Risi Competizione Update
Unfortunately, as we discovered earlier this month, Risi Competizione decided not to compete at Le Mans this year – writes Russell Wittenberg. The feeling was that the new 360 GTC was not quite ready to take on its German counterpart on the Mulsanne. Fuel efficiency and power are the two things the Ferrari GTC gives up to the Porsche, and these are most important at Le Mans. Instead the team will utilize the time and resources to further develop the 360 for the upcoming ALMS rounds. They have testing scheduled for next month at both Sears Point and Portland. Pirelli, which will be a key ingredient in the testing program, has a new hot weather tire for Risi to try.

The team’s Technical Manager, Rick Mayer, had these thoughts on the Ferrari. “There are still some gains to be made in the chassis, and hopefully we get some of that in our tests. The new motor is a definite improvement; we’re closer to the Porsche’s. Last year, for instance, at Road America even though we were able to post quicker lap time (4th quickest in qualifying and race lap) we had a real problem getting by the slower Porsches. We could pass them through the curves only to lose the position on the straights. It was frustrating, we were giving up so much top speed to them, and we would end up passing and then getting passed by the same car over and over again.”

The Risi Modena was at it best last year at twisty tracks like Sears, Laguna and the street circuits, scoring its first podium at Sears Point by finishing third, on the same lap, just behind the two Job cars. Ralf Kelleners and Anthony Lazzarro then reeled off an impressive string of four-second place finishes over the next five races. .

“We should be in really good shape at tracks like Sears, Laguna and maybe Lime Rock, but we will still struggle a bit at Portland and Road Atlanta. Michelotto is working on the engine to give us more power, specifically for the upcoming sprint races: with any luck we’ll have something extra for the Porsches in July”.

With testing planned and help coming from Pirelli and Michelotto, could Risi put an end to the Porsche stranglehold? We’ll have to wait until the end of June, when the ALMS season picks up again at Mid-Ohio.

The 911s did seem to have a straightline speed advantage at Le Mans on Sunday, although no top speed numbers were issued.

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