View Full Version : New Era In GT Racing History: F458 Italia GT/Sebring 12hrs

17th March 2011, 19:58
New Era In GT Racing History: F458 Italia GT/Sebring 12hrs.

will use thread for all Risi and Sebring news and updates. Not long now :)

When Ferrari racing stalwart, Risi Competizione, lines up on the grid for this weekend’s 59th running of the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring, it will be ushering in the dawn of a new era in Ferrari’s GT history with the racing debut of the all new Ferrari 458 Italia GT.

The Championship-winning, Houston-based, endurance specialist is introducing the F458 to international sports car competition, and its traditional ‘Rosso Red’ car will be one of four examples of the latest Michelotto-developed model at the mid Florida track. Supported once again by Pennzoil and Motorola, the No. 062 Risi entry will be in the extremely experienced and capable hands of long-time Ferrari drivers, Jaime Melo and Toni Vilander, joined for endurance events by the super-successful and popular Mika Salo.

The new F458

The all-new F458 follows in the great traditions of Ferrari’s Gran Turismo vehicles. Beautiful to look at, the mid-engined V8 produces 465 bhp (with regulated air restrictors), similar in output to the F430, but almost every other area of the car is different to its predecessor. From a driver’s point of view, the main areas of development are the handling, gearbox and traction control – all of which make the car easier to drive.

The car is a lot stiffer in terms of set up and suspension with approximately 50% less movement or roll than the F430. The gearbox is significantly revised and gear changes up and down the box can be selected far more quickly. Although not featured for Sebring, the GTE regulations permit a paddle-shift mechanism which may be introduced later in the season. A great deal of work has also been done by Michelotto on the traction control system which will allow drivers to pinpoint the directionality of the car through corners.

The challenge ahead

Risi Competizione’s Founder and Team Principal, Giuseppe Risi, is enthusiastic about the new season and his team’s involvement with the Ferrari 458 Italia GT from the start of its competition career.

“This new car offers a great opportunity for us to show what, I believe, we do best at Risi Competizione,” he says, “which is to technologically develop our cars to race and win GT events at the highest level of competition. I am confident that our total race car preparation will be better than our competitors, and that will allow us to concentrate our efforts on the areas of development and evolution that new race cars inevitably present.”

Risi continues: “We will be concentrating on just one car this season, and will be making a run for the GT Championship. We are under no illusions that the 12 Hours of Sebring – traditionally a happy hunting ground for us – will be a severe test as the F458 is short on testing time and the track is punishing. It’s going to be a true test for the car and for us, although racing is a challenge in itself at any level. I’m completely confident, however, that our guys are up to it.”

17th March 2011, 19:58
Race Preparing the 458GT

Houston, Texas ……It is not easy to race a new model of race car. The obstacles between purchasing a race car and then seeing that car on the race track, carrying your colors and those of your sponsors, are many and difficult. Let’s start with the basics.

The Basics: where to get started

A new Ferrari 458GT is going to cost approximately $650,000 and change, without spares, extras, or custom engineering work. The 458GT is based on the new Ferrari 458; you can read about the road going version of the 458 here Before you can purchase Ferrari’s latest GT weapon, you have to get Ferrari and the Corse Clienti (Client Racing) division of Ferrari to OK you. Ferrari takes racing more seriously than any other company in the world and they take it serious at every level, from F1 to the Ferrari Challenge Series. If you are one of the professional teams that wants to campaign a Ferrari 458GT in the ALMS series or in the ILMC (the ALMS series equivalent in Europe), you will have to pass a review by Ferrari.

The man to talk with about such aspirations is Maurizio Nardon, the head of Client Racing for Michelotto, the division of Ferrari that builds client racing cars. Please understand that Ferrari separates racing into two rather broad but descrete categories: factory racing efforts (i.e. F1) and client racing efforts (i.e. sports cars, specifically in this era, GT cars).

Once Nardon gives you the thumbs up, you will be summoned to the factory for some in-person conferences and a talk with the technical staff. There, you will complete your financial arrangements for your new Ferrari race car (or cars, if you have a particularly handsome racing budget). The financial arrangements are amazingly simple: wire transfer the full purchase price before the car can be shipped. Easy.

Next, the actual shipment of the car must be arranged and arranged by air, of course, since you want the car to be in your racing garage as soon as possible so that you have time to prep it for racing. Please note that buying a race car from Michelotto doesn’t mean that the car comes prepared to your team’s standards or dersires. All of that work is yet to come, but first you must get your hands on it.

A phone call to “Spike” at First Air, in London, should do the trick. Spike handles shipping logistics for a good number of F1 teams and other racing teams and he certainly has the experience to get your 458GT from Milano, Italy to the airport of your choice in the U.S.

Risi Competizione had their 458GT flown into Houston Intercontinental Airport because the Risi Competizione race workshop is located in Houston, Texas.

The car was picked up on schedule and shipped on schedule, and ready to clear customs on Monday, the 28th of February. And then the process stalled, as a mound of paperwork, new customs regulations and a new head of Customs in Houston stalled the clearance process. It took pressure from the top in the form of an ex-State Department executive and from the bottom in the form of constantly revised paperwork and ever-increasing financial charges, to get the car released on Friday, the 4th of March. Four precious days of preparation time vanished in a bureaucratic thunderstorm, four days that cannot be reclaimed no matter how many hours in the day the team works. As Van Morrison says,

“Precious time is slipping away, you know you’re only king for a day, it doesn’t matter to which God you pray, precious time is slipping away”.

How precious? Sebring is March 19th. The trucks and team need to be at Sebring For testing on Saturday, March 12th, which means that the trucks will need to roll out of Houston, with a (hopefully) fully race prepared 458GT inside, on Wednesday, March 9th. Sebring race week starts on Monday, March 14th.

17th March 2011, 20:05

Melo, Vilander&Salo :thumb:clap:clap

17th March 2011, 20:07
Sebring 12 Hours – Audi R15+ TDI tops first practice :-D
MARCH 17, 2011 ⋅

Audi Sport Team Joest was quickest in the first official practice session for the American Le Mans Series and Intercontinental Le Mans Cup season opener at the Sebring International Raceway. Romain Dumas was the quickest Audi driver lapping the track in 1:49.253.

The two Audi R15+ TDI cars were first and second in the session, with Romain Dumas followed by Allan McNish in the number 2 car, setting a 1:50.037. Nicolas Lapierre put in the fastest lap for Oreca on the final lap of the session – a lap time that was fast enough to take third place.

Muscle Milk Aston Martin Racing was third until that last lap by Lapierre, but just after the chequered flag came out the car caught fire and stopped on the track. The fire was extinguished and Greg Pickett got out, but there was quite some damage visible on the bodywork.

The two works Peugeot’s were fifth and sixth 1.445 and 2.566 seconds behind the number 1 Audi R15+ TDI.

Quickest in the LMP2 class was the SignaTech Oreca 03 Nissan with a lap time of 1:57.991. Two seconds behind the Oreca 03 Nissan was the first of the two Level 5 Motorsports Lolas, the #055, and another second and a half quicker than the number 095.
Most LMPC cars were quicker than the LMP2 cars though, despite the teams being told on Wednesday to install smaller restrictors. PR1/Mathiasen was quickest in the class (1:56.716). Core Autosport and Woodard Racing took second and third. In total five LMPC cars were quicker than the LMP2 cars – with the exception of the SignaTech car.

Toni Vilander was quickest in the GT category. The Risi Competizione driver posted the fastest lap of the new Ferrari 458 Italia on his final lap (2:02.251) and managed to beat the two BMW M3 GT. Bill Auberlen’s fastest time was just 0.109 seconds slower than the Ferrari’s fastest time, with the car of Dirk Müller taking third this session at another 0.277 seconds. The #03 Corvette Racing of Beretta, Milner and Garcia was fourth fastest and the old-spec AF Corse Ferrari finished in fifth.
The Panoz Abruzzi finished fourteenth out of nineteen in the GT class – Ben Leuenberger explaining the car did its first proper run this week and the team is continuously improving the car. The other new car in the field – the West Racing Lamborghini was eighteenth.
Richard Lietz posted the fastest time in the GTE Am category for Proton Competition, Krohn Racing was second quickest and the Larbre Competition Corvette was third.

Alex Job Racing was on top of the time sheets in GTC. The Sweedler/Keen/Wong car went around the track in 2:07.155, 0.024 seconds quicker than the Black Swan Racing car of Pappas/Faulkner/S. Bleekemolen and 0.090 seconds quicker than the #030 NGT Motorsports.

The session was red flagged twice. Some fifteen minutes into the session it was the Performance Tech Motorsports Oreca FLM09 that went off at turn 1 and later on there was a coming together between the Alex Job Racing and GMG Racing Porsche 911 GT3 Cup cars at turn 7.

17th March 2011, 20:19
some really nice pictures of the 458GT here...


17th March 2011, 22:28
some really nice pictures of the 458GT here...


Looking good :thumb

18th March 2011, 19:45

Sebring 12 Hours – Oreca quickest in final practice

The fourth official practice session for the 59th Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring presented by Fresh from Florida took place this morning. Once again the session was interrupted by red flags, twice this time…and in the end a Peugeot was fastest.

As soon as the green flag was shown the cars made their way to pit exit and onto their first laps. But after just five minutes and the cars only just on the first timed lap it was the #44 Flying Lizards Porsche that went off at turn 6. Contact with the barrier caused the tyre wall to end up on the middle of the track, resulting in the first red flag of the session.

After the tyre wall had been put back into place the session was restarted and the teams could finally start posting fast lap times. At the halfway point of the session the number 8 Peugeot 908 was quickest, with the SignaTech Oreca quickest in LMP2 and the Flying Lizards number 45 fastest in GT.

Unfortunately at 11:23 the red flag came out again as Henrique Cisneros binned the NGT Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3 Cup into the tyres at turn 17. It took the officials 10 minutes to clear it all and with just a few minutes remaining in the session the track went green again.


From that moment on the lap times in four out of six classes started to improve. In GT Dirk Werner set the fastest time with just over a minute left, but on the final lap Gianmaria Bruni and then Frédéric Makowiecki went even quicker, Makowiecki securing the fastest lap for Luxury Racing in 2:02.576.

At the front Loďc Duval squeezed through into the lead. The French driver managed to take the Team Oreca Matmut Peugeot 908 HDi FAP around the track in 1:48.704, over a second quicker than the two Audi R15+ TDI.

Soheil Ayari remained in control in LMP2, almost two and a half seconds clear of the #055 Level 5 Motorsports Lola HPD and another four seconds to the #35 OAK Racing Pescarolo.

Richard Lietz (GTE Am), Dane Cameron (LMPC) and Sean Edwards (2:07.359) were quickest in their respective classes.

Next up: qualifying at 3 o’clock.

18th March 2011, 19:47
After two days of unofficial practice on Monday and Tuesday, and two official practice sessions now completed, the Risi Competizione team and its drivers are starting to get to grips with the beautiful, all-new F458 Italia GT.

The Houston-based team had just four days to learn about and race-prepare their new car in the workshop before it was transported to Florida, and it has been a battle against time for the Chris Riggs led crew. Yesterday was another in a long line of extended working days for the Risi mechanics as they fitted a single vent fuelling system, removed and checked the gearbox, fitted the auxiliary lights necessary for night running, re-shimmed the clutch and checked the geometry of the car. Florida’s warm temperatures are the hottest in which the F458 Italia has ever run, so the drivers were anxious to include additional cockpit cooling to the job list.

The 56-strong field has inevitably led to many red flag interruptions to practice, and some endurance running is top of the ‘wish list’ for this evening’s night practice once Jaime Melo, Mika Salo and Toni Vilander have each completed their mandatory three laps.

Toni Vilander set the quickest GT time in this morning’s practice (2:02.251), which was not bettered during the slower afternoon session. As well as tonight’s 1 hour 45 minute practice, there is an additional hour tomorrow (Friday) before qualifying in the afternoon.

Ferrari Fanfare…

To celebrate the international racing debut of the F 458 Italia GT, Risi Competizione and its fellow Ferrari entrants will be delighted and honored to welcome to Sebring Ing. Amedeo Felisa, CEO of Ferrari SpA and Marco Mattiacci, CEO of Ferrari North America.

Up to 80 Ferrari customers and guests will be at the track both Friday and Saturday to witness the four Ferrari 458s and three Ferrari 430s entered in the historic and storied 12 Hours of Sebring race. Many of those will be able to take their own Ferraris to the track on Friday evening for a special parade. They will experience first-hand the notoriously bumpy surface, fast corners, twists and turns of the 3.7 mile, 17-turn track which will be testing the latest evolution GT cars to their limits during the once-round-the-clock event on Saturday.

Learning The Code…

Observers of the Risi Competizione F458 Italia GT at Sebring will notice a new symbol on the hood of the car and the rear. That same symbol can also be seen Risi Competizione team shirts.

The symbol is called a QR code, and it’s a very advanced form of bar code. The QR code is a slick way to get information out, and is geared to the modern smart phone. If you take a photo with your smart phone of the QR code on the Risi Competizione F458, that photo can be translated into a direct link to the Risi Competizione web site. If you’re using a “smart phone”, you will need a QR code reader to decipher the symbol, which is easily obtainable and downloadable (free) in App stores.

Here’s how it works. Take a photo of the QR Code; a software program will decode the QR symbol and then provide you with information (typically a website address). Tap the website address and you will be transported to the Risi Competizione site, where you can get race updates, shop at the Risi Competizione store for official team merchandise, or see the latest team videos and photos.

New Risi Competizione Website… http://www.risicompetizione.net/ :thumb

There has been much work behind the scenes as well as on the car within the Risi team. The team’s website has been given a new, fresh look for 2011 and will be added to over the coming weeks. Check it out and let us know what you think.

The 12 Hours of Sebring will be broadcast live on ESPN3.com starting at 10:00 a.m. ET and in a highlighted tape-delay show on ABC from 12:30-2:00 p.m. ET on Sunday, March 20. You can also follow the ALMS on Twitter (almsnotes), their Facebook page or via their website at www.americanlemans.com.

18th March 2011, 19:53
:love:love:love the new 458 is looking really good. Fingers crossed get GT class win on her debut :pray


18th March 2011, 19:54

18th March 2011, 19:56
Fastest lap for defending race-winner in night practice

Peugeot Sport reasserted itself at Sebring late Thursday with the quickest time in night practice for Saturday’s 59th Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring presented by Fresh from Florida. Anthony Davidson set the fastest lap with a 1:48.901 (122.313 mph) on the 32nd of 36 laps for the Peugeot 908 that he will share with Alexander Wurz and Marc Gene.

The trio are the defending champions in America’s greatest sports car race, which serves as the opening round of the American Le Mans Series presented by Tequila Patrón and the Intercontinental Le Mans Cup. Davidson’s best lap was 0.469 seconds quicker than Audi Sport Team Joest’s Tom Kristensen. The five-time Sebring champion (a record) set a lap of 1:49.370 (121.788 mph) in the Audi R15 Plus that he is driving with Allan McNish and Dindo Capello.

The matchup between the diesel powers – three Peugeots vs. two Audis – is one of the storylines of the weekend. Each team has taken a turn on top of the time sheets during each session this week, and night practice marked the first time Thursday that Peugeot bested its German rival.

Stephane Sarrazin in the second factory Peugeot sat third in the session at 1:50.111 (120.969 mph). He is teaming with Franck Montagny and Pedro Lamy, the same trio which the 2010 ALMS with a victory at Petit Le Mans.

Extreme Speed Motorsports led the GT class for the first time with one of its Ferrari F458 Italias. Team owner Scott Sharp set the fastest lap at 2:02.380 (108.841 mph) in the car he will drive with Johannes van Overbeek and Dominik Farnbacher. Ferraris held four of the top five spots with only Corvette Racing’s Jan Magnussen able to prevent a Ferrari sweep. The Danish driver set a lap of 2:02.678 (108.577 mph) on his final lap in the Corvette C6.R that he will share with Oliver Gavin and Richard Westbrook.

Risi Competizione’s Ferrari F458 of Toni Vilander, Jaime Melo and Mika Salo sat third following Vilander’s lap of 2:02.715 (108.544 mph).

Ryan Hunter-Reay put Level 5 Motorsports on top in LMP2 for the first time this week with a lap of 1:56.276 (114.555 mph) in the open-top Lola-Honda that he is driving with team owner Scott Tucker and Luis Diaz. Hunter-Reay was 0.462 seconds ahead of Soheil Ayari in the Nissan-powered ORECA for Signatech Nissan. The ORECA had been the fastest P2 car in every session this week until Thursday night. Ayari will team with Frank Mailleux and Lucas Ordonez.

The second Level 5 entry of Tucker, Christophe Bouchut and Joao Barbosa sat third in class. Barbosa set the Lola-Honda coupe’s best time of 1:57.544 (113.319 mph).

Krohn Racing’s Nic Jonsson went quickest in GTE Am with a lap of 2:05.448 (106.179 mph) in the Ferrari F430 GT that he will share with Tracy Krohn and Michele Rugolo. Jonsson was a whisker quicker than CRS Racing’s Pierre Ehret with the two Ferrari’s separated by just 0.038 seconds. Ehret will drive with Shaun Lynn and Roger Wills.

The Aston Martin Vantage of Gulf AMR Middle East sat third in class with Fabien Giroix’s lap of 2:07.094 (104.804 mph). He will team with Roald Goethe and Michael Wainwright.

In LMPC, Ryan Dalziel turned the fastest time on his final lap of the session, a 1:58.500 (112.405 mph) in the CORE autosport ORECA FLM09 that he will drive with Jon Bennett and Frankie Montecalvo. Dalziel edged out Genoa Racing’s Dane Cameron – who had the fastest time for much of the latter half of the session – by 0.882 seconds.

WRO Racing’s entry of Luca Moro, Johnny Mowlem and Olivier Lombard sat third after Mowlem’s quick time of 2:00.233 (110.785 mph).

Leh Keen went quickest again in GT Challenge for Alex Job Racing. He turned his fast lap of 2:07.737 (104.277 mph) in the Porsche 911 GT3 Cup entry that he will drive with Bill Sweedler and Brian Wong. Keen went 0.564 seconds quicker than NGT Motorsport’s Porsche of Sean Edwards, who is driving with Carlos Kauffmann and Henrique Cisneros.

Andrew Davis was third-fastest for Kelly Moss Motorsports at 2:09.284 (103.029 mph). He is teaming with Peter LeSaffre and Bob Faieta.

Friday’s final practice session is 10:40 a.m. Friday morning. Qualifying, which will be broadcast live on ESPN3.com, begins at 2:55 p.m. ET.

19th March 2011, 19:40
Sebring atmo- under yellow flag conditions overall leader Panis Pug 908 the Gt class stands like this. so far...

leader:-s Andy Priaulx BMW M3 GT
2nd Augutos Farfus BMW M3 GT
3RD Jaime Melo Ferrari 458 GT :-D
4th Oli Beretta Chevy Corvette
4th Fisi 430 GT:-D

this is the 6th full yellow. 6 hours 50 minutes left :thumb:clap

19th March 2011, 19:41
back to greeeeeenn!!!

19th March 2011, 19:41

19th March 2011, 20:53
Kaffer is leading GT class in 430GT, Vilander 4th in 458GT. Overall leader Montangy Pug 908

20th March 2011, 11:03
Couldn't stay up until the end of the race, but not sure what happened to the Ferraris?

Looking at the timesheets, seems like the Beemers walked to a 1-2 class win in the end? :-??

Although good to see the factory Peugeot lose out to the customer Oreca team. Also good fight back from the Audis.

20th March 2011, 12:47
Just into the tenth hour overall leader Stephane Sarrazin came in for a pit stop. The mechanics changed all four tires, added fuel and changed the driver, before replacing the nose section as it had broken louvers. The additional 25 seconds required on that stop allowed the Team Oreca Matmut Peugeot 908 HDi FAP to take over the overall lead.

Pedro Lamy’s day didn’t get any better as – on cold tires – he spun right in front of Tom Kristensen, who was able to unlap himself once. David Brabham also managed to get around the #8 Peugeot which meant the works car dropped to third overall.

The lead changed briefly when Duval came in to hand over the Peugeot 908 HDi FAP to Lapierre. Highcroft Racing moved into the overall lead, but when the HPD ARX-01d also made its pit stop a few minutes later the Team Oreca Matmut car was back in the lead.

In LMP2 things went rom bad to worse for the Signatech Nissan team, Soheil Ayari came in with gearbox issues – and then returned again a lap later. Fortunately for them the Level 5 Motorsports cars were also not having the best of times. BMW Motorsport handed back the GT lead to Risi Competizione when Priaulx came in. But when Vilander came back in the BMW regained the lead of the GT class.

In the next round of GT pit stops the BMW’s made clean pit stops, while the Risi Competizione team hit trouble. The #062 Ferrari F458 had its starter battery replaced as they installed the 24-hour lights. Porsches having troubles, the #048 Paul Miller Racing car went off the track at turn 11, while the Falken Tire car was in the pit with gear box issues that looked likely to end its race.

An unscheduled pit stop for Timo Bernhard – whose car suddenly slowed – was followed by a more regular stop for Tom Kristensen.

Another team set to make a rather unscheduled stop was the BMW Motorsport team after the #55 BMW M3 GT was hit on the left rear wheel by the #04 Corvette. The left rear thread ran off the BMW just after turn 7, but the incident was declared a racing incident and no further action was taken. With the BMW into the pit Pierre Kaffer was able to bring the AF Corse Ferrari back into the top three…and soon Dirk Müller crossed the line again, lapping the sister car still in the pit.

Then in a surprise move the #099 JaguarRSR Jaguar XKR returned to the pit lane. Having done only 21 laps before being parked in the paddock the car looks pristine, but soon after it went back out on the track it turned out that it wasn’t that pristine. Da Matta returned to the pit and the front hood came off.
Risi Competizione came in again and after its pit stop the car drove off, without its headlights switched on. The Ferrari was held at the end of the pit until the lights were switched on.

Out on the track Tom Kristensen gave the Oreca Peugeot a nudge, not what the French squad wanted but fortunately nothing serious. Lapierre kept the car on the track and retained the lead. Behind him Montagny closed the gap on Pagenaud and soon after the Peugeot driver took advantage of GTC traffic to pass the Highcroft car. With almost an hour and a half left in the race there was a Peugeot 1-2 again.

Still it was far from over as the gap was still under a minute. In GT the gap between class leader Joey Hand and former BMW driver Tommy Milner were also less than a minute away from each other – so that category also far from decided.

On lap 292 Montagny pitted again, which allowed Pagenaud to move back into second position for the moment. Four laps later the Robertson Racing Ford came to a halt on the side of the track – around the same moment that Risi Competizione decided it was enough and retired their Ferrari with electrical issues.

After eleven hours Lapierre was still in the lead, his Oreca team getting ready for their final regular pit stop of the Twelve Hours of Sebring. As he pitted Simon Pagenaud moved into the lead – but the Highcroft driver would also have to make one more regular pit stop before the end of the race. At the end of the first lap after its pitstop the gap between the Oreca Peugeot and the leading Highcroft car was 16 seconds.

With forty minutes left on the clock the #8 Peugeot Sport Total Peugeot 908 came in for its final stop and Team Oreca Matmut immediately reacted with the splash and dash for its #10 Peugeot 908 HDi FAP. Both cars would not need fuel or tires anymore and could go all the way to the finish. After the stops Duval had a 31 second lead over Pagenaud and another 26 seconds over Montagny. In GT Dirk Werner managed to get past Tommy Milner to make it a one-two for BMW again.

The gap between the top three remained more or less the same and with just 25 minutes left on the clock Duval still had a 38 second lead over Pagenaud and 54 over Montagny. Way down the order – in 21st overall Ryan Hunter-Reay was leading the LMP2 category, now lightyears away from the other LMP2 cars.

With Le Mans 2010 still in his mind Hugues de Chaunac was seen praying – the Oreca boss doing all in his power (and more) to prevent a repeat from that race. But with the lap times of Duval still quicker than his rivals it still looked good.
Behind him – but in fourth overall – Allan McNish was setting fastest lap times, but the gap between the Scot and the third placed Peugeot was five laps.

In the GT category the two BMW M3 GTs also set lap times that were faster than the Corvette of Tommy Milner and thus the class victory in GT for the BMW team – the first since 1998 – was getting closer.

With just ten minutes left Duval had increased the gap to Pagenaud to 43 seconds, while Montagny had taken some time back on Pagenaud. But it would all be too little, too late as there was only a handful of laps left.

Proton Competition returned to the track with four minutes left in the race – the Porsche 997 GT3 RSR suffering from a clutch problem.

As the white flag was shown it was clear that Hugues de Chaunac could start to celebrate and after exactly twelve hours of racing it was Duval who crossed the line to take the chequered flag and win the race – the first Oreca win at Sebring since the Viper win in 2000. 31 seconds behind Duval Pagenaud clinched second place for Highcroft Racing and another 12 seconds behind it was Peugeot Sport Total taking third.

Joey Hand finished in first place taking the first win at Sebring for BMW Motorsport in this millennium – with Dirk Werner completing a BMW 1-2. Tommy Milner completed the GT podium.
In the LM GTE Am class Krohn Racing could start celebrating, with Proton Competition securing the second place with their final couple of laps.

Genoa Racing’s Dane Cameron crossed the line in first place in the LMPC category, winning, with the Core Autosport cars taking second and third place.
GTC was won by the 2010 champions Black Swan Racing. Damien Faulkner, Sebastiaan Bleekemolen and Tim Pappas continuing the work started in 2010. TRG finished in second place with the #066 car and the NGT Motorsport #030 taking third place.

Finally LMP2. This category was a disappointment here at Sebring. Only four cars and unable to last the full 12 hours. Ryan Hunter-Reay eventually won it for Level 5 Motorsports – but finishing 32 laps down on the race winner and behind three LMPC cars and several GT cars isn’t a result to be really proud of in our opinion.

20th March 2011, 12:50
Electrical issues curtail impressive debut

Date: 19 March 2011

The debut of Risi Competizione’s brand new Ferrari 458 Italia GT in the Twelve Hours of Sebring race was brought to a premature end 90 minutes before the checkered flag due to an electrical problem which caused a potential safety issue. The team took the decision to withdraw the No. 062 at 9:03 pm.

Jaime Melo
Until that point, the performance of the car – which was only delivered to the Houston-based team four days before the transporters left for Sebring – had been nothing short of impressive. It ran at the head of the ultra-competitive GT class on numerous occasions, and was rarely out of contention for a podium spot until the electrical problems occurred.

The Ferrari 458 was making its international racing debut in Florida, arriving in the USA short on testing and development time, for the most punishing race on the North American calendar.

While disappointed with the overall outcome, Team Principal Giuseppe Risi paid tribute to his team: “The team did an excellent job today in difficult conditions and with a car that’s extremely new to them. To be honest I was a little surprised we were at the front challenging for the lead for such a long time; pleasantly surprised. Our pit stops were flawless for the majority of the race but we’ve got to go back and do our homework now. The car was solid, and the drivers were happy with it so we’ve got a good base on which to build.”

Team Manager, David Sims, explains the reason for the retirement. “We were having electrical problems which, at that stage of the game, meant it was too dangerous to go on. We didn’t need to crash the car at that point. We traced if afterwards to the alternator, and it was cutting the main electrical source out which meant no headlights or power steering. We tried three types of repair but it was too dangerous to continue.”

Finn Toni Vilander was at the wheel of the Ferrari 458 Italia GT when the electrics first started causing problems: “I was running well in third, with plenty of fuel, and fuel pressure and low battery lights appeared on the dash. After half a lap I lost the power steering so had no option but to come in and we lost two laps in the pits which was quite unfortunate. Before then, I think I did our car’s fastest lap time, 2:01.9, and a long sequence of quick laps on 2.02s and the car felt good. At that point in the race we were also in a good condition fuel wise – we had half a tank more than our closest rivals and we could have had a podium finish.”

Team mate Jaime Melo of Brazil was optimistic about the car’s future, despite the result: “I think we could maybe have finished third. We need to improve, work a little bit on the set up, and try to get some straight line speed. I didn’t really imagine at the beginning of this race that we would be leading or in a position to win. I can tell you it wasn’t easy to keep up with the BMWs or the Corvettes at the end; they were pretty consistent. Every time I was in the car I just tried to do my best, and to take it easy on the tires which was one of the keys to success here. At the end of each stint there was very low grip and the track was pretty slippery. It’s a brand new car and we now understand a lot of things about it. We just need to test and develop the car, make it easy to drive and get a little bit more speed from it.”

Mika Salo, also from Finland, commented: “It’s disappointing we didn’t finish the race. Things were going quite well until then, especially for a brand new car. We decided yesterday that hard compound Michelin tires were going to be the right choice for today and, for most of the time, they were. When we had a full fuel load it caused the car to understeer, and it also took a bit more time than we would have liked for them to come up to temperature after a caution
period. And there were a lot of those!”

21st March 2011, 14:42
Great effort, still I was sorry to see the 458 not complete the race..If Im not mistaken, a 430 did win the GTE class..There was no TV
coverage in the US, so for the 1st time in a while, I was not able to watch it..good ole Speed channel....

21st March 2011, 19:35
Great effort, still I was sorry to see the 458 not complete the race..If Im not mistaken, a 430 did win the GTE class..There was no TV
coverage in the US, so for the 1st time in a while, I was not able to watch it..good ole Speed channel....

BMW 1-2, 430 third. But the 430 of Krohn racing finished first LM GTE AM class.

21st March 2011, 21:33
Great effort, still I was sorry to see the 458 not complete the race..If Im not mistaken, a 430 did win the GTE class..There was no TV
coverage in the US, so for the 1st time in a while, I was not able to watch it..good ole Speed channel....

Another reason to hate SPEED. Probably afraid it would cut into their 24/7 NASCAR coverage.

22nd March 2011, 16:03
Hey Rob, I thought a vette finished 3rd in that class..not only did I not get to see it, but I had
trouble finding the results..I will look again...
Hey Red, I dont hate speed, I just think their programmers are a bit out of touch..last year nascar had
a drop in viewers, yet speed fails to see that ramming too much down peoples yams doesnt help the sport..
Thru the off season on weekdays, speed was showing fia gt and F1 races from the past season..I couldnt believe
it..so someone there does have a bit of sense...as long as its not nascar season..
AND, Im still a bit miffed at the fact that speed totally ignores rally..theres rally all over the place...but no, we all are agonna jest keep stiken that thar
nascar down thar faces....

22nd March 2011, 18:50
Hey Rob, I thought a vette finished 3rd in that class..not only did I not get to see it, but I had
trouble finding the results..I will look again...
Hey Red, I dont hate speed, I just think their programmers are a bit out of touch..last year nascar had
a drop in viewers, yet speed fails to see that ramming too much down peoples yams doesnt help the sport..
Thru the off season on weekdays, speed was showing fia gt and F1 races from the past season..I couldnt believe
it..so someone there does have a bit of sense...as long as its not nascar season..
AND, Im still a bit miffed at the fact that speed totally ignores rally..theres rally all over the place...but no, we all are agonna jest keep stiken that thar
nascar down thar faces....

hey Nova... :oops yep my bad my man, the vette of Garcia finished 3rd.......

The race was even tighter in LM GTE Pro. The battle was between Corvette, Ferrari and BMW, the lead changes were numerous and the leading group incredibly tight. Finally, it was BMW that won the victory, with the success for Priaulx / Müller / Hand, flawless from start to finish, but also a beautiful double with Farfus / Werner / Auberlen who 35 minutes before the finish passed the Corvette of Beretta / Milner / Garcia.

22nd March 2011, 18:53
dont understand why it hasnt had tv coverage. It was on ESPN3 player and american lemans.com, but usually has coverage on speed, and Motors TV. Hope they get their fingers out and get the best racing series for sports cars in the world back on tv.

23rd March 2011, 14:28
Yea, I was actually surprised at speed..they usually make a day of it w/Varsha n the guys...I always watched...
I think the 458 def needs some development time and I was very anxious to see it in battle...mabey someone will air
the next race...

23rd March 2011, 20:09
Yea, I was actually surprised at speed..they usually make a day of it w/Varsha n the guys...I always watched...
I think the 458 def needs some development time and I was very anxious to see it in battle...mabey someone will air
the next race...

yeah hope they will air it :pray so then motors rv get it too. The Risi 458 GT was only delivered the team 4 days before the race. So all shakedown and testing was during the week before. Risi done a great effort. Team worked amazing. The car has alot of potential.