The Risi Competizione Ferrari’s “large disadvantage” in pace compared to its rivals in the GT Le Mans class of the Rolex 24 at Daytona was “hard to take”, says James Calado.
Ferrari’s sole representative in the six-car GTLM class struggled for pace in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship season opener, with Calado, Alessandro Pier Guidi, Davide Rigon and Jules Gounon ending up fourth at the finish.
Pier Guidi had run as high as second in the latter stages after gaining ground during a caution period, but the Italian was powerless to resist either the BMW M8 GTE of Augusto Farfus and the Corvette C8.R of Nicky Catsburg, which went on to win the race.
A lack of straight line speed, owing to the Balance of Performance in the GTLM class, was cited by the team the main reason for Ferrari’s lack of competitiveness.
“Thanks to Giuseppe [Risi, team owner] for coming back [to Daytona],” said Ferrari FIA World Endurance Championship regular Calado.
“You can see he’s massively passionate and it’s such a shame that it’s not recognized properly because we’re here to race fairly and it is unfortunate that it’s been another year where we’ve been at quite a large disadvantage compared to our competitors.
“It’s a tough one to take again but we’ll continue to do our job the way we’re doing and let’s see what happens in the future.”
Pier Guidi offered a similar opinion to his full-time WEC teammate Calado, although the Italian could at least take the satisfaction of scoring the fastest lap in the GTLM class.
“It’s a bit frustrating, all the years we’ve come here with the GTLM F488 we’ve not had a fair BoP,” said Pier Guidi. “I really feel bad for Giuseppe, he’s so passionate and so much money and effort is spent to race for attrition and hope for others to falter so you can move up.
“I hope one time we will have a level playing field to compete in Daytona.”
Despite the Ferrari’s lack of raw pace, Risi enjoyed a fairly trouble-free run, only delayed by a brief spin and drive-through penalty for Calado after the Briton got tangled up with an LMP3 car at the Bus Stop chicane, and a second penalty for pitting while the pits were closed.
Team chief engineer Rick Mayer said: “We were not competitive again this year. The others all had a power advantage to our Ferrari. That’s just an imbalance in the rules and out of the team’s control.
“It was a race of attrition and luck for us, which didn’t go our way. The car balance was good; all the drivers were happy with the general car and we had great pit work and no strategy errors, but no pace. All the drivers and the crew did a great job.
“It’s rough to stay up 36+ hours knowing you’ll only move forward if others have issues, makes for a long two days.”
Risi has yet to confirm any further plans for the rest of the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship season.
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