Post-Race Report: ROLEX 24hrs at Daytona, Risi Competizione Ferrari
Risi Competizione Ferrari 488 GTLM No. 62: Toni Vilander (FIN)
James Calado (GBR)
Alessandro Pier Guidi (ITA)
Davide Rigon (ITA)
Risi Competizione Ferrari 488 GTD No. 82: Miguel Molina (ESP)
Martin Fuentes (MEX)
Ricardo Perez de Lara (MEX)
Santiago Creel (MEX)
Matt Griffin (IRL)
The finish of the 56th annual Rolex 24 At Daytona was not the result the Risi Competizione team had wanted but in the end all 9 drivers of the 2 Ferraris and the talented crew could depart Daytona International Speedway with their heads held high.
The No. 62 Risi Competizione Ferrari 488 GTLM of Toni Vilander, Alessandro Pier Guidi, James Calado and Davide Rigon started from the 7th position on the GTLM grid and finished 5th in class.
The No. 83 Risi Competizione Ferrari 488 GTD of drivers Miguel Molina, Matt Griffin, Ricardo Perez de Lara, Martin Fuentes and Santiago Creel started from the front row, in 2nd position on the grid and immediately led on the 1st lap when Molina passed the pole-sitter.
A number of issues, including some tire and engine sensor problems made the usual front running No. 62 Risi Competizione Ferrari 488 GTLM lose laps and finish 9 laps down from the class leader, on Lap 774 instead of the class winner Ford on Lap 783.
Although the No. 82 Risi Competizione Ferrari 488 GTD started strong, a fueling fire sent the car to the garage and pushed them down the leaderboard. Additional small issues ultimately produced as 37-lap deficit by race end.
Post Race Team Member Quotes
Rick Mayer, Risi Competizione Chief Engineer and No. 62 GTLM Race Engineer: “It just wasn’t our weekend for either the GTLM or our GTD car. The GTLM drivers took most of the track time to agree on some setup nuances, but when you have four Pro drivers it’s par for the course. I think in the end we had a good car. Other GTLMs had better BoP’s (Balance of Performance) and we just couldn’t match their performance. I think we had a fifth-place car. I don’t think we could have beaten the Fords or Corvettes and probably the Porches, if they hadn’t had issues. But, in the end that wasn’t the only deficient, electrical problems with the engine put us in the pits a few times, sometimes those things happen and you have to deal with them the best you can. The unusual lack of full course cautions (for Daytona) made it impossible to get back on the lead lap.
“Additionally we had some on track tire issues that put us behind the ball a bit and unfortunately this added some additional unscheduled stops. We found ourselves in an ironic situation. Our Ferrari is very light on its tires and that is almost always an advantage, but the race conditions were such that it took almost an entire stint to build rear tire pressures. We were in a knife edge situation and had to hit an unusually narrow tire start pressure range to not damage the tires while warming them up and still achieve optimal race performance. With so many pit stops and varying track conditions, and despite all of our experience and Michelin’s, we just couldn’t hit that target every time. In the end we finished the race and the crew did a good job and we’ll hit it hard at Sebring.“
Leon Gutfreund, Risi Competizione Race Engineer No. 82 GTD: “We have to look at the positives. We had a very fast car. If you look back at timing and scoring you’ll see that we caught and passed the leader on two different occasions during the race. We were just so far behind after the fire in pit lane that we were never going to be able to catch up. I think the crew came together extremely well given that they were all newly put together for this event. The pit stops were good, and we finished a 24-hour race, which is always an accomplishment.“
Toni Vilander, driver No. 62 Risi Competizione Ferrari 488 GTLM:”It’s been quite a difficult weekend. We’ve had a lot of challenges of all different kinds of things that put us back. We sort of found a way to fight back, but then we’d fall back again, then fight back, then fall back again. It’s been a rollercoaster on the technical side and tires and there’s been so many things we’ve never experienced before so maybe we need to study a bit more what happened during this 24-hours. I have no doubt that we will come back even stronger, but today is a tough one to take, especially because at night we had pace, although daytime a little bit less. We will stay in contact with Rick and try to figure out what to do for Sebring.”
Alessandro Pier Guidi, driver No. 62 Risi Competizione Ferrari 488 GTLM: “It was a really tough race. We had every kind of issue. We had issues with the tires and an engine sensor. I think the Fords were too fast for everybody, but we could have fought with the Corvette for third place, but unfortunately, we had so many issues without a caution which is not usual for Daytona. With so few yellows it was difficult to recover. The team did a great job because they worked really hard and we missed just a bit of luck, but we will try next year and I’m sure we can do it with Ferrari and Risi Competizione.”
James Calado, driver No. 62 Risi Competizione Ferrari 488 GTLM: “I think you always want to be confident going into the weekend, but I knew even though I wasn’t at the Roar that both the Fords and Corvettes looked a little bit outside of our reach. I was just hoping we would maybe get some good luck on our side, but unfortunately, lady luck didn’t arrive, and we had a lot of issues to deal with, which cost us quite a lot. But, saying that, I don’t think we had the pace to be on the podium, so it’s something I hope is addressed if we continue to race. All the guys have done an amazing job. The car’s always immaculate when we start the race, and everyone works so hard, so a big thank you to everyone at Risi, especially Giuseppe. Let’s hope we get another shot and another race win.”
Davide Rigon, driver No. 62 Risi Competizione Ferrari 488 GTLM: “The stint was going very well and with all the engine electrical issues it was hard to tell if we were going to be able to stay out or have to come in and fix it. The guys and all the team did a fantastic job and we never had any mistake, just some electronic issues that we had to manage. But, the good thing is we did our best and had the potential to be on the podium. A win today would have been a bit difficult, but to be there on the podium, for sure we could have gotten there.”
Ricardo Perez de Lara, driver No. 82 Risi Competizione Ferrari 488 GTD: “First of all, I want to thank Mr. Risi and Risi Competizione. It was an incredible team. It’s amazing to be here. I worked very hard for this opportunity and unfortunately, we had an issue in the first part of the race where there was a fire and the entire race we had to push, push, push. Another thing that was incredible was the lack of yellow flags during the race and that didn’t help us strategically. In the end, I’m very happy because the team worked very hard and my teammates made the best effort and I hope to be here next year or for any next races.”
Matt Griffin, driver No. 82 Risi Competizione Ferrari 488 GTD: “Obviously with the small issue we had early on in the race it kind of put us back, which was a pity because we had super speed throughout the whole race. The whole team did a really amazing job, from the engineering on all the drivers, the mechanics, the spotters and it was awesome for most of the race. When Miguel and I were in the car we were the fastest car and then the other drivers: Martin, Santiago and Ricardo, all did an amazing job. It’s a pity we don’t have the result we deserved, but I think we can hold our heads up high.”
Santiago Creel, driver No. 82 Risi Competizione Ferrari 488 GTD: “My overall thoughts are that the weekend was very pleasing. Running here with Risi and Ferrari, we had a couple of unfortunate incidents, but we learned a lot and I hope to be back with Risi Competizione soon.”
Martin Fuentes, driver No. 82 Risi Competizione Ferrari 488 GTD: “It was a bittersweet experience. I think we could have done a lot more. The car was amazing and Leon, the engineer was amazing. He did a great job, the car was well prepared and Risi is a fantastic team. We could have done much more, but it is what it is. It’s racing. Sometimes you get lucky and sometimes you are unlucky. I’m just happy to have finished with the problems we had and just happy to overcome some positions and finish this 24-hour race. I have to thank my teammates and I’m just really happy overall with the weekend.”
Miguel Molina, driver No. 82 Risi Competizione Ferrari 488 GTD: “It has been a real pleasure to be here and participate in this amazing race. I also want to say thank you to all those that made it possible, like Risi Competizione and Ferrari. Hopefully in the future I can come back and we will finish better. The final result was not as expected, but at the end what really matters is that we enjoyed the weekend, the race and the team. My crew and colleagues did a fantastic job and this is what matters now.”
The next race for the Risi Competizione Ferrari team will be the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring, March 14-17, at Sebring International Raceway in Sebring, Fla.
Further details will be announced soon or check our website at www.risicompetizione.com
Have a terrific week.
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