Ho boy. The ALMS GT2 class just got a bit gnarlier. Already featuring a first-time entry from Lexus, Houston-based Risi Competizione has officially tossed their hat into the ring, fielding their new F430GT this season. We can't wait to hear this thing's barbaric yawp when it debuts at Sebring next month.
IS350 to Run ALMS [Internal]
Houston, Texas - US sportscar racing's worst kept secret has been confirmed - and the rumours are true: Risi Competizione will campaign the new Ferrari F430GT in the American Le Mans Series' (ALMS) GT2 class this year. This brand new race car, which replaces the Ferrari 360GT model that Risi Competizione used to such good effect to win the IMSA Cup as the top private team during 2003, is expected to be very competitive notes Risi Competizione's eponymous Managing Director, Giuseppe Risi.
With the outgoing Ferrari 360GT, Risi Competizione also produced the first non-Porsche GT2 class win for more than 20 races during the 2004 ALMS series. Risi says that he has much to look forward to in 2006. This new car looks very promising. Intense chassis development by Ferrari has resulted in greatly increased stiffness, he said, and the car features a new larger displacement engine design with more horsepower. I'm really looking forward to joining battle with a stellar list of GT2 competitors, including Porsche, BMW, and Lexus. The competition on track will be great for everyone: manufacturers, teams, drivers, fans, quite simply everyone. We expect to fly the Ferrari standard high this year.
The ALMS GT2 class is set to be the hottest category in North American sportscar racing this year, with the factory-backed Porsche hordes under some serious pressure for the first time in two seasons. As well as the Risi Competizione Ferrari F430GT, there will be factory entries from another German arch track rival, BMW, while the Japanese carmaker Lexus, is also throwing its weight behind the GT2 class for the first time.
The ten-date 2006 American Le Mans Series will kick off with the Sebring 12 Hours on 15-18 March, one of most famous and evocative events on the global endurance racing calendar. Round two, the Lone Star Grand Prix on 11-13 May will take place in Houston, Texas. Six races over the summer: Mid Ohio (19-21 May), New England (29 Jun-1 Jul), Utah (13-15 Jul), Portland (20-22 Jul), Road America 500 (17-20 Aug), and Mosport (1-3 September) will follow before the series winds up at Road Atlanta for the prestigious 10-hour Petit Le Mans, on 27-30 September.
The season finale race will take place at Monterey in California on 19-21 October. "It looks a very exciting calendar" adds Risi, "everyone in really fired up for the challenge, and we are particularly looking forward to the race in Houston, our home turf."
Plans for drivers and other specifics details about the team have not yet been released.
About Risi Competizione
Risi Competizione is a professional racing team organised and managed by Giuseppe Risi, the owner and dealer principal of Ferrari Maserati of Houston. One of the world s top teams in sportscar and endurance racing, Risi Competizione most recently raced its own Ferrari 360GT in the ALMS GT2 class. The team also has had superb results running the famous Ferrari 333SP, winning its class at Le Mans, overall winner of the Petite Le Mans, and World Sports Car champion.
In 2002, a Risi managed and prepared team consisting of two Lola-Nissans, which completed a perfect season, winning the SRPII Grand American Championship with 10 wins, 10 poles, and 10 fastest laps. The team also won its class at the 24 Hours of Daytona and was placed third overall. Risi Competizione s 360GT was on the podium for every race it entered in 2002, and won the IMSA trophy for the best private team in ALMS. It kicked off the next year with second overall at the Rolex 24 Hours of Daytona. In 2005, the team provided logistical support for the Maserati Reparto Corse MC12 campaign in the ALMS series.
Ferrari of Houston also provide technical, racing, and logistical support for selected clients who are taking part in the North American Ferrari Challenge; and the Ferrari of Houston team have produced more Championship Challenge drivers than any other team in North America. At the end of the Challenge Season, drivers are invited to the World Championships which are staged in Italy at one of the famous tracks.
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CONTACT: Donald Pierce or Russell Adams (713)772-3868
Further information: www.risicompetizione.com