Risi to Make GTLM Return at VIR, Complete Season

Photo: Jake Galstad/IMSA

Risi Competizione is set to return to the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship at Virginia International Raceway later this month, bringing its hiatus to an end.

The Houston-based team put its GT Le Mans program with its Ferrari 488 GTE on hiatus following the 24 Hours of Le Mans but announced on Monday that it plans to enter the final three WeatherTech Championship rounds of the season.

Risi sat out the past four races at Watkins Glen, Canadian Tire Motorsport Park, Lime Rock Park and Road America, in order to “consolidate resources and to reflect on future programs” after three consecutive races including Le Mans which saw the team’s Ferrari sustain heavy damage. 

“We will back at Virginia International Raceway with our No. 62 Risi Competizione 488 Ferrari with Giancarlo Fisichella and Toni Vilander,” said team principal Giuseppe Risi.

“We have taken a hiatus since the 24 Hours of Le Mans but now plan to complete the season at VIR, Laguna Seca and the season finale at Petit Le Mans at Road Atlanta.”

Vilander and Fisichella will race the No. 62 Ferrari for the remainder of the season although both have remained active during Risi’s hiatus, competing in the Total 24 Hours of Spa and Vilander subbing in for Sam Bird at AF Corse in the Six Hours of Nürburgring.

“I’m very glad to be returning to IMSA competition with Risi Competizione in the U.S.” said Vilander.

“Although both Giancarlo and I have been continuing to race internationally, it’s not the same as racing in the U.S. and with Giuseppe and the guys at the Risi Competizione team. It’s a special team and we are glad to be back.”

14 Comments

  1. southcove

    August 7, 2017 at 9:29 am

    Sure would be nice to see funding/sponsorship come in at a sufficient level to not only warrant their full season efforts for 2018, but possibly run a second Ferrari in GTLM which the entire series would benefit from.

    • ops30

      August 7, 2017 at 9:43 am

      Couldn’t agree more. Ferrari needs to get fully behind this team. Risi is a first class operation.

    • JamieR

      August 7, 2017 at 10:23 am

      I have always wondered why Ferrari has never backed Risi over the years, given the the team has shown what it is capable of with a fraction of the funding of the likes of the factory teams, Ford in particular.

    • Erwin Greven

      August 7, 2017 at 11:22 am

      Ferrari also has an F1 team. That takes a lot of the budget.

      • Bakkster

        August 7, 2017 at 1:36 pm

        Ferrari has a ton of sponsors in F1. Like hundreds of millions from tobacco alone. The general thought is that the team basically funds itself, about the only team in F1 to do so, and that mostly covers Ferrari’s advertising budget.

      • Jeff Wagner

        August 7, 2017 at 11:20 pm

        SCREW Ferrari and the F-1 team. Ferrari takes advantage of Mr. Risi and his loyalty. It isn’t fair, he’s a nice Man that runs a world class team and represents their brand so well that EVERYBODY cheers for them. My Dad and I are Team Corvette fans and if it is a hard clean race against Risi for the win and Risi wins, we are extremely happy too, because we like Mr. Risi and his team so much. However we HATE Ferrari (My Dad since the ’60’s) like A LOT of people do including A.J. Foyt. That shows how much Fans like and respect his team! The respect people have for Risi shows how much funding would be worth it to Ferrari, worth every penny.

        • Josh

          August 8, 2017 at 8:39 am

          Well said. I’m not a Ferrari fan, but I like to see the Risi team doing well. They deserve some additional support from Ferrari.

          • Jeff Wagner

            August 8, 2017 at 3:34 pm

            Thanks, like life it isn’t fair! What bugs me is they seem to have bad luck EVERY year with expensive crashes that make the Team budget even harder! I hope Ferrari gives them the support they deserve, or a sponsor is found! all we can do as fans is keep rooting for them!

        • thomas

          August 8, 2017 at 11:02 am

          There you go, at it again. You don’t know that Ferrari “takes advantage of” Risi Competizione. Risi has run Ferrari racecars for many, many years but Risi is also a Ferrari dealer. Ferrari even supplies the team with a pair of factory drivers. In that regard it is really no different to Turner Motorsport and their BMW relationship. You call it exploitation, I call it business.

          • Jeff Wagner

            August 8, 2017 at 3:26 pm

            There he goes, Thomas is at it again, another person isn’t allowed to have a different opinion than him. If you do he becomes a very patronizing old man. He then tries to compare apples to oranges. I know my stuff Thomas, Ferrari DOES take advantage of Mr. Risi. 1. Will Turner does not have BMW dealerships, Mr. Risi has Ferrari of Houston 2. Turner Motorsports runs in GTD, Risi runs GTLM a lot more $$$ to run, and running against FACTORY $$$ backed teams 3. Turner Motorsports uses mostly paying drivers, Mr Risi gets NO $$$ from drivers. I could keep going but I know by your reply you knew these things and my generation is supposed to bow to yours because you’re generation is always right. I’ve never been previously disrespectful to you, but this is the third time you have been to me and I won’t be pushed around. This is a fan forum and differing opinions are welcome. Maybe a fan forum isn’t for you?

    • Jeff Wagner

      August 7, 2017 at 11:02 pm

      southcove: I have said this for years too. Ferrari takes advantage of the fact Mr. Risi has dealerships and can’t change manufacturers. They are a small non factory team in GTLM! I HATE Ferrari but ALWAYS cheer for Risi the team to ALWAYS do GREAT! WELCOME BACK RISI COMPETIZIONE!

  2. Sir Skidsalot

    August 7, 2017 at 11:19 am

    Oh, and Chevy, Porsche and BMW haven’t sunk a s-load of money into GTE/GTLM?
    I do agree that the factory should back Risi more, as I’d love to see a pair of blood red Italians in the paddock and on track!
    I’d love to see a pair of Aston Martins, and anything else that fits out there too. Bigger classes mean more competition and even more chances to screw up the BoP. LOL!

    • Kevin

      August 7, 2017 at 3:33 pm

      I’m with on you on wanting see the Astons in this series. It would seriously make this GTLM class complete. Great to hear that Risi is coming back. I’m looking forward to seeing them at Laguna Seca!

    • Guest

      August 8, 2017 at 12:20 am

      Then in 2020 when the Ford GTP leaves watch Viper re-join.

      Dear Dodge, make a 5.5L V10 that will compete with the Corvette’s prices and maybe people will buy it.

      Dear Ford, make an actual production GT car that can be bought by anyone.

      McLaren and Lamborghini are rumored too.

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