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Risi Poised for Partial Season Program

Risi Competizione set for partial-season WeatherTech Championship entry…

Photo: John Dagys

Risi Competizione is poised for a partial season program in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship this year, with the Houston-based squad currently only confirmed for the Rolex 24 at Daytona and Twelve Hours of Sebring.

While set to field a two-car entry in this month’s Rolex 24 at Daytona, neither of the team’s Ferrari 488s are full-season entries, although its GTLM car could still contest additional races beyond the opening two rounds, according to team manager Dave Sims.

“This is probably a single event [for the GTD car],” Sims told Sportscar365. “For the other, it’s this one, Sebring, probably The Glen, VIR, Petit Le Mans. I don’t know about Long Beach.”

Toni Vilander and reigning FIA World Endurance GT champions James Calado and Alessandro Pier Guidi are confirmed in the team’s GTLM entry for Daytona, and are expected to remain in place for Sebring.

However, Sims said he’s unclear what the lineup could look like for potential races post-Sebring, particularly with Calaldo and Pier Guidi expected to defend their title in the FIA World Endurance Championship.

The WEC rounds at Spa-Francorchamps and Silverstone clash with the WeatherTech Championship races at Mid-Ohio and Virginia International Raceway, respectively.

“We’ll just wait and see what Ferrari wants to do,” Sims said.

“They’re Ferrari drivers. We don’t say ‘We’re gonna have him’; they say ‘You’re gonna have him’. We’ll see. It will be interesting.”

Sims indicated it would be unlikely to see Giancarlo Fisichella return, saying that it’s gone “deadly quiet” on the Italian driver’s situation.

Fisichella, who is believed to have departed Ferrari, had been linked to multiple potential manufacturer deals.

While having been entered as a full-season entry last, year, the team missed four rounds, following an expensive outing at Le Mans that saw its Ferrari sustain heavy damage in an accident.

Vilander and Fisichella returned to action for the final three races of the season, scoring podiums at VIR, Laguna Seca and Petit Le Mans.

Le Mans Return Unclear

Sims said a decision has not yet been taken on a potential return to Le Mans, in what would be the team’s third consecutive appearance in the French endurance classic.

Vilander, Fisichella and Matteo Malucelli finished runner-up in GTE-Pro in 2016, with a heavy accident triggered by a LMP2 car, ending the team’s race early last year.

The entry request deadline for Le Mans is Feb. 5, with the field of 60 cars to be revealed on Feb. 8.

John Dagys is the founder and Editor-in-Chief of Sportscar365 as well as the recently launched e-racing365 Web site for electric racing. Dagys spent eight years as a motorsports correspondent for FOXSports.com/SPEED Channel, and contributes to other publications worldwide. Contact John

13 Comments

13 Comments

  1. guest

    January 4, 2018 at 6:24 pm

    I sincerely hope this isn’t the beginning of the end for them. We’ve lost too many stalwarts the past couple years.

  2. Seth

    January 4, 2018 at 6:30 pm

    I would hope Lime Rock would be on the list of races they want to run

    • jason

      January 4, 2018 at 7:08 pm

      Agreed, the NAEC plus the 2 all GT rounds would be nice. I’ll take that.

  3. Pierce

    January 4, 2018 at 6:31 pm

    If this is it and no other manufacturers in the pipeline we’re going to see GTLM slim to 6 entries after 2019 season.

  4. daedalus

    January 4, 2018 at 7:11 pm

    At this rate the factory GTLMs are gonna need to run 3 or even 4 cars to keep GTLM viable or combine it with GTD which will be hard for factory teams to stomach but at least they will be still racing.

    It only needs Ford,GM or Porsche to pull out and its curtains for GTLM which is possible given they will suffer with TV time this year with a very large and popular prototype class to accommodate.

    • Andy Flinn

      January 5, 2018 at 4:06 pm

      No. You may want curtains.

      Fact is, daedalus, even if one of the remaining four manufacturers pulls out, six full-time cars from three factories in GTLM is still much better than what we’ve seen racing in the not-to-distant past (ALMS GT1).

  5. Haskellb

    January 4, 2018 at 7:57 pm

    Ferrari needs to step up with a real factory effort.

    • Marc

      January 4, 2018 at 9:19 pm

      Agreed. Even Vilander in one of his write-ups last year was pleading for Ferrari to help Risi out more than just supplying drivers.

      Risi is a stalwart and it’s a shame not to have them nor Ferrari on the grid in GTLM.

      • Anthony B Thomas

        January 5, 2018 at 5:29 am

        Well I think one of the problems is –

        1) Ferrari sells every car it sends to the United States.
        2) Ferrari may feel they have been unfairly treated by BoP
        3) Ferrari also may feel that racing against the cubic dollars of Ford and GM is a bit unfair and can’t afford heavy accidents like was seen at Le Mans.

        If you really want to put pressure on Corse management I guess the best thing to do is to email them.

        Finally Ferrari Competizione GT list Alex Ribas as one of it’s drivers. I believe that Mr. Risi is not ready to put a young driver in the car considering what happen last time that happen.

        I think the partial scheduling is based on driver availability specifically who would be paired with Toni.

        Risi can win at Long Beach it’s just best to be on the front row since it’s so hard to pass.

        California is a big market for Ferrari so I think you’ll see them here. Also remember if they are leading the championship after Sebring or in the Top 3, I think they’ll continue.

        • Haskellb

          January 5, 2018 at 10:12 am

          The Ferrari is what they use as a benchmark to BOP the other cars.

    • Luke

      January 5, 2018 at 9:16 am

      Yeah someone tell Marchionne to get his head out of his …

  6. Jason G

    January 5, 2018 at 7:08 am

    I really can’t believe IMSA isn’t streaming the qualifying. I’d rather see that then the PC race.

  7. fourloko

    January 5, 2018 at 8:14 am

    you can’t get heavily BOP’d if you dont race ( you cant meme)

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