Giuseppe Risi co-founded Doyle-Risi Racing in 1998 to race the Ferrari 333SP Prototype.
Ferrari 333SP Program Highlights
1998 World Sports Car Manufacturers Champion
1998 24 Hours of Le Mans Prototype Class Winner
1998 Petit Le Mans Overall Winner (1st winner of the very first Petit Le Mans race)
In 2002, Risi created Risi Competizione to race Ferrari GT Cars.
From 2002 to 2004, Risi Competizione ran the Ferrari 360GT, in the ALMS series. At that time, the class
was heavily populated with Porsche 911 RSR race cars.
Results with the 360 GT improved year after year, as the team relentlessly improved the car. In 2002, the team took two podiums, in two races, 2nd at Laguna Seca, Third at the 10 Hour Endurance Petit Le Mans.
That same rear, Risi Competizione managed the competitive effort of a client, and running, a Lola B2K/40 in the SRP II Class, this team won 9 out of 15 races and qualified 1st in 9 races. One of the races they won was the Rolex 24 at Daytona.
In 2003, overall results for the 360GT program continued to improve, with six podiums in 9 races. The reputation the team was developing was that of an efficiently, highly professional outfit who built cars that went the distance. The team took a 2nd in Class at the Rolex 24 at Daytona and, after receiving an invitation to Le Mans, qualified 5th and finished 8th.
The 2004 ALMS season would be the last one in which Risi Competizione ran the Ferrari 360GT. The highlight of the year was a win in the New England Grand Prix at Lime Rock. The team ran two races in the Rolex Grand-AM series, taking a second at Watkins-Glen. And, at the Rolex 24, it was Risi Competizione who was selected to bring Maserati back into international racing, after an absence of some 30 years. In a rain-soaked, treacherous endurance outing, the Risi Comp entered Maserati Trofeo light finished the race in 11th position in class.
The 2005 ALMS season was a transition year for Risi Competizione.
The team was selected by Maserati to run their Maserati MC12 GT. The car finished 9 out of 10 races and suffered its’ only DNF due to an on course accident at Laguna Seca. The 2005 season was a controversial one, however. At the very first race of the year, IMSA, the sanctioning body for the ALMS series, severely penalized the Maserati MC12, restricting the car’s air intake (which had the effect of lowering horsepower) and adding extra weight to the car to also slow it down. The very advanced MC12, which was much quicker than any other car in the GT category was further restricted because ALMS would not let the car collect any points for its racing effort, effectively turning the Maserati MC12 into an exhibition car for the entire year. The reasons why the MC12 was so tightly controlled and restrained could be traced to an English factory team racing in the same class who knew that the Ris-Prepped MC12 was going to blow them off the track, and instead of competing, opted to rule-book out the MC12 out of class contention. The Maserati MC12 never raced again in the United States; it did, however, race very successfully in Europe where it won ___FIA GT Championships against other factory teams.
In 2006, Ferrari introduced the 430GT and Risi Comp was one of the first clients for the totally new mid-engine V8. This year would prove to be the start of extremely successful era of GT racing for Ferrari and Risi Competizione.
Out of the box, the new 430GT, in the hands of Ralf Kelleners, Anthony Lazzaro, and Jamie Melo, qualified 2nd at Sebring and finished 3rd. The message had been sent: the 430GT was both fast and solid. The team went on to take 9 podiums in the 2006 season, including four wins. This was the first year of the pairing of Jaimie Melo and Mika Salo for Risi Comp. Melo was a very young and quick Ferrari factory driver and test driver and Salo a former Ferrari F1 driver. The two meshed perfectly, had similar driving styles (and so once the car was set up for one driver, it was set up for both), and were a terrific combination on any type of course. By the end of 2006, in addition to the podiums, the team also collected the ALMS GT2 Team Championship and took 2nd in the Manufacturer’s Championship for Ferrari.
Much was expected of Risi Competizione in 2007 and the team did not disappoint. entering two cars for the 12 race American Le Mans Series schedule. For 2007, the combination of Melo/Salo proved virtually unbeatable. The duo won 8 out of 12 races and a Risi Comp car was on the podium 14 times during the season. The team won the Team Championship, The IMSA Cup Championship, The Manufacturer’s Championship, and the Driver’s Championship. It also entered two cars in the 24 Hours of Le Mans. One went out due to an accident while leading; the other car finished second.
The 2008 Year was more challenging. Despite six podiums (including two wins) in the 11 race season, and third place in the Team Championship, the year did not match the glittering results of 2007 except for one key victory: a 1st for the Risi Competizione Ferrari 430GT at the 24 Hours of Le Mans. A year in which you win a major is always a career year and 2008 was such a year. The winning drivers at Le Mans that year? Melo/Salo, and fellow Ferrari factory driver Gianmaria Bruni.
In 2009, the team again set new standards for performance winning at at the 12 Hours of Sebring (Kaffer/Melo/Salo) and also at the 24 Hours of Le Mans (Kaffer/Melo/Salo). The ALMS season was now to 10 races and Risi Comp was on the podium for six of them, including wins in the series biggest endurance races: Sebring and Petit Le Mans . With those wins and a win at Le Mans, the team had performed a very rare Grand Slam of Endurance Racing, wining all three of the major sports car endurance races of the year. Melo/Kaffer took second in the Driver’s Championship and the team took 2nd in the Team Championship.
The last year of the 430GT era was 2010. The team started the year with yet another win in a major–the 12 hours of Sebring. Pierre Kaffer, Gianmaria Bruni and Jaime Melo brought the No. 62 Ferrari 430GT home in first, their third class in four years, an amazing dominance for a private team. The team went on to win two more races (Salt Lake City and Mid-Ohio and take podiums at Mosport and Petit Le Mans. They were no so lucky across the ocean, and DNF’d at the 24 Hours of Le Mans. Final season honors for the team included 3rd in the Manufacturer’s Championship and Third in the Team Championship.
The 2011 American Le Mans Season was the debut of the Ferrari 458 Italia GT.
The ALMS schedule was now shorter–only 9 races– and the team experienced the usual first-year-with-a-new-car results, winning at the 4 hour race at Road America and picking up Podiums at Long Beach and Mosport. Primary drivers for the series were long-time Risi driver Jaime Melo and the very quick Finn, Toni Vilander.
In 2012, the team elected to run only one race–the 24 Hours of Daytona, where a car driven by Beretta, Bertolini, and Vilander, finished 5th. It was determined to forgo the American Le Mans Series schedule for 2012 as the team re-organized for the 2013 season.
Olivier Beretta and Matteo Malucelli were the season driving pair for Risi Comp in 2013. At Sebring, Bruni joined the two and the trio brought the 458 Italia GT into a second place finish. At Petit Le Mans, Robin Liddell was the third driver and another good result was achieved: 3rd. The team picked up one more regular season win at Virginia International Raceway.
For 2014, Risi paired Giancarlo Fisichella (a former Ferrari F1 driver) with Pierre Kaffer, Together, the pair won two races (Road America and VIR), and took a 2nd at Indianapolis and a 3rd at Monterey. The two big endurance races on the calendar were less successful; at Daytona (Bruni/Fisichella,Malucelli), the car was taken out of contention when it was hit from behind by a prototype and at the season ending race at Petit Le Mans, the trio of Fisichella/Kaffer/Beretta saw the year when the car was rear-ended exiting the pit lane after a stop.
Going into 2015, Risi Competizione knew that the 458 era was drawing to a close. The team finished 9th at Daytona after a DNF (mechanical), then took two 2nd place finishes back-to-back at Sebring (Kaffer/Fisichella,Bertolini) and Long Beach (Kaffer/Fisichella). They also tallied a third at Road America, another Third at VIR (quickly becoming a favorite for the team), and a 2nd at home-state track Circuit of the Americas in Austin. The year–and the 458 competitive era–ended at Petit Le Mans, with the team finishing 5th in a race dramatically shortened by a massive rainstorm.
AMERICAN LE MANS SERIES & IMSA TUDOR UNITED SPORTSCAR CHAMPIONSHIP WINS – 24
24 HOURS OF LE MANS WINS – 3
12 HOURS OF SEBRING WINS – 3
PETIT LE MANS WINS – 2
TEAM CHAMPIONSHIPS – 2
DRIVER CHAMPIONSHIPS – 1
MANUF. CHAMPIONSHIPS – 1
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