RISI Competizione is going into the 2011 racing season armed with a positive attitude and a newly modified Ferrari 458 Italia just in time for the 12 hours of Sebring in central Florida.
"This new car offers a great opportunity for us to show what, I believe, we do best at Risi Competizione," said Risi Competizione’s Founder and Team Principal, Giuseppe Risi, "which is to technologically develop our cars to race and win GT events at the highest level of competition. I am confident that our total race car preparation will be better than our competitors, and that will allow us to concentrate our efforts on the areas of development and evolution that new race cars inevitably present."
The "Rosso Red" Ferrari 458 Italia GTC follows along the same path as the Italian brand’s typical Gran Turismo vehicles, but has been modified for better handling and grip on the track. Its suspension is also stiffer, allowing the Ferrari to have approximately 50% less movement or roll than the F430. Some similarities between the F430 and the 458 GTC is the mid-engined V8 producing 465hp. This engine is mated to a significantly revised gearbox and an improved traction control system which will allow drivers to pinpoint the directionality of the car through corners.
Ferrari drivers, Jaime Melo, Toni Vilander, and Mika Salo, will be onhand in Sebring to sit behind the wheel of the Michelotto-developed Ferrari 458 GTC. Only four examples of the Ferrari will be in attendance when the 12 Hours of Sebring kicks off on March 19, 2011.
Hit the jump to check out what the drivers have to say about the Ferrari 458 GTC by RISI Competizione.
Jaime Melo, Risi Competizione Ferrari No. 062
“At the official Sebring test we had some electronic issues but that was good as we saw the areas which needed improvement for the race. After we left the States we tested in Italy at Vallelunga and Imola and the car was much, much better and everything was working well. I’m pretty confident for Sebring but at the same time we need to be really careful regarding the durability and mechanics of the car. The F458 is fast and well balanced but we need to work on making it easier to drive on the bumps which is something we will do next week. There’s lots more to understand on the car, but we’re learning every time we go out.”
Mika Salo, Risi Competizione Ferrari No. 61
“I haven’t driven the F458 yet so am looking forward to testing at the weekend. I’ve been talking to Jaime about the car over the winter and following the tests they’ve done and it sounds as though it’s better than the F430 in a lot of ways. Nowhere is better than Sebring to test and race a car; if it lasts there it will last anywhere. With such a huge field of course it will make it more difficult and we will have to spend as much time looking in the mirrors as ahead of us.”
Toni Vilander, Risi Competizione Ferrari No. 62
“I’m looking forward to returning to the American Le Mans Series with Risi and to racing again, this time with the F458. It’s going to be hard, for sure, and a very difficult race because it’s a new car and there’s a huge field. The weather conditions in Italy haven’t been good for testing over the winter so there’s been quite a limited amount done; we’re lacking track time. I’m confident though about the car’s performance and there will be lots for us to discover about it during race week – much more than in a regular test.”