Risi Competizione looking for GTLM win in Sebring

Risi Competizione looking for GTLM win in Sebring

The Risi Competizione Ferrari Team from Houston, Texas has set its sights on entering their name a fourth time in the Sebring history books.

The iconic once-around-the-clock endurance race will celebrate its 66th running of the 12 Hours of Sebring, motorsports' annual Spring rite of passage. The 66th Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring Presented by Advance Auto Parts will take place March 15-17 in the otherwise sleepy town of Sebring, Florida.

Three of Risi Competizione's Rolex 24 At Daytona drivers, Finn Toni Vilander, Italian Alessandro Pier Guidi and England's James Calado, all Ferrari GT factory drivers, will drive the fan-favorite Rosso Corsa red Ferrari 458 GTLM.


The trio, along with Italian Davide Rigon, finished fifth in class at this year's Rolex 24 At Daytona. A top-five finish at such a gruelling race would normally please a team but when the top step of the podium is the ultimate goal, a Top Five will not do. The Risi team hopes to rectify that at Sebring.

The No. 62 Risi Competizione Ferrari 488 GTLM, sponsored by Effex Management Solutions, will be one of nine GTLM cars in the 43-car field of the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship race at the 17-turn, 3.74-mile legendary road course.

Risi Competizione has competed at Sebring with 22 entries over 16 years (two-car teams in 1999, 2003, 2007, 2008, 2009 and 2010). They have also competed every year since 2003, except for 2012.

The race starts at 10:40 a.m. ET on Saturday, March 17 and runs for 12 hours. WeatherTech series' practice sessions take place Thursday and Friday and a 15-minute qualifying for each class is scheduled for Friday afternoon.

QUOTES:
Toni Vilander, driver No. 62 Risi Competizione Ferrari 488 GTLM:
This will be your fifth time competing at the 12 Hours of Sebring. What makes the Sebring race so special? How difficult is it to drive with the 17 corners and all the pavement changes, not to mention the lack of lighting?
"There is no other track like Sebring. It is so demanding."

You, James and Giancarlo finished third last year in the Risi Competizione Ferrari 488 GTLM at Sebring. What will it take this year to reach the top step?
"It will be tough. We don't have the fastest car and maybe like in Daytona we won't have many full course yellows. We need a good race and some luck."

Risi has a strong history of success at Sebring three victories over the years. What about the Risi team creates the successes it achieves?
"Over the years the GTLM class has changed a lot. Many strong manufacturers have entered the championship. The game has changed, and the level is super high. We just need to do our best. I don't know how much we take from the past. Not much for sure."

The GTLM competition is as strong as ever in 2018. How do you expect the Ferrari GTLM to fare against the other cars in the class? Who is going to be the most difficult competition in your opinion?
"For us the toughest parts are where you go full throttle. We would need more boost (power) to be evenly completive. I'm disappointed there wasn't a BoP change after Daytona. We are also still carrying +15kg we got in the end of last season which I still feel was undeserved. But regardless we'll do our best and hope for some luck. It's a long race, a lot can happen."

Do you have any special stories or memories about Sebring you can share - inside or outside the cockpit?
"Last year was really cool race finish as James Calado did super long stints in the car and managed to get third on the last lap. That was awesome!"

 Alessandro Pier Guidi, driver No. 62 Risi Competizione Ferrari 488 GTLM:
You're back with the Risi team...and with Toni and James...after a fifth-place finish at the Daytona season opener. What stands out the most to you about the Rolex 24 At Daytona race?
"I'm very happy to race again with Risi Competizione, it's always a great pleasure. With Toni and James, I think we have a great line up and we can fight with everyone. The fifth place in Daytona wasn't what we expected but this is motorsport. We suffered some issue that compromised our result but anyway we've shown we had the speed to be on the podium."

This will be your second race at Sebring (and first with Risi), having raced in 2016 with Scuderia Corse. What do you think about the circuit? What is your favorite corner and which is the most challenging?
"The circuit is really nice and challenging. Physically speaking it's really demanding with a lot of bump. My favorite corner is corner 17, very bumpy, blind and quite fast, a proper corner where a driver can do the difference."

Risi has a strong history of success at Sebring three victories and eight podiums over the years. You've driven with the Risi Competizione team many times now. What makes this team different and so successful?
"I know the history of Risi's and it's great!! Working with the team you can understand how much everyone is prepared and all the people involved love what they do and accel at it. The attention to detail is amazing. They care for every single detail. That makes the difference between a normal team and a very successful team like Risi."

The GTLM competition is as strong as ever in 2018. How do you expect the Ferrari GTLM to fare against the other cars in the class? Who is going to be the most difficult competition in your opinion?
"Of course, I expect strong competition in GTLM like always in this category. Ferrari can fight with everyone but to be honest with this BoP Ford has an advantage compared to the rest of the field. If nothing changes Ford probably will be the stronger car like they already showed in Daytona, but I can't forget Corvette which won the last two Sebring's. And Porsches pace at the end of last year's race was impressive. We'll do our best and hope for some luck."

James Calado, driver No. 62 Risi Competizione Ferrari 488 GTLM:
You're back with the Risi team...and with Toni and Alessandro ...after a fifth-place finish at the Daytona season opener. What stands out the most to you about the Rolex 24 At Daytona race?
"It was disappointing to be honest. I think we were really unlucky with mechanical issues which set us back a lot, however we weren't quick enough to compete with the competition. Hopefully we can fit hard without issues at Sebring."

This will be your second race at Sebring having been on the podium in third-place last year with Toni and Giancarlo in the Risi Ferrari. What do you think about the circuit? What is your favorite corner and which is the most challenging?
"It's certainly a driver's track and very challenging as it's bumpy in places. You have old school concrete corners, Turn 17 for example, where to be fast you need to be brave. It's a fine line between hooking it up and going in the wall."
Would you list Sebring on the list of tracks you like or tracks you don't much care for? And why?
"I like it because it's one of the old school circuits which has a lot of history. I like tracks with not much run off, the more danger the better for me."
Risi has a strong history of success at Sebring three victories and eight podiums over the years. You've driven with the Risi Competizione team many times now. What makes this team different and so successful?
"They are very professional in their approach. The car is well prepped, and I think they always have good driver line ups."
The GTLM competition is as strong as ever in 2018. How do you expect the Ferrari GTLM to fare against the other cars in the class? Who is going to be the most difficult competition in your opinion?
"I think it's going to be a difficult weekend with the current balance of performance. Last year we weren't as quick as Ford or Porsche, it could be different this year, but it seems they have found some speed and we are very similar to 2017. We will be positive however and look forward to it."
Tune-In Information:
Qualifying will be broadcast on IMSA.tv on Friday, March 16 from 12:30-1:35 p.m. ET, with GTLM qualifying being from 12:55-1:10 p.m. ET.

The first two hours of the 12 Hours of Sebring race will air live on FOX Sports 1 in the U.S. Then catch coverage from 12:30-3:40 p.m. ET on FOX Sports 2. FOX Sports GO app will cover the race from 3:40-6:00 p.m. ET. Watch live through the checkered flag from 6:00-11:00 p.m. ET on FOX Sports 2.

The entire race will be streamed live on FSGO with FS1 authentication. Fans can also listen in with audio commentary via IMSA.com, RadioLeMans.com and Sirius XM Radio and follow the race live with in-car cameras, IMSA Radio and timing and scoring available worldwide on IMSA.com and the IMSA App.