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Pre-Rolex 24 Power Reduction ‘Making Life Hard’ for Risi Ferrari

Risi Competizione questioning lack of pace at Daytona heading into the Rolex 24…

Photo: Barry Cantrell/IMSA

Risi Competizione’s drivers believe a GT Le Mans Balance of Performance adjustment is set to make “life hard” for the Ferrari squad in the Rolex 24 at Daytona.

The Houston-based team is entering its second consecutive IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship race after it won last year’s season-ending Motul Petit Le Mans.

The No. 62 Ferrari 488 GTE Evo, which is carrying the same driver lineup as that Petit win, qualified 1.461 seconds off the pace on Thursday to prop up the seven-car GTLM class.

In the four practice sessions held in the build-up to the Rolex 24, the Risi car finished no higher than fifth and no less than half a second off the best time on each occasion.

James Calado, who is teamed up with fellow Ferrari factory drivers Davide Rigon, Daniel Serra and Alessandro Pier Guidi, suggested that the pre-event BoP adjustment curtailed Risi’s competitiveness on the high-speed oval section that dominates the Daytona course.

This BoP change was a reduction in turbo boost coupled with a four-degree increase in the minimum rear wing angle following the Roar Before the Rolex 24 test at the start of January.

“We lost a little bit of power so basically it’s affected us quite a lot, especially in sector three,” Calado told Sportscar365.

“Five or six horsepower doesn’t sound a lot but when it’s long straights it equates. We were already flat out at the Roar and obviously the others had a bit more in their pocket.

“The Corvette’s a new car so we know it’s quick; they may have reliability issues. Porsche are looking way ahead in every way really.

“They killed us on pace, it’s clear [the BoP] made our life hard.

“If we can get within there or thereabouts, we’ll be happy. But it’s a shame really because at Petit we thought we had a slight BoP advantage over the others; I don’t know why they just pegged us back so much for here.

“It’s very political and unfortunately it seems the team isn’t committed to the [whole] championship and it could be a big factor in the decision, making our performance slow for this race.

“It’s disappointing really, especially when there are seven cars and you’ve got such a big gap between the Porsches and us, it just makes it a boring race.”

Calado dismissed the suggestion that Risi’s pace deficit was partly caused by the team bringing in a brand-new chassis for the Rolex 24.

“Each car is slightly different and obviously when it’s brand new little things need bedding in,” he said.

“It’s not far off what we knew in Petit, but it’s mainly just a BoP thing which is why we’re struggling. It’s just the way it is, we’ve got to do the best we can.

“We’ve got a great lineup, the team are working really hard. We’ve just got to try and stay positive and find 1.5 seconds.”

Pier Guidi, who qualified the Ferrari, suggested that the change in rear wing angle exacerbated the car’s deficit on the banking and resulted in it struggling to overtake some GT Daytona cars.

“We met a few other manufacturers on the track and they were passing up like we are in another category,” said the Italian.

“With the BoP decision, we lost power after the Roar and the wing was imposed at an angle that is much more than the minimum angle.

“At Daytona, it’s important to have as [little] drag as you can. But we can’t reduce the downforce because of the rules, so it’s difficult.

“I’m sure the race will be hard, but we will never give up and we will try our best in the race.  We need to fix all these small details to have the best balance we can have.

“Looking back, we have to be smarter in the future because if you show all your potential [in testing] then this is the result.

“Of course, nothing is 100 percent [the] BoP’s fault; we need to improve ourselves and I think we did, honestly.

“On Friday we were still slow, but we were happier about the balance of the car. But we can only improve the balance of the car: we cannot improve the speed on the straights.”

Daniel Lloyd is a UK-based reporter for Sportscar365, covering the FIA World Endurance Championship, Fanatec GT World Challenge Europe powered by AWS and the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, among other series.

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