Risi Competizione has a long and storied history at the Petit Le Mans, going back to the very first race, which was held in 1998, before the Petit became the end-of-sportscar-racing-year fixture that it has become over the last 14 years.
Risi Comp’s return to Petit Le Mans at Road Atlanta also included a return to the podium as the team squeezed into third place in the GT class, finishing 10th overall. Just eight laps from the checkered flag, Matteo Malucelli overtook Maxime Martin’s BMW, on Lap 367, rewarding the team’s persistence and hard work in challenging conditions.
The race, which ran to the 1,000 mile distance (9 hours 37 minutes) featured all the excitement expected from the world-famous sports car race which is well-known for its close action. The final American Le Mans Series race before the series merges with Grand Am and becomes the Tudor United Sportscar Championship, and 16th annual Petit Le Mans, did not disappoint as highlights included variable weather, numerous lead changes and nine cautions with a constant variation of leaders throughout.
The Risi Competizione team showed why its name is in the history books on so many occasions as it once again proved itself to be as good as the factory GT efforts in one of the best sportscar series in the world, the American Le Mans Series.
Malucelli started from the GT class pole and drove the first stint. Early contact with one of the Corvettes forced a pit stop to remove damaged right rear bodywork. Numerous stops for different tire variations during changing weather conditions accounted for many of the pit stops, along with fuel and the scheduled driver rotations.
The only other incident of note was when Beretta went off while leading at nearly eight hours. In addition to the time lost off-track, the team also had to pit for a replacement wing mirror. Although the time lost relegated the Risi Ferrari to fourth place, Matteo’s late race speed brought the team to the podium in the last laps, its seventh Petit Le Mans podium in ten Petit Le Mans entries since 1999.