The man behind Ferrari 488 Risi Comp

Read time: 3 min
Published: 18 September 2020

Giuseppe Risi, Interview with Risi Competizione's Team Principal

When success is written in stars

Some people steal the air whenever they enter a room. They're so charismatic that you're forced to acknowledge their presence and influence on events and situations. This is the case when you speak of Giuseppe Risi, Team Principal of world champion GT Team Risi Competizione. The story of Mr. Risi starts in Sicily, evolves in America and revolves around that sacred kingdom called Motorsport. His Ferrari 488 GT and team is known everywhere but not so many people know that Mr. Risi is actually the man who brought Ferrari to Americans.  

But let's take a step back. After the apprenticeship in ETCC and F1 championships Giuseppe Risi crosses Enzo Ferrari's path in 1972. The legendary founder of Ferrari asked him to manage the first American direct dealership in America, namely Ferrari of Houston in Texas. At the end of 1970s Risi collaborates to the visionary project of GRID prototype with Ian Dawson, a former colleague from the Lotus period, and after a while he joined Doyle Racing in 1998 to take part to GT IMSA championship. The so called Doyle-Risi Team did very well that first year so they decided to try for one of the most challenging races of the world: the 24 hours of Le Mans. They won the LMP1 category with the first strike. After a few years Risi took over the team management renaming it Risi Competizione. The name switch came along with the change of equipment. It was the rise of Ferrari F430 era in GT competitions. Under his lead the team scored 3 more victories in Le Mans enriching the Team's palmares with other successes in top endurance circuits around the world, winning at the 24h of Daytona, Sebring and Petit Le Mans. However the 24h of Le Mans is still there, like the Sphinx. It's Mr. Risi's hidden obsession. 

"Le Mans is a true test of man, machine and team"

 The fascination of Mr. Risi towards endurance races matches with his relentless personality. He works, leads the team and wins without stopping. It's not easy to keep up with him. He says the secret is to keep the eyes on the final target. A lot can happen in a 24-hour race: excitement, happiness, stress, fatigue, stasis but the key is never being affected by those feelings. A race ends when it ends and you have to stay close to the action, which means in the box and not on the spectators' tribune. 

To Giuseppe Risi team work and car prep are paramount to win. The race starts with the prep stage. You have to have peace of mind with car preparation, the drivers' line up and the choice of spare parts. The relationship with Pakelo Lubricants joins in here. It dates back at the end of the 1990s when Risi Competizione needed a transmission oil that could keep up even during a challenging 24hours race. "With Pakelo it was a marriage made in heaven. And we never looked back."

Risi Competizione combina il meglio di Italia e America.

Da quel primo approccio il team ha affrontato innumerevoli gare nel motorsport. Eppure se si chiede a Mr. Risi qual è il suo obiettivo finale la risposta arriva puntuale e sorprendente: vincere la 24 ore Le Mans, ancora. Pur avendo vinto così tanto sul Circuito de la Sarthe c’è ancora tanto da combattere e ancora di più da vincere. Perché piano piano inizi a capire che il vero asso di Risi Competizione è proprio lui, Giuseppe Risi. E a leggere bene tra le righe si capisce se di endurance si parla, niente è più durevole del suo impegno per vincere. Per dirla con le sue stesse parole:

Risi Competizione combines the best of the two worlds: Italy and America.

From that first approach a lot has changed in motorsport. However if you ask Mr. Risi which his final goal is he says without flinching that his personal goal is to win Le Mans again. Even if he won so much on La Sarthe Circuit there so much still to fight for and to win there. At the end of the day you understand that the true ace in the hole of the team is Mr. Risi himself. And if we talk about enduring, nothing is more steady and resilient than his effort and devotion for GT races. To say it with his own words:

"Victory is a temporary relief. In the end you understand that what you've done is just creating another monster for the next victory."

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