IMSA: Risi Ferrari team evaluating post-crash moves

IMSA: Risi Ferrari team evaluating post-crash moves


IMSA: Risi Ferrari team evaluating post-crash moves


With Memo Gidley starting physical rehabilitation back home in California, and his team owner Bob Stallings contemplating the next move after their Corvette DP was destroyed at Daytona last month, the other team involved in the crash, Risi Competizione, has also started their rebuilding process.
Gidley struck the back of Risi’s red Ferrari F458, driven by Matteo Malucelli, sending both drivers to the hospital just a few hours into the start of the Rolex 24 at Daytona, and while the Italian driver was soon released with no lingering injuries, the team’s No. 62 GT Le Mans entry was damaged beyond repair.
Coming off of a tough and costly season of American Le Mans Series competition – one where the Giuseppe Risi-owned outfit incurred hefty crashes at Lime Rock and Baltimore – the Houston-based Ferrari dealer could ill afford to record a third accident in such a short time span.

“We’re looking at our best options right now, and since the chassis is a total write-off, Mr. Risi is searching for a replacement,” Risi veteran and team engineer Rick Mayer told RACER. “Any way you look at it, it’s going to cost a lot of money.”

The F458’s frame was destroyed in the crash, along with the gearbox and plenty of other expensive items behind the rear firewall. Estimates to acquire a new chassis and purchase all of the assorted replacement items fall in the $500,000 range, leading Mayer and the team’s ace crew to wait for those components to appear before blending them with the salvageable pieces from the damaged car.

“The impact pushed everything forward – pushed the engine into the firewall – and broke pretty much everything around it, so there’s not much there to be saved,” he added. “If there was anything positive, it’s that after he was hit, he spun around and came back down and hit the rear again, so the front was mostly untouched.

“And it came down lightly for such a big impact; it was only one lateral g or something close to it so there wasn’t that extra vertical forces put through the car. Everything from the driver’s seat forward was pretty untouched, so we’ll do crack testing on all the suspension, the brakes are probably OK, and anything else we can look at and verify will be used.”

The question for Mayer & company centers on when the rebuild process can begin and how much time they’ll have to prepare for Round 2 at the Sebring 12 Hours on March 15.

“Time’s getting shorter every day, so we won’t make the Sebring test (on Feb. 20-21) with the red car; we’ll be there with the green [Krohn] car, and then we’ll have to push to hopefully get ready for the 12 Hours,” said Mayer. “We’ve been fast at Sebring in the past, but missing the test won’t help with most of the other teams there learning while we’re putting together a new car, but Giuseppe’s resilient and so is the team he’s assembled.”​

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