IMSA Spotlight: Rick Mayer
Risi Competizione Technical Director
After a frustrating few races, how important is a solid result for Risi Competizone this weekend at the team’s home track?
“It’s a little bit more important, as Risi Competizione will have more guests at this event. But the team will do the same job of trying to have the most competitive car possible for this event. We have no championship concerns as far as trying to gain maximum points. It’s just purely going for the highest finish possible. We can take a bit of risk as we have nothing to lose.”
What are some of the unique characteristics of COTA and do you feel it will suit the Ferrari 488 GTE?
“The 488 GTE is different in many respects to the F458. The increased downforce that most of the GTLM cars were able to homologate per the new 2016 regulations will make a positive difference for us but also for the others.
“We hope the Esses and the Carousel will improve for us this year based on our increased downforce level and those are areas very unique to COTA. The latest BoP turbo boost increase will help our chances. I’m hoping we’ll get some Texas home track luck, we could use some about now.’
With WEC in action this weekend as well, will there be any sharing of setup data/etc from the WEC cars?
“Totally, Risi Competizione and AF Corse have an excellent relationship. I personally work well with their race engineers, their management and all of their drivers. We’ve been in contact discussing what we can collectively test and plan as a multi-car/team effort.
“This should act (more or less) like one three-car team in regards to setup and tire testing. We share information constantly throughout the season.”
How did you get your start in racing?
“I was always a car guy, I think that’s how most of us start. I was always taking cars and engines apart and lightly modifying them in high school, to my parents displeasure I might add. My parents thought a garage was for parking cars in… Imagine!
“I helped prep some cars and crewed in some SCCA events in high school and college and did a senior project on some suspension mods for a successful SCCA Porsche 944. I then moved to Florida and took an aerospace engineering job after college, then took a job with Mosler Automotive in a race car design capacity and it all progressed from there.
“Next I starting working as a data engineer at higher professional levels and then progressed to race engineering. I have to thank a lot of people for helping my progression with jobs and recommendations throughout the years.”
What is your most proud moment in your career?
“There are so many great moments and memories I’ve been fortunate to work with a lot of great teams, crews and drivers.
“My highlights would have to include Sebring ‘07 where it went down to the last lap… Back-to=back Le Mans class wins in ‘08 and ‘09, and our string of endurance wins in that period with the F430. In ALMS 2002, beating the Audi’s in LMP1 with the Panoz at Washington DC and Sonoma; a bit of David and Goliath in that era.
“But I think when I look back at it in 20 years it will be my good fortune to have been involved with Ferrari for so long, in a very unique period of sports car racing. It has been a privilege few can ever have, and I’m honored to continue to have this opportunity.
“Every endeavor has its ups and downs, but for sure I have numerous positive memories and few regrets. It truly still is an enjoyable period for me.”