The Risi Competizione Ferrari Team drove a flawless race right into Winner's Circle today at the 22nd annual Petit Le Mans at Road Atlanta.
James Calado started from the pole position after setting a new qualifying track record in the extremely competitive GTLM class and was also the closing driver in the near perfect effort by the popular Risi Competizione team. The Houston, Texas-based team beat the No. 67 Ford GT by a margin of victory of 7.795 seconds.
Calado and teammates, Alessandro Pier Guidi and Daniel Serra, this year's 24 Hours of Le Mans GTE-Pro winners, were proud to also be victorious at Petit Le Mans in the same year. All three drivers counted today's victory as their second International Motor Sports Association (IMSA) career win.
This was Calado's second Petit Le Mans victory, both with Risi, with the previous one coming in 2016, which was the last victory for Risi Competizione. Serra also was a two-time Petit winner, having won last year in the GT Daytona (GTD) class. Today's victory was Pier Guidi's first Petit Le Mans victory.
Calado set the fastest lap for the team on Lap 427 with a time of 1:16.673 at 119.259 average miles per hour as he was charging hard and working to keep the Ford in his mirrors.
Rick Mayer, Risi Competizione Race Engineer:
"What a race! It was not without drama for sure. When you have a good car in practice it doesn't always translate into the race, but in this case, we had a pretty good car for the race. It was a good car in the evening; where we wanted it to be also.
"All the drivers did a stellar job; they are so professional and that takes pressure off the team to have such a talented driver line-up. James did an especially great job at the end to hold off the Ford at finish. We're really happy for Ferrari and particularly happy for Giuseppe because it's been so long since we've won a race."
James Calado, driver, No. 62 Ferrari 488 GTLM:
"It was just the most emotional feeling in the world (winning the race). Something came out of me that I've never had before. I knew Ford would push; it was their last race. It was Ferrari versus Ford and that's what it's about.
"Thanks to the team for an amazing car. The line-up was incredible and our result, it was a hard race. We kind of came into the race at a pace unknown. We had a serious blistering of the tires so we were hoping that the temperatures would come down. They did, and it helped. The car was amazing at the end and what driving and what a team! It's an incredible achievement.
"This is a proper driver's track, so it was great to win here again. I've only raced here twice and won both times. We keep getting better and better. We're all getting older but still better. I'm in it in every lap still and I just look forward to more of this in the future."
Alessandro Pier Guidi, driver, No. 62 Ferrari 488 GTLM:
"This is awesome, I cannot describe it. I'm so happy and we worked so hard. Risi did it and I want to thank Giuseppe Risi and Risi Competizione first of all, and Ferrari for giving us a great car and great support.
"I think together with James and Ale, I think we are strong. We've won two Le Mans in one year, the big Le Mans and the small Le Mans, so it's great. Let's see what goes on for the future."
Daniel Serra, driver, No. 62 Ferrari 488 GTLM:
"I have no words. At first, we won Le Mans and now Petit Le Mans in the same year. I think I could never imagine something like this and it's my first time with Risi. It's such a passionate team. Everyone is passionate for their job. So, it's so nice to do this for them and it's so nice for us as well."