March 20th 2010 marked the 58th running of the Sebring 12 hour race, for me it was only the 7th time at the event.
For a half day of racing, it has a gruesome reputation as being the event that really tests whether or not you have a “race car”, or “project”. For the Risi Competizione team, the victorious 62 car, winner in 2009 and now in 2010Â demonstrates the maturity of a fully developed GT endurance racer. In factÂ the total of 6 consecutive wins, covers all the significant global GT2 endurance races sinceÂ the 24hr race,Â Le Mans,Â June 2008.Â No other GT2 car or team has won since then!
The Risi version of the F430 is a carefully honed version of the product delivered by Michelotto on behalf of Ferrari. Risi then add their own select refined components (some of which are designed and manufactured by WEVO) and apply a veil of race preparation that includes some very secret attention to detail that sets their F430′s above all others.
Jaime Melo has partnered with a selection of world class drivers to sit in every one of the 6 consecutive endurance race wins. The blazing fast young Brazilian has learned the skill of bringing a fast car (often not the fastest) to the finish in first place – he does so with the support of the team who give him well engineered cars, good race strategy, quick and accurate pit stops and unbeatable green flag averages that are key to Endurance racing success.
It was a pleasure for me to be part of Risi Competizione, both in 2009 and 2010 at Sebring for the 12 hour race. I was responsible for Engineering on the 61 car, a familiar green F430 in the livery of Krohn Racing,Â regulars in Gran Am DP racing. Tracy Krohn, Nic Jonsson and Eric van de Poele are partners in both the DP car and the F430 and as a team we will race the green car at Laguna for the 6hr race in May and then the Jewel in the Crown,Â a career long ambition for me – the Le Mans 24 hr race on June 12th 2010.
This snap taken as the cars were rolled back to the transporter after the race shows what kind of wear and tear half a track day can take on a pristine racer. The bumps of Sebring are unforgiving, the 61Â completed the raceÂ with a damaged RR damper, 7th place in GT2. The 62 car, even though victorious – finished with cracked and damaged parts that would never have survived another few hours. However, put that in perspective, the BMW’s that pushed the 62 for over 11 hours finally capitulated towards the chequered flag as the brakes on the BMW’s were completely spent….
The 6 hours at Laguna is a relative sprint in the sunshine of the California Spring time and the fantastic racing surface that comes from the Moto GPÂ demands of the raceway. It will be the final warm up for the 24 hourÂ at Le Sarthe in June, a final opportunity for Risi Competizione to polish the details of their remarkably successful Ferrari F430 GT racers.