March 16, 2010

12 Hour of Sebring Preview: Four Ferraris

You need Ferraris for a proper endurance series and Risi Competizione will field two F430s at Sebring. The car driven by Jaime Melo, Gianmaria "Gimmi" Bruni and Pierre Kaffer will be the familiar "Rosso Corsa", the second car will sport the familiar day-glo green of Krohn Racing. Driving it will be Tracy Krohn, Nic Jonsson and Eric Van Der Poele.

Risi is the official Ferrari team but look for two "unofficial" Ferraris sporting Patron Tequila colors. These will be driven by
Scott Sharp, Dominik Farnbacher, and Johannes Van Overbeek and by Joao Barbosa, Guy Cosmo and Ed Brown.

The Houston-based Ferrari GT2 team has, over the last two years, enjoyed a phenomenal run of five consecutive successes in international sports car racing’s major classics. It has taken victory laurels at the 2008 24 Hours of Le Mans and Petit Le Mans, and the 2009 12 Hours of Sebring, 24 Hours of Le Mans and Petit Le Mans.
2010, however, could offer the toughest challenge yet for Risi and its endurance racing partner, Krohn Racing, thanks to the increased level of competition in the GT class.
Team Principal, Giuseppe Risi, highlights the challenges ahead. “BMW, Corvette, Ford, Jaguar and Porsche are all joining Ferrari in making the production-based category a real jewel in the ALMS crown in terms of excitement, noise and great on-track battles for the fans and TV audiences. That number of manufacturers, represented by some of the best teams in racing today, and with some truly excellent driver line ups, also means that the contest for top honors – always close in 2009 –will be yet more intense throughout the year.
“We are prepared, as always, for the challenges ahead,” continued Risi, “but certainly don’t underestimate the task ahead. We are confident we’ve got all the elements in place for success, but you always need that little bit of luck on your side too. Having our friends from Krohn Racing back with us is part of having those elements in place – we’ve always done well with them and with them alongside us, and I’m delighted that Tracy, Nic and Eric will once again be part of our team at Sebring and beyond.”
Risi regular, Jaime Melo, and his season-long partner, Gianmaria Bruni, will be benefitting from the experience, skill and consistency of Pierre Kaffer in the #62 ‘Rosso Red’ Ferrari 430, while Tracy Krohn, Nic Jönsson and Eric van de Poele, piloting the #61 ‘Krohn Green’ Ferrari, will once again we warmly welcomed back into the Risi fold with the sole aim of adding to their great tally of endurance successes of recent years.
Tracy Krohn, who, with his team mates, has taken the Ferrari to two podiums finishes at the 24 Hours of Le Mans and a third place at Sebring in 2008, is very much looking forward to getting back into the F430. “The car is very predictable, and very well sorted. Risi has had great success with this car and is a very well run organization that has the results to back it up. They work hard at improving on success.
“We have very experienced drivers overall, but also with this particular car [#61]. Nic Jönsson and Eric van de Poele are easy to work with and we all feel the car pretty much the same which means driver styles are fairly similar. As for getting back in the car, I know that it will be better than it was before and that gives any driver more confidence.”
2010 is the super-successful F430’s last full year of international competition at this level, but Ferrari and Michelotto have not been idle over the winter months. There are three important changes to the specification of the car for this season and they are:
1) The car will run 100 kg heavier, now 1245kg;
2) It carries wider rear wheels and bigger tires front and rear;
3) It will be fitted with bigger air intake restrictors, permitted due to the increased weight and wider wheel, thus offering 9% more flow area and an increase in horsepower which should offer more straight line speed equalization for the Ferrari with its competitors compared to 2009. Horsepower figures are not available.
Visually the F430 remains outwardly very similar to the 2009 version although the car will feature more flared wheel arches and quarter panels to accommodate the bigger wheels and a different front splitter.
Risi Competizione is a Houston-based Ferrari racing team lead by Managing Director Giuseppe Risi. Official team sponsors include Motorola, Boardwalk Auto Group, Ferrari Financial Services and Ferrari of Houston.

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