Risi Competizione Ferrari 458 Italia GT no. 62: Olivier Beretta (MCO)
Matteo Malucelli (ITA)
Houston, TX, Wednesday 28 August 2013.  After the sweeping turns and scenic countryside of Road America in Wisconsin, Risi Competizione and the ALMS head this weekend for the marked contrast of Baltimore’s tight 2.02-mile, 12 turn temporary street course.  The 2 hour race for the 33-strong field takes place on Saturday around the Inner Harbor Street Circuit, and the pressure will be on all competitors to complete the event with as little trouble as possible.
The race:  Working the traffic on this tight, concrete-walled circuit is always challenging. The chance of caution periods is high and we’ll likely see more than one in the race; street courses always have a high risk of damage as there is little room for error. The risk of being collected by Prototype traffic is high in street races as everyone has less patience passing as corner speeds in slow corners are less affected by aero.  In the past the LMPC and LMP2 amateur drivers start the race and can potentially cause traffic build up for the GT field as walled circuits take a lot of confidence to go quick.  Even a small error could put you into a wall here. All the GTs should be able to do the race on one stop but, as we don’t expect a total green flag race, strategy will play a big part at this event.
The track:  Baltimore is the bumpiest track we race at, rougher than Sebring and qualifying up front will be critical because of a shorter race length than usual.  The chicane on the front strait reduces the effect of the tram tracks and makes for a low top speed; top speed (GT) will only be 230kph/140mph.  Baltimore has two very slow corners, T1 and T3, both 50kph/30mph and these will be bottle necks for traffic in the race. The GT cars will be on par or quicker than the prototypes in these corners as their more stiffly sprung setups reduce their ultra-low speed grip.
Setup:  Having only run here once before, in 2011, we will be at a bit of a disadvantage compared to our competitors although Olivier has run here once before.  Baltimore will require a setup similar to Sebring, but biased to low speed corners. The rear tires get a work out due to the slow nature of the corners; we’ll setup and tune around this traction requirement, while trying to not increase understeer. The car needs platform support for the change of direction at the temporary chicanes, but also good bump riding capability. Just as at Long Beach, there’s not much track time here and Qualifying/the race are later in the day than the practice sessions which may leave some tire strategy/longevity questions unanswered. This track, like most temporary ones, “rubbers in” and should gain grip as the weekend progresses. There’s also a change of tarmac with some concrete and asphalt sections of track, the grip varying as you traverse these sections.
The GT race: We expect the Falken-shod Porsche to be quick as they have a good soft street tire and they’ve won here both years the race has been run. The Porsche platform helps them at these ‘point and squirt’ street tracks, the rear weight helps with power down. The BMWs have great street setups and have proven quick at street venues, they were pretty dominant at Long Beach earlier this year. The Corvettes have also been quick everywhere all year so we expect this event will likely continue their run of good results. The Vipers struggled at Long Beach with tires, it seemed, but have since made some gains. After their dominate display at Road America they received an additional 25 kg of ballast for this event as a ‘balance of performance’ adjustment negating some of the advantage they’ve had to date.
This GT race will come down to pit stops, qualifying position and some luck; you always need luck at street tracks. A Risi Ferrari has won street races in the past. Let’s just hope we can qualify up front and stay there for 2 hours. It’s definitely time for our string of bad luck to end.
The next round of the American Le Mans Series will be the Grand Prix of Baltimore presented by SRT, Maryland on Saturday, August 31 2013.  Live qualifying coverage from the temporary street track will be shown on ESPN3 and ALMS.com on Friday, August 31 from 4:20 pm – 5:55 pm EST (Eastern Standard Time).  Race coverage will be on ABC, tape delayed, on Sunday, September 1 from 12:00pm – 2:00pm EST and live on ESPN3 and ALMS.com on Saturday, August 31 from 3:30 pm – 6:00 pm EST.  For countries outside the USA there is live-steaming on www.americanlemans.com and the race will be shown live on Motors TV.
Risi Competizione is a Houston-based Ferrari racing team led by Managing Director Giuseppe Risi.
For further media information contact Fiona Miller on fmiller@risicompetizione.com.

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