As IMSA’s most tenured Ferrari team, Houston-based Risi Competizione has helped the Italian marque develop racing versions of its GT cars for more than a decade. Giuseppe Risi’s works-affiliated program is expected to play a similar role once Ferrari’s new twin-turbo V8 F488 GTE/GTLM challenger is up and running, and as team manager Dave Sims says, they’ve been monitoring progress from afar.
“The situation we’ve heard from [Ferrari partner] Michelotto is the twin-turbo engine has been on the dyno for quite some time, and there’s the GT3 version of the car, but we haven’t seen any bodywork or the full racecar version of the car yet that we’d use in GTLM,” Sims (RIGHT) told RACER.
“You need to have good cooling for a turbo car, a good airflow exit for the radiators and the engine bay, so we know they’re working on those aerodynamics. It’s a lot different than a car with a normal V8 in the back of it, and we’re understandably excited to get our hands on it as soon as possible.”
Details have been sparse on the F488’s development for World Endurance Championship and TUDOR United SportsCar Championship competition. Sims expects to have a clearer picture on timelines for R&D and distribution after this weekend’s IMSA race at Road America.
“The WEC teams want it earlier, we need it for Daytona next January, and the ACO homologations are next month, so by then, we should see the car in its first GTE and GTLM guise,” he said. “We’ll want to send an engineer or our chief mechanic to watch it run and learn what we can so we can be prepared for the car when it’s ready to go out to teams. We should have some idea of the direction for the car after this weekend, and I know Mr. Risi wants to be on top of everything that happens when the new car comes up to speed.”
Sims also wants to run the F488 through an extended test at America’s most punishing road course to find any weaknesses before the car starts racing in 2016.
“The setup for the initial car is done in Europe and those tracks are typically smooth as glass, so we want to put our input in on what the car needs at Sebring,” he explained. “You can test all you want in Europe; as we’ve seen before, give us the car for two days at Sebring, and we’ll tell you what bent, what broke, and what needs improving before you go into production. Figuring that kind of stuff out after the car’s been sent into final production wouldn’t be preferable.”