A Race Engineer's Perspective
Rick Mayer, race engineer of the Risi Competizione No. 82 Ferrari 488 GTE-Pro Le Mans race team, reflects on his thoughts about the recent 24 Hours of Le Mans Test Day this past weekend at the Circuit de la Sarthe.Pilots of the Risi Competizione Ferrari 488 for the Le Mans Test were Giancarlo Fisichella (Italy), Toni Vilander (Finland) and Matteo Mulucelli (Italy), who made their scheduled rounds driving the American team's Prancing Horse.Race Engineer, Rick Mayer, on the Le Mans Test:"We successfully completed our test day agenda and are ready for Le Mans event week testing to begin.Test day weather was cool, overcast and mid-60 degrees Fahrenheit ambient. The weather was very consistent for the entire eight hours of track time with the skies being overcast throughout. This kept track temperatures cool but limited our testing options; we still have a compound variable to answer in event testing if the weather changes.Our starting base setup was very good. We only made very small changes throughout the test day. We want to thank AF Corsa, Michelotto and Ferrari for their valuable Le Mans specific test information and setup suggestions for a base, low downforce setup. The collaboration between Risi Competizione, AF Corsa, Michelotto and Ferrari is as if we were a three-car team with a single goal of having Ferrari win Le Mans. This multi-team collaboration is rare in racing, as we are also competitors, and it's certainly an advantage for the GTE-Pro Ferrari effort to have three top cars with top drivers and crews all capable of winning.The drivers are all very happy with the chassis and aero balance, performance and pace of the car in the test. Our goal was to work on the car setup for the race and not push for a qualifying lap time. All three drivers got up to speed very quickly; they have all raced at Le Mans recently in competitive Ferrari's fighting for Le Mans wins or have won Le Mans in class. They know what is required to win this race and were focused on a team approach to the test. We finished our run plan early and stopped before the end of the test session.The crew is hard at work changing engines, examining the test components and preparing the car for the race. We are in 'race mode' now. This week will consist of car prep, pit stop practice, spares preparation and getting some rest before the long week to follow.We feel we have a competitive car and starting setup. But the ACO can still make a BoP (Balance of Performance) adjustment before the race event and between the qualifying sessions and the race. At this point, most teams probably have something in reserve so we likely won't know the true pace of the competition until after the start of the race.We are very optimistic and looking forward to having a competitive Le Mans. All we need now is a little luck as all the other components seem to be in place."