Giuseppe Victorious

[Jack Webster Photo]

[Jack Webster Photo]

By Eddie LePine & Jack Webster

The Rolex 24 is now in the rearview mirror and the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring is right around the corner. The Giuseppe Risi led Risi Competizione team took the GTD-Pro class win at the Rolex 24 with an outstanding and popular victory. The team delivered Ferrari’s first series victory in two years and first class win at the Rolex 24 in over a decade.

Although the team can celebrate the hard-fought victory as they prepare for Sebring, two manufacturers (BMW and Ferrari) were stripped of manufacturers points earned at Daytona by IMSA after the race due to “exceeding expected performance levels” in the race. 2024 marked a new BoP formula for the GTD and GTD-Pro classes, and apparently the two manufacturers ran afoul of the new regulations by being faster than pre-race testing showed they should be. Such is motorsport in the 21st century.

The team and drivers, however, did get to keep the victory and the team championship points and the post-race penalties imposed by IMSA does not take away from the accomplishments of the Houston based Risi Ferrari team, which has been a stalwart of endurance racing for many years. The 2024 Rolex 24 marked the first time Giuseppe Risi has taken his Ferrari team to victory at Daytona.

Giuseppe Risi and Ferrari go back a long way – to 1972 in fact, when Giuseppe met Enzo Ferrari and Enzo enlisted him to manage the first American direct Ferrari dealership in America – Ferrari of Houston. The dealership thrived, and continues to thrive, and Risi Competizione was created as the competition arm of the dealership. As time went by, Giuseppe consolidated his ownership of the team and they have become the face of Ferrari sports car racing, both in the US and abroad.

For Daytona, Risi enlisted the considerable talents of Ferrari factory drivers James Calado, Alessandro Pier Guidi, Davide Rigon and Daniel Serra to take the Ferrari 296 GT3 to victory. Of note, Calado and Pier Guidi won the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 2023 in the factory Ferrari 499P.

Alessandro: “It’s even difficult to dream, and we did it. Actually, six months ago, we achieved this amazing historic victory in Le Mans, and now we are back here with Risi and Ferrari to complete another 24, to achieve another amazing success. It was a long time that Ferrari is trying to win this race…Finally for Giuseppe and Ferrari together, we achieved this victory, we must be all proud of this.”

James Calado: “But every time you win in a Ferrari, it’s hard to put into words. You get this special feeling. There’s no words really that put it into perspective…We win, but then we move on and we try to improve for the next one. That’s the good thing about this team. We’re all one big family.”

Perhaps Giuseppe Risi sums it all up best himself. “Victory is a temporary relief. In the end you understand that what you’ve done is just creating another monster for the next victory.”

Well said. Shortly, Giuseppe and his team will be chasing that next victory at Sebring.

See you there.

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