Grand-Am smells blood as yet another ALMS team to run Rolex 24
With no live TV package one ALMS team after another are having a serious look at the Grand-Am series. It appears the France family has spent Don Panoz into the ground, and with the French run ACO dissing the Petit LeMans race for the World Endurance Championship series, the ALMS is having a bad off-season.
Are the vultures beginning to circle the ALMS as one after another ALMS team goes over to support Grand-Am's biggest race, the Rolex 24? North America's most experienced and successful endurance racing team, Risi Competizione, is returning to the 24 Hours of Daytona for the first time since 2004 with a new association, a new car and what promises to be one of the strongest GT Ferrari driver line ups ever assembled.
Risi will join forces with, and be supported by, two of the key members of the Ferrari North America dealer network and Ferrari Challenge racing series, Ferrari of Silicon Valley and Ferrari of Ontario. Risi Competizione with American Canadian Racing will enter two Ferrari 458 Italia Grand Am cars in next month's twice-round-the-clock classic. The 50th anniversary of the 24-hour race will be run between January 26 and January 29, 2012.
Ferrari, the iconic Italian auto company, together with its GT development and manufacturing partner, Michelotto, has designed and developed its latest GT challenger, the Ferrari 458 Italia Grand Am, specially for the North American Market.
Based on Ferrari’s European GT3 racer, the new car turned its very first laps at the famous Daytona International Speedway in July of this year under the watchful and experienced eyes of both the manufacturer and its pre-eminent North American racing team, Risi Competizione.
With more production components than the GTE-specification 458 Italia GTC, including different suspension, brakes, gearbox and tires, there will be much for the extremely experienced and able Ferrari squad of drivers to familiarize themselves with. Powered by a higher-output V8 engine than its European GT3 cousin, with over 500 brake horsepower available, the modified braking system helps to balance the regulated absence of ABS and traction control.
The driver line up will boast a five star roster of talent and will be fully confirmed very soon, together with driver pairings for the No. 62 and No.63 entries. Also to be confirmed in due course will be Risi's further racing plans for 2012.
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