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Jul 24, 2014 - 06:49 AM
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Risi Looking Forward To Making Debut At The Brickyard
Posted by: newsla on Jul 24, 2014 - 06:48 AM
USCR News
Risi Looking Forward To Making Debut At The Brickyard


With the most recent round of the TUDOR United Sportscar Championship firmly behind it, the privately-owned Risi Competizione team which is fielding the only Ferrari in the manufacturer-led GTLM category now heads to new and hallowed ground, Indianapolis Motor Speedway (IMS), home of the famous yard of bricks, the Indy 500 and this weekend’s Brickyard 400.

 

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While teams from the Rolex Grand-Am Championship are perhaps familiar with racing on the Indianapolis Road Course, this Thursday/Friday’s visit for the 2h45 Brickyard Grand Prix will be new for many in the 49-strong field which includes all four classes - P, LMPC, GTLM and GTD.

Risi Competizione’s two drivers, Giancarlo Fisichella (ITA) and Pierre Kaffer (GER) have both competed at IMS before - the Italian twice in Formula One, and the German last year in a Daytona Prototype. However, this year’s 14-turn, 2.435 mile layout is the same as that used this year for the Indycar road course race in May so will be new to virtually everyone on the entry list.

As well as some local knowledge, the No.62 Ferrari 458 Italia also goes to Indiana with what the Houston-based team hopes will be a significant performance improvement following a recent change by IMSA to the Balance of Performance (BoP). This is aimed at equalizing as much as possible the different marques within the class to ensure fair and close competition and, until now, the Ferrari has been trailing in performance compared to its rivals. The Ferrari has now been given a slightly larger air restrictor (+.6mm), less weight (-30 kg) and an allowance for a higher wing placement, but Porsche and BMW have also been given performance breaks so the challenge remains considerable.

Pierre Kaffer, who was racing a Ferrari last week in Austria, commented: "I drove at Indy last year in a DP and, although the track layout has changed a little, it’s a good to have some knowledge to start with. I think the recent change to the GTLM BoP is definitely in the right direction because in Mosport especially we struggled a lot to be on the pace. Hopefully we will be back in the mix at Indy."

The German who, with Fisichella, finished on the podium at Laguna Seca earlier this year, continued, "We saw at Watkins Glen that it’s quite difficult for GTLM to overtake LMPC cars and I think that, with nearly 50 cars here and less practice track time, it will be a ‘special’ event...you will arrive and, before you know it, you will have the race. It’s going to be very unique and we’ll see how it works out but it won’t be easy."

Giancarlo Fisichella has happy memories of Indianapolis Motor Speedway, having qualified third and finished on the podium on his last visit there with Formula One (2006), and is very much looking forward to returning. "It’s going to be another new circuit but this time it will be new for almost everyone there. It’s a historic circuit, very well-known internationally for the Indy 500, and I’m looking forward to the United Sportscar Championship making its own history there at the end of this week."

The Roman with 229 F1 Grand Prix starts, and two 24 Hours of Le Mans GT victories to his name, continued: "I hope and think the new BoP will be much better for us, as it’s been quite clear at the last couple of races that it was unbalanced instead of balanced. We have a good chance to do well, and I really hope we get a good result because we need it for everyone at Ferrari and on the Risi team. Yes, the traffic will be difficult, but it’s been like that for quite a few of our races now, and there is a very long straight which should help us."

The next round of the TUDOR United Sportscar Championship will be the Brickyard Grand Prix at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, IN, on 24-25 July. The 2h45 minute race will begin at 5:45 pm EDT and will be broadcast LIVE FROM 5:30 pm on FOXSports1.


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