The Official Risi Competizione Pre-Race Media Release.
Risi Competizione Ferrari 458 Italia GT No. 62:
Giancarlo Fisichella (ITA)
Pierre Kaffer (DEU)
Houston, Texas (September 16, 2015)…The Houston-based Risi Competizione Ferrari team is thrilled to be back at the Circuit of The Americas (COTA) for the IMSA TUDOR United SportsCar Championship penultimate round, the Lone Start Le Mans race, Saturday, September 19.
The No. 62 Risi Competizione Ferrari 458 Italia with drivers, Pierre Kaffer (Germany) and Giancarlo Fisichella (Italy), are proud to bring the excitement of the Prancing Horse to their “hometown” fans at the 20-turn, 3.47-mile/5.515-kilometer circuit that runs counter-clockwise and has elevation changes of 133 feet/40.5 meters.
After four podiums in eight races, including two second place finishes (Sebring & Long Beach), and two third place finishes (Road America and VIR), victory has eluded the fan favorite team so far this year. A victory is high on the team’s priority at the popular Texas venue, the only FIA-certified Grade 1 track in the United States.
The Risi Competizione team has competed at the Circuit of The Americas (COTA) twice, making their first appearance in 2013’s inaugural running of the IMSA TUDOR United SportsCar Championship series at the track. Last year (2014), Fisichella and Kaffer qualified tenth and finished in fourth place after suffering a few rare technical issues. The talented Fisichella/Kaffer duo are both making their second appearance at the team’s favorite track. They are one of eight GTLM class competitors out of a 40-car field total.
GIANCARLO FISICHELLA, No. 62 Ferrari 458 Italia, Risi Competizione Driver:
What is your favorite part or turn at COTA and why?
“This is a very nice track. After the European tracks it is very similar, in that there is a very challenging part to it – right, left, right, left. I think this track is the most beautiful of the circuits.”
What is your overall feeling going into the last two races of the season?
“We always like to come to Austin, which is a very nice town. And the circuit is really good and really nice. It’s been a bit of an up and down season. We were competitive sometimes. We scored several second and third finishes, but actually this year we have not won so far and that is our target for the next two races.”
PIERRE KAFFER, No. 62 Ferrari 458 Italia, Risi Competizione Driver:
You’ve raced at COTA before. What do you think about returning and what is your favorite part of this circuit and why?
“First of all, I’d like to say I’m happy to be here. This is a big race for us because it is the home track for Risi Competizione. I’m really looking forward to it. COTA is a nice, challenging, new track. It’s an American-European racetrack. I think you will not find many drivers who do not like this track. It will be really nice for our Ferrari to flow in the corners here. It’s fast, it’s slow, it’s technical so it has everything in it and I’m really looking forward to drive it again.”
What’s it like to race in front of a hometown crowd, so to speak, in the U.S.?
“It’s a nice feeling to have because you have many people cheering for you and it’s nice to be driving with the best team in America and with the best crew. What we’ve achieved so far this year is amazing. We are burning, on fire inside. We want to have our first victory and that’s our biggest goal so far.”
You’re competing in both the IMSA TUDOR and World Endurance Championship (WEC) series races this weekend. What is it going to be like to do a double race stint between two races this weekend?
“I’m look forward to this because I love this track so much. My main focus will absolutely be with Risi Competizione, because it’s the main championship I race. I think it’s not disturbing with the other race project (WEC) because it’s nice to be in a race car and it’s nice to be in the LMP. I know this track from LMP2 and I know this track from GT and I don’t think there is a big difference. For me, where it counts, is the championship in America. My co-drivers in WEC have to do more of the job in the practice sessions and I will join them for the race. I’m looking forward to it…more seat time at COTA is a more enjoyable time here in Texas.”
RICK MAYER, No. 62 Ferrari 458 Italia Risi Competizione Race Engineer:
COTA is one of the newer circuits on the IMSA schedule. How does the Risi team like racing in front of their hometown crowd and at such a beautiful circuit?
“It’s a great facility and the home track for Risi. It’s also great for the team as it’s a short drive and not all day travel. That’s nice for the team.”
With the wide track and runoffs you don’t expect many, if any, cautions. How does that affect the race and strategy for the engineers?
“Having no cautions won’t be good for us. Our fueling is a bit slower than the other GTLM cars so we don’t have a pit advantage. Where the team excels is when the fuel fill is short and the tire change could pace the stop. Those situations only happen when there is pit stops under the pace car.”
DAVE SIMS, No. 62 Ferrari 458 Italia Risi Competizione Team Manager:
The Risi Competizione team has raced at COTA twice now. Tell us what makes this circuit well suited for the Ferrari.
“The circuit itself is obviously a grand prix circuit. I have really high regards for the facilities and safety elements at this track. The surfaces are also very good.
COTA is an engineering and driver’s circuit.”
What is it like to race in front of a hometown crowd and among a lot of Risi Competizione and Ferrari fans?
“We have a lot of fans coming up from Houston and have a lot of local fans. There are not many circuits you can say you race at home. It’s really nice for the guys and the whole team. It’s good for us to be able to drive to it instead of flying, which we normally do to all the race. It’s also beautiful and one of the top circuits in the world. The F1 drivers love coming here. The hospitality and local people are great. We’re looking forward to the entire weekend.”
Live coverage of the Lone Star Le Mans race is on FOX Sports 2, Sunday, September 19 from 12:30-3:30 p.m. CDT. The race will re-air on FOX Sports 1, Sunday, September 20 at 1:00 p.m. CDT. Live timing and scoring is available for all on-track sessions at IMSA.com and on the IMSA Smartphone app.
For more information, please go to www.risicompetizione.com and follow us on Facebook/RisiCompetizione and Twitter @RisiComp.
The Official Risi Competizione Pre-Race Media Release.