Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Risi Competizione have received their official invitation from the Automobile Club de l'Ouest (ACO) for the 85th annual running of the 24 Hours of Le Mans race, to be held on June 17-18, 2017.

The Houston, Texas-based American team, who won the 2016 Petit Le Mans race in the GT Le Mans (GTLM) class, and finished second at the 2016 running of the Le Mans endurance race, has received an invitation to this year's prestigious 24 Hours of Le Mans race in the GTE-Pro class with their Risi Competizione Ferrari 488 GTE.

Finish driver Toni Vilander, Italian Giancarlo Fisichella and a yet-to-be-named third co-driver will compete in the fan favorite Rosso Corsa (racing red) No. 82 Risi Competizione Ferrari for Team Principal Giuseppe Risi.

They have just come off a podium finish (third place) in the GTLM class at the recent International Motor Sports Association (IMSA) Rolex 24 At Daytona race with drivers Vilander, Fisichella and Brit James Calado, who is entered at Le Mans in the AF Corse Ferrari 488 GTE for 2017.

At last year's 24 Hours of Le Mans Vilander, Fisichella and Italian Matteo Malucelli finished in second place in a battle to the finish against the Ford factory teams and where the small privateer team led many laps.

"It's always an honor to be invited to Le Mans and this year is no exception," said Giuseppe Risi. "Our little team has shown it can battle against the factories with a well-prepared car, excellent crew and drivers, and the determination to succeed in endurance races. The Ferrari 488, which was new last year, has proven to be another excellent car and we hope to show its abilities again this June."

2017 will be Risi Competizione's eighth visit to Le Mans, the first time being in 1998 and the last in 2016. They have three victories at the Circuit de la Sarthe and three additional podiums. Fisichella and Toni Vilander (FIN) have two victories each as teammates; Fisichella has three additional podiums and Vilander four.

Risi Competizione has won at the 24 Hours of Le Mans on three of seven occasions. The first appearance of the Risi team at Le Mans was in 1998 when Wayne Taylor, Eric van de Poele and Fermin Velez won the LMP-1 class in the Ferrari 333 SP. Risi Competizione collected back-to-back victories in the Ferrari 430 GT in 2008 with Jamie Melo, Mika Salo and Gianmaria Bruni and again in 2009 with Melo, Salo and Pierre Kaffer. The team made appearance in 2003, 2007 and their last entry was in 2010. On numerous occasions Risi Competizione entered two cars at La Circuit de la Sarthe.