Risi Competizione Looking Firmly Ahead For Lime Rock Park
Houston, TX – July 2, 2013. The long break since the last ALMS round in May is now over and the season resumes at the scenic Lime Rock Park circuit in Lakeville, Connecticut. Houston-based Risi Competizione is aiming to put the first part of the season firmly behind them and start anew at this fourth round of the 10-race season.
Risi Competizione’s chief engineer, Rick Mayer, looks ahead to the event and details some of the areas facing the team and its drivers Olivier Beretta of Monaco and Matteo Malucelli of Italy.
The entry: We’ll have 34 cars at this small 1.47 mile track, making practice and the race a bit congested. Clear laps will be few and far between with a quick GT lap of around 51 seconds. Traffic is always a big issue here, especially in the chicane which has been a major contributor to full course cautions since we changed to this configuration. The faster cars don't want to be stuck behind the slower cars through the chicane and occasionally make risky moves entering that corner.
Track particulars: We’ll run the same circuit configuration as last year and the track should still be smooth so bumps won’t be an issue. It will still be all right turns with one left plus the chicane. The chicane curbs are important for a quick lap time. Turn 1 will be the biggest passing opportunity, and the hill leading down onto the front strait will be important to get a good run onto the strait. This corner is not flat (full throttle) for GT cars.
Setup: We’ll try and run as close to the legal GT limit of 55mm in ride height as we can. We may have to add tilt if we touch too much on the downhill T7. Depending on the car, you’ll also run some cross weight; normally more right front weight which will let you trail brake longer (or more aggressively) into T1 without inside front wheel lockup. It also helps reduce the mid to exit understeer on right hand corners. We’ll run the cars a bit asymmetric as there’s only one left hand turn.
We’ll spend some time optimizing the chicane as it’s important for lap time. It goes without saying you run maximum down force here, top speed is quite low, about 150 mph. For GT cars that means running as much wing (rear down force) as you can balance with the front downforce. More downforce at Lime Rock increases the exit speed in the last corner and actually increases the front strait top speed. Trimming aero actually reduces top speed here. The two key corners are the first and last; you need a good exit off the last for maximum speed on the strait and good braking and entrance stability into Turn 1 to overtake.
Competition: Any of the five manufacturers could win here: Ferrari, Corvette, Porsche, Viper or BMW. Top speed doesn't come into play as the track is so small and the straits short; it’s all about getting the setup right with the limited test time. The teams will only have two one-hour sessions to sort out the set-up, 90 minutes less than a normal sprint race practice time.
The race: Calling the race (race strategy) with the cautions is tricky here. The green lap is so short that the caution laps are only 100 seconds. It takes roughly 30 seconds to traverse pit lane, 26 for fuel and around 8 for tires. Not a lot of change left from the 100 seconds, and where you come out on track all depends on where you are relative to the pace car when the pits open. You can easily go down a lap if you get it wrong, even on a good stop. Each stop isn’t automatically full service if you want to stay on the lead lap.
We’ll start with a base setup and hope that it’s close to perfect! It’s only Matteo who is new to this track and he’s shown at all the races so far that he doesn’t need long to get up to speed. The team is coming off a Laguna race to forget and both drivers have since raced at Le Mans; let’s just hope our momentum changes. We’ve had good cars this year but remain a little short on luck.
The American Le Mans Northeast Grand Prix will take place on Saturday, July 6. It is the fourth round of the American Le Mans Series presented by Tequila Patrón and the 2 hour 45 minute race will begin at 3:05pm. ESPN will be showing live qualifying coverage on Friday, July 5 and live race coverage on ESPN2 between 3-6pm ET on Saturday, July 6, For countries outside the USA there is live-steaming on www.americanlemans.com and the race will be shown live on Motors TV.