Risi Competizione will not take part in next weekend’s Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring, with no firm plans to contest any remaining IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship races this year.
Sportscar365 has learned that the Houston-based team has elected to forgo the second round of the season due to a combination of Balance of Performance concerns and driver availability, according to technical director Rick Mayer.
The decision comes in the wake of a GT Le Mans class podium finish in January’s season-opening Rolex 24 at Daytona, although Mayer said it was aided by weather conditions in the rain-soaked race.
It will mark only the second time since 2003 that Risi has not contested the Sebring race.
“Sebring is one of my favorite tracks,” Mayer told Sportscar365. “We’ve had such good luck there in the past and it will be really, really sad not to be there.
“Last year we weren’t particularly competitive.
“It’s mainly the BoP that makes us uncompetitive. It’s not the fact that we have good drivers or good cars or the crew don’t do a good job on the cars. It’s the BoP.”
Mayer said the decision was influenced by the lack of available Ferrari factory drivers, who have not been released to contest both the IMSA and FIA World Endurance Championship races on the same weekend.
“It’s difficult for Ferrari to give us drivers because they didn’t want them doing double duty,” he explained.
“Also, I told Giuseppe [Risi, team owner] previously that with the BoP was, it wasn’t stellar.”
While having received a power increase and reduction in minimum weight for Sebring relative to last year’s season-ending Motul Petit Le Mans, Mayer said that it still poses a challenge for partial-season manufacturers like Ferrari.
He claims that IMSA’s new BoP method, introduced for this year, needs a “sanity check” as it currently rewards performance from full-season GTLM entries.
“In Giuseppe’s standpoint, if we’re going to do one or two races, you can’t play the sandbag game and hold back,” he said.
“The other teams, they watch these metrics and calculate them [in real time] as they run.
“They know where they’re going to be at the end of the event and know where to tell the drivers to slow down and have it figured out.
“If you’re going to do one offs or two-offs [it doesn’t work].”
While staying active in Ferrari Challenge and TC America competition, the team’s next race with a Ferrari 488 GTE car will be the 24 Hours of Le Mans, having recently received confirmation of a GTE-Pro entry to the French endurance classic.