Daytona Beach, 29 Jan 2017 – The Ferrari 488 GTE of Risi Competizione led the 24 Hours of Daytona for several laps and was in the mix until the final lap, before finishing third. The Houston-based team’s car was driven by Giancarlo Fisichella, Toni Vilander and James Calado who finished three seconds behind the Ford no. 66 of Joey Hand, Dirk Mueller and Sebastian Bourdais and just 91 milliseconds from the Porsche no. 911 of Patrick Pilet, Dick Werner and Frederic Makowiecki.
GTLM. The 488 GTE of Risi Competizione was in the leading group for the entire race, moving out in front on several occasions, including in the final hour. The decisive episode occurred half an hour from the end when Dirk Mueller forced his way through on the first corner leaning into the Ferrari, driven at that time by James Calado, who needed to drive clean to save fuel. It was an extreme manoeuvre with the cars coming into contact but in the end the race officials deemed it legal. As a result of the Ford attack the British driver was also overtaken by the Porsche of Pilet, which later was the obstacle that prevented James from trying to fight back against car no. 66. Risi Competizione and Ferrari proved themselves very competitive as did the the two drivers who will compete in the entire season of the North American IMSA championship: Giancarlo Fisichella and Toni Vilander, who was a real hero in the pouring rain that fell throughout the night.
GTD. The Ferraris also gave cause for hope in the GTD, but in the end neither of the two 488 GT3s made it to the chequered flag. The bitterest pill to swallow came exactly two hours from the end, when car no. 63 of Scuderia Corsa suddenly ground to a standstill on the track while Sam Bird was driving with a lead of nearly 15 seconds over his nearest pursuers. Alessandro Balzan, a member of the crew along with Christina Nielsen and Matteo Cressoni, was about to climb on board for the final stint, and victory appeared possible. The fault, probably in the engine, brought that dream to an abrupt halt. The other car, the no. 51 of Spirit of Race pulled out much earlier due to a technical problem after it had started from pole position thanks to Alessandro Pier Guidi’s extraordinary performance in qualifying. The next race, the 12 Hours of Sebring, will take place from 17 to 18 March.