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End-of-Season Return Possible for Risi

Risi Competizione could return for end-of-year WeatherTech Championship races…

Photo: IMSA

Risi Competizione could return for the final three IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship races of the year, after not committing to a full-season program with its Ferrari 488 GTE this year.

The Houston-based team is set to take a hiatus from GT Le Mans competition following Saturday’s Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring, due to lack of sponsorship and a costly 2017 season that was marred with significant on-and-off the track costs.

While set to contest the 24 Hours of Le Mans in a customer capacity with Keating Motorsports in GTE-Am, Risi could return to the WeatherTech Championship paddock beginning with the Michelin GT Challenge at VIR in August.

A firm commitment, however, has yet to be made, according to technical director Rick Mayer.

“Giuseppe is the biggest sponsor for the team and after all of the issues in Houston last year and the damage we had [with the car], I think he’s not able to put as much as much of his own money into racing as he’s done in the past,” Mayer told Sportscar365.

“If he can significantly reduce the cost of his [racing] fund by the end of the year, he’ll be happy to do more races.

“We do well at VIR, Laguna and Petit. Giuseppe’s favorite tracks are ones we’ve done well at and ones that are probably lower-risk from a cost standpoint.

“We’ve had really good success at VIR in the past, we should have done well at Laguna last year and we’ve had success at Petit Le Mans.

“If we’re not going to run a championship and cherry-pick races, [those are the ones] he would pick.”

While having committed to a full-season program, the team ended up missing four rounds last year due to extensive damage sustained in early season races, as well as at Le Mans.

Mayer indicated that longtime Risi driver Toni Vilander, who has again teamed with fellow factory aces Alessandro Pier Guidi and James Calado this weekend, would be part of the lineup in whichever additional IMSA races it commits to.

The Finn is also set to take part in a full-season of Pirelli World Challenge with R. Ferri Motorsport. 

“It would just be a matter of which of the [other] factory guys,” Mayer said. “I know [Ferrari] has been pushing [Miguel] Molina a lot, and we had him in the GTD car [at Daytona]. We could also get Ale and James if we can.”

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

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