MR RISI’S RACING TEAM

For the founder of the renowned Risi Competizione racing team, this month’s Rolex 24 at Daytona is not for celebrating a four-decade relationship with Ferrari, but for winning.
 
After success in Spain fostering motorsport – and talented drivers – in the early 1970s, Giuseppe Risi ultimately found himself in Formula 1. Small privateers could then still purchase chassis and engines from the bigger teams and qualify, ad hoc, for individual races, and for a number of years Risi helped secure drives for the likes of Emilio de Villota.
 
For many that would be an achievement to last a lifetime, but this Italian-born gentleman was just getting started. Sensing a revolution in the regulations – one that would ultimately outlaw any team that didn’t build their own chassis, and lead to the modern, structured Formula 1 of today – Risi changed tack. Coincidence then brought him together with Ferrari.

In the late 1970s, Federal laws in the United States were changing to ban private automotive importers; Ferrari would become the sole distributor of its road cars, the newly established Ferrari North America taking over from the successful Luigi Chinetti Snr. Risi had connections to the Prancing Horse, notably through Mauro Forghieri, the chief engineer of Ferrari’s racing operations for much of ‘60s and ‘70s, as well as via a friend who was a Ferrari importer in Spain. This led to an offer to establish a new dealership in Texas, USA in 1979.

‘It’s just one of those things,’ he humbly recalls. ‘I’m not an engineer or mechanic, but back then, selling 25-30 cars per year, you could learn and build yourself up. I’m tremendously passionate and respectful of the Ferrari brand, and I’ve always hired extremely good people around me. You surround yourself with the right people, and build it into what you have today.’ Which, modestly, is nothing short of two renowned Ferrari dealerships, and an international racing team with wins at Le Mans, Sebring and Petit Le Mans.

Risi spent two decades focused upon his new business, but the racing bug never left. ‘You can’t get away from it,’ he smiles. ‘I watched a few races, then we did a few events with the local Ferrari club – and then we were looking in earnest for a Ferrari F333 SP sports-prototype…’

At the same time as establishing a highly successful effort for his clients in the burgeoning Ferrari Challenge in North America, Risi purchased F333 SP chassis 17 and 18 and entered a car into the 1998 IMSA GT Championship in partnership with Doyle Racing. They won the second race of the season, won at the inaugural Petit Le Mans that year too, and finished atop the championship. In-between, their second Ferrari won the LMP1 class at the 24 Hours of Le Mans.

In 1999 Doyle-Risi’s F333 SP finished runner-up at the 24 Hours of Daytona, rounding out an impressive two decades in the United States for Giuseppe Risi. How does he look back on that 20-year anniversary? Matter-of-factly: ‘Second is good, but it’s never enough, is it?’

From there Risi took full control of the team, establishing Risi Competizione. Another 2nd overall followed at Daytona in 2003 with the Ferrari 360 Modena, but it was with the subsequent Ferrari F430 that Risi came to the fore.

‘We won everything really. We had great fun with a great car,’ is his neat summation. The longer version is thus: together with factory Ferrari drivers Mika Salo and Jaime Melo, Risi Competizione won the GT2 class in what had then become the American Le Mans Series. A year later, in 2007, they repeated that feat, and eight victories in 12 races handed Salo and Melo the drivers’ title. A class victory at Le Mans was Risi’s in 2008, their second in four attempts, and 2009 saw another Le Mans win, plus triumphs at the 12 Hours of Sebring and Petit Le Mans.

Risi Competizione has since raced the 458, and now the 488 GTE, once again with huge success – but one victory eludes them. ‘Daytona is iconic, but we’ve always been the bridesmaids,’ Risi says, recounting his team finishing just 1.149 seconds off the GTLM lead in 2019.

‘I love motorsport and I love this race. The team always start asking me halfway through the season if we’re doing Daytona again the following year. The banking is spectacular, especially at night it’s real cool. We love endurance racing, we know how to prepare a long-distance racing car. Ferrari has been my life for 40 years, and we’ll keep giving this race everything we’ve got.’

Story magazine.ferrari.com

Pictures Ferrari

Ferrari legends blur in L Atelier Yan Denes fast-paced artworks

Thanks to Classic Driver for the great story about Yan whos is doing every year the official poster for the Challenge and GT Days

If you watched the 2020 Formula 1 championship, then you’ll probably have seen one of Yan Denes’ latest artworks on Charles Leclerc’s helmet for the Scuderia 1000th Grand Prix. The helmet was ornamented with Yan’s drawings of 15 championship-winning Ferrari single seaters and a portrait of Enzo Ferrari, for a total of 16 drawings to match Leclerc’s race number.

Being directly commissioned by Scuderia Ferrari to create these drawings was the ultimate recognition for Denes: drawing Ferrari racing cars at speed is what he’s known for, and the roots of his ambition go back far. “I’ve always wanted to be an artist, I love American minimal art of the ’60s in particular,” he says. “But I have to confess a strong love of Ferraris since age nine, when I bumped into a Ferrari rally in Corsica, where my family is from”.

Few artists, like Yan Denes, understand how to make the thrill of speed tangible for the observer with pen and paper. Not only did he design Scuderia Ferrari’s anniversary helmets in Formula 1, but he is also inspired by historic motorsport.
 
 
Official Website from Yan Denes

Old and new faces for LM GTE Pro Ferrari crews in FIA WEC

The Ferrari crews for the LMGTE Pro class of the 2021 FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC) season have been officially announced. Old and new faces will take the wheel of two 488 GTEs fielded by AF Corse.

Alessandro Pier Guidi and James Calado will again take the wheel of car no. 51. In their fourth world championship season, the crew will launch an assault on the title, looking to repeat their 2017 win. “I can’t wait to get started,” said James Calado, “It’s going to be six hard-fought races against the Porsche crews. We saw last year that we are capable of winning both individual races and the championship, and so we’ll try to do everything in our power to claim the drivers’ and constructors’ titles for Ferrari again”.

Given that we’ll be competing with Porsche for the title”, echoed Alessandro Pier Guidi, “I hope that the Balance of Performance can be revised from last year, to allow us to fight on equal terms, for the benefit of the show on the track. From our side, we have the advantage of stability and harmony within the team, and good competitiveness on all tracks. Therefore, we are setting off to try to win the title. It’s not the number of cars that determines a championship’s level, quite the contrary. With fewer cars at the start, a zero in the ranking could be decisive for the final outcome”. The third driver for the rounds involving them will be announced later.

The second AF Corse crew has a new number and new line-up. Spanish driver Miguel Molina and Brazilian Daniel Serra will share wheel in car no. 52. The two-time winner of the 24 Hours of Le Mans, in particular, is eager to start the new series. “My goal was to race in the WEC,” commented Serra, “and I am delighted to be heading into the 2021 season. I know the team and my teammate very well, and I think we can do well together. I’m preparing myself as best as I can to be ready when the season kicks off”.

I’m delighted to be back in the WEC after my first full season, which was very useful for gaining experience”, said Miguel Molina. “The championship is very competitive, and I’m satisfied with what I achieved. I’m happy to share the 488 GTE with Daniel because he is so fast and we have a great relationship. I also want to thank Davide because in these years he has been an exemplary teammate. I have had the chance to learn a lot from him, and he has pushed me to improve”. Davide Rigon, who has been involved in the world championship since 2016, will join the pair in the long-distance races, seeking to win the GT World Challenge Europe Endurance Cup and Asian Le Mans Series titles. In addition to his on-track duties in the GT world, he is confirmed in his role as simulator driver for Scuderia Ferrari, which he has held since 2014.

Credit: HERE at races.ferrari.com

Photo: Ferrari

RM Sotheby’s Auction Paris – 1994 Ferrari 348 GT Michelotto Competizione

More details and pictures HERE at RM Sotheby’s Auction PARIS – 13. February 2021

Chassis No. ZFFUA35B000099107

Engine No. 36463

  • One of only eleven examples built by Michelotto
  • Never raced, only used for non-competitive track-days
  • Just under €18,000 spent on a gearbox rebuild and new timing belts in 2019
  • Le Mans Classic Eligible

Looking to fit the needs of a handful of privateer racers, Ferrari and Michelotto built a series of eleven race-prepared Ferrari 348s over the course of 1993 and 1994. Dubbed the 348 GT Michelotto Competizione, these were ready to be campaigned at the highest levels of motorsport, including the 24 Hours races at both Le Mans and Daytona. Hand built by Michelotto at their facilities in Padua, these cars boasted a number of significant upgrades over their road-going siblings.

Most notably, their engines were rated at 360 bhp after receiving reconfigured fuel mapping and F40 half shafts. To haul in all this performance, new Brembo 15-inch cross-drilled were fitted, along with wider five-spoke magnesium wheels. For the suspension, Michelotto designed a system utilizing Koni dampers and revised geometry to reduce dive, and also worked to strengthen the rigidity of the suspension and chassis. Lexan replaced the glass rear window and lightweight alloy panels were utilized for the front lid and engine cover. Carbon composite was utilized for the undertray, doors, bumpers, and was also utilized for supplementary air ducts that were fitted to cool the rear brakes.

Delivered new to Shelton Sports Cars of Fort Lauderdale, Florida, what was then Ferrari’s largest factory-authorized dealership in the state, chassis number 99107 was one of just four 348 GT Michelotto Competiziones to be delivered to the United States. In order to comply with U.S. FIA regulations, the car was special-ordered with a fire-extinguisher system and Momo racing seats. Passing through two private owners, during which time it was shown at Concorso Italiano in 1997, the car was later acquired by John O’Quinn and was subsequently shipped to Texas, where it remained with his large private collection.

Following Mr. O’Quinn’s death, his collection was sold by RM Sotheby’s and this Ferrari was purchased by the consignor at auction in 2010. At that time, the car had only been driven 2,685 km from new, never having been raced and only driven on the track in non-competitive track days. Subsequently exported to Germany, the car has continued to only be used seldomly for non-competitive track days and has covered roughly 1,000 km with the consignor, and the odometer is currently showing 3,503 km from new at the time of cataloging. In February of 2019, the car received a gearbox rebuild and the timing belts were replaced at Formula GT/Peter Praller in Munich, Germany.

Eligible for a handful of historic racing events, including Le Mans Classic, Michelotto’s competition-bred Ferraris are truly amongst the most desirable cars to bear the Scuderia’s Cavallino Rampante. Never raced and seldom used throughout its life, following a recent service this example would be a thrill to experience behind the wheel at speed.