Risi Ferrari Fires Back To Win Petit Le Mans
The Risi Competizione Ferrari–Michelin technical partner team bounced back from a heart breaking loss at its home race at Circuit of The Americas two weeks ago to claim a masterful IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship GTLM class victory in the season ending Petit Le Mans at Road Atlanta.
“Today’s race was a terrific way to end the WeatherTech Championship season,” said Chris Baker, motorsports director, Michelin North America of a perfect early fall day at the 2.54 mile, 12 turn circuit north of Atlanta.
“The Risi Ferrari team scored a popular and well deserved win, the fans saw a renewal of the Ferrari–Ford battle from Le Mans, and Corvette Racing closed out its championships with a strong run.”
The Risi team and drivers Giancarlo Fischella and Toni Vilander, together with Ferrari FIA WEC regular James Calado, reversed the results from the 24 Hours of Le Mans, as the Le Mans class winning No. 66 Ford Chip Ganassi Racing Ford GT driven by Joey Hand and Dirk Mueller with Sebastien Bourdais finished second.
Corvette Racing’s Oliver Gavin and Tommy Milner teamed with Marcel Fassler to finish third to wrap up the GT Le Mans (GTLM) class WeatherTech Championships for Manufacturer (Chevrolet), Team (Corvette Racing Car No. 4) and Drivers (Gavin and Milner). It was Corvette Racing’s seventh set of series championships since switching to Michelin prior to the 2004 season. Corvette has also had six victories with Michelin in the 24 Hours of Le Mans.
Although frustrated at times during the season, the winning Ferrari squad retained what legendary team manager Dave Sims called “amazing spirit” and confidence heading into the race.
“We drive the coolest car in the world,” said Vilander. “We will eventually get that win we deserve. We have a really strong partner with Michelin. The temperatures change a lot at this race, so you need the right tires to keep up with it.”
The race win made Ferrari the fourth different manufacturer and the No. 62 Risi Competizione Ferrari the sixth different car to take a 2016 GTLM class race win in the 11 race WeatherTech Championship.
“The WeatherTech Championship GTLM class delivers the best GT racing in the world,” said Baker.
“All five of our technical partner manufacturers (BMW, Chevrolet, Ferrari, Ford and Porsche) scored poles, four of the five posted fastest lap in at least two races and all ten of our GTLM cars scored at least one podium.
“Michelin would like to congratulate all of the WeatherTech Championship teams, drivers, officials and fans. We want to thank all of our Michelin technical partner teams, crews, engineers and drivers for their support throughout the year.
“I would also like to recognize the dedication of our Michelin engineers embedded with each of our teams who play such a key role in accelerating our transfer of technology from the laboratory of racing to the consumer marketplace and production vehicles,” said Baker.