The Risi Competizione Ferrari 488 GTLM team, with drivers Toni Vilander, Andrea Bertolini and Miguel Molina, returned to Road Atlanta this week for the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship's Motul Petit Le Mans race.
The 15-minute qualifying session for the 10-hour race was held this afternoon and the Ferrari team from Houston, Texas took the ninth qualifying position with a time of 1:17.774. Finnish driver Vilander qualified the popular red Ferrari, which is making its first appearance in the IMSA series since the 12 Hours of Sebring race this past March.
This year marks the 21st annual Petit Le Mans race, which started in 1998. Risi Competizione's history dates back to the inaugural Petit Le Mans, which they won with drivers Wayne Taylor, Eric van der Poele and Emmanuel Collard in the Doyle-Risi Ferrari 333 SP. The Houston, Texas-based team have a total of four victories, 10 podiums, and six poles in 23 entries over 17 years.
A field of 37 cars is expected to start tomorrow's Petit Le Mans race under sunny skies and a predicted high of 74 degrees F.
Toni Vilander, qualifying driver No. 62 Risi Competizione Ferrari 488 GTLM:
"It's difficult, I did the same lap time as last year when I received the pole and this year it is not good enough. Hopefully our race pace will be closer to the others. It's going to be a tough ten hours but the Risi crew always do a great job in the pits. We are going to fight hard as always, and try and fight at the end where it counts."
Miguel Molina, driver No. 62 Risi Competizione Ferrari 488 GTLM:
"First of all, I think it's a really nice experience for myself because it's the first time here at Petit Le Mans and here at Road Atlanta with Risi Competizione for GTLM class. So, I'm really happy to join this team and this race, the team has been really successful in the past here at Road Atlanta and Petit Le Mans. We hope to have a really smooth race tomorrow and we know the race will be decided at the last part of the night, so we need to be ready fight for a good result then. I want to say thank you to Mr. Risi and Ferrari for giving me the opportunity to be here and work with all the people in the team. I'm really happy and enjoying every moment here."
Andrea Bertolini, driver No. 62 Risi Competizione Ferrari 488 GTLM:
"We are ready for the race. It is always a pleasure to be back with my Risi family, my U.S. family. All of the guys are really amazing. They've worked very hard on the car with a really strong spirit and always happy to work and drive to improve the performance. With Toni and Miguel, we work very well to give more feedback to Rick (Mayer - Race Engineer) to try and improve the car. It will be a tough race just like always and with every Petit Le Mans race and like every race here with IMSA. We will see, Toni did a really good lap and drove very well, but we just don't have the performance. The teams pit work is always good, we just need to be there in the last three hours to fight for a good result."
Rick Mayer, Risi Competizione Race Engineer:
"Unfortunately, we're not very competitive this year. It's basically the same car and tires as last year and giving the same pace for us. The drivers are all fairly happy with the car and seem to be gelling okay. Everybody is happy with the seat, which took a bit of time. They are all familiar with the car and what it takes to perform well in a 10 hour race. We'll race hard and see if we can get a good result."
The Motul Petit Le Mans 10-hour race on Saturday begins at 11:05 a.m. ET after morning warm up from 8:30-8:50 a.m. Live timing and scoring is available for all on-track sessions at IMSA.com and the IMSA Smartphone app.
The race will begin with live television coverage on FS1 from 10:30 a.m.-12:00 p.m. and will continue on FS2 from 12:00-9:30 p.m. All times are Eastern. You can also listen to it on imsa.com or imsa.tv. The race will be streamed live in its entirety for international audiences on IMSA.tv and the IMSA Mobile App