the championship in 2014. His racing start commenced in single seaters in the late 1990s, where he won F2 and F3 championships. He's had a diverse racing background that also include NASCAR Mexico, Clio Cup, Super Copa Telcel, Porsche GT3 Cup USA and even Freightliner truck racing. He previously competed at the Rolex 24 in 2016 in an Aston Martin.
Santiago Creel is making his first appearance in the Ferrari 488 GTD, although he's competed in the previous two Rolex 24 races at Daytona. He's spent the previous seven years in the Porsche GT3 Cup, first in Mexico and then the U.S. and advanced to the Porsche Mobil 1 Supercup the past two season.