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Risi Set for Petit Le Mans Return

Risi Competizione confirms Petit Le Mans, possible additional races…

Photo: Jake Galstad/IMSA

Risi Competizione will contest October’s Motul Petit Le Mans, with other end-of-season IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship races under consideration according to team principal Giuseppe Risi.

The Houston-based squad, which is fresh off competing in the 24 Hours of Le Mans, has confirmed a Ferrari 488 GTE entry for the Oct. 12 enduro at the newly named Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta.

Drivers have yet to be announced for the GT Le Mans class effort.

“We’re going to do Petit, for sure,” Risi told Sportscar365. “I think that’s a nice balance to be able to do that.

“The rest of it is sort of politics, and I’m not a good politician, and that’s not what I do for a living.

“Petit is a race that I love, I love Atlanta and we’ve always done extremely well there. I like to keep my team in it.”

The event could mark the team’s first WeatherTech Championship start since the season-opening Rolex 24 at Daytona, where it scored a class podium finish with Ferrari factory drivers James Calado, Miguel Molina and Davide Rigon.

However, Risi said additional races are possible although dependent on sponsorship, which he admits is a challenging proposition given the current situation his team faces as the sole Ferrari entrant in GTLM.

Risi has previously been vocal about IMSA’s Balance of Performance process, which had been a factor for the team’s decision to forgo the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring.

“The sponsors do not understand this whole BoP program, and they cannot understand it,” Risi said.

“People automatically think because you’re running a Ferrari, you will have results. That’s not the case.”

Privateers Essential to Future Success of GTLM

Risi believes IMSA must not forget about privateers, particularly in the GTLM class, which is set to see a reduced field next year.

Only six cars are expected for the full 2020 season, in the works efforts from Porsche, Corvette and BMW, following Ford’s decision to end its factory GT program at the end of this year.

“IMSA’s going to be that much poorer with Ford going away,” Risi said. “It’s the privateers like us that kept it going over the years. That’s what it was.

“We’ve seen all the dips and the goings and whatever else, so we’ll see what happens.

“I still believe that IMSA is probably the best quality of GT racing in the world. There’s no question about it. Just look at the people that compete.

“I have very, very high respect for it all.

“Sometimes it’s just unfortunate, some things are, and it’s a change of the times, really. It’s nothing personal against anybody.”

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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