Risi Competizione Signs Six-Driver Star Lineup For Rolex 24 At Daytona
American-based Ferrari stalwarts Risi Competizione, former American Le Mans Series champions are bringing a two-car Ferrari 458 Italia GT armada to the 50th annual Rolex 24 at Daytona the end of the month, working this Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series race in conjunction with American Canadian Racing.
The effort is possible through partnerships with Motorola and QT Technologies, both long-standing Risi Competizione affiliates, together with support from a large group of Ferrari dealers: Ferrari of Ontario, Ferrari of Beverly Hills, Ferrari of Silicon Valley, Ferrari of Ft Lauderdale, Boardwalk Ferrari (ever prominent on the ALMS GT entry), Ferrari of Vancouver and Ferrari of Houston.
With such a large group of partners, Risi Competizione have been able to band together a roster of drivers that have found great success in Formula One, INDYCAR and international GT series, both in North America and in Europe. The six-driver contingent includes Gianmaria Bruni, F1 race winner Giancarlo Fisichella, Toni Vilander, Raphael Matos, Andrea Bertolini and Olivier Beretta.
Bruni and Fisichella have raced with Risi in the past and had standout years in 2011, marking multiple race titles. Competing in both the Intercontinental Le Mans Cup (ILMC) and Le Mans Series, this Italian pair won three of the seven rounds of ILMC to take the GTE Pro Team and Manufacturers titles for Ferrari; they only narrowly missed out on a coveted 24 Hours of Le Mans win in GTE Pro last June. In the European-based Le Mans Series, Bruni and Fisichella won the GTE-Pro Drivers and Team championships for Ferrari; at Petit Le Mans they co-drove the winning GT Ferrari 458 Italia.
Vilander, a multiple GT race winner for Ferrari in FIA and in previous ALMS seasons with Risi, took the first North American victory for the new Ferrari 458 Italia at Road America, also winning at Imola in the ILMC and racing the entire 2011 ALMS season for Risi Competizione.
Former Firestone Indy Lights champion Raphael Matos joined the team toward the end of the 2011 season and was one of the first Ferrari 458 Italia Grand-Am test drivers at Daytona International Speedway. With his 2008 Rolex 24 at Daytona GT category victory, Matos brings valuable Grand-Am racing experience to the team.
Bertolini is a long-time Scuderia Ferrari Formula One test and development driver who has also tested GT cars for the Scuderia. He has four FIA GT championships and raced a Maserati MC12 for Risi Competizione.
The one big surprise is the addition of Beretta, who spent eight seasons with Corvette Racing and is a five-time ALMS GTS/GT1 champion with six class wins at the 24 Hours of Le Mans. "I left Corvette Racing in November, and when I was offered the chance to drive a Ferrari at Daytona with Risi, I didn't have to think about it for one second."
All six drivers for Risi Competizione will be on hand for the Roar Before the Rolex 24 at Daytona International Speedway on January 6-8.