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13/06/2008 - Back To Le Mans...Finally!

2008 - Le Mans Team

The drivers, teams and hundreds of thousands of spectators are gathering at Le Mans this week for the 76th running of the world's greatest sportscar race. This year the flag will drop at 3:00 pm local time (8:00 am CT) on Saturday June 14 and 24 hours of high speed competitive racing will begin. It's guaranteed that every emotion known to man will be experienced, somewhere, up and down the pitlane, and there will be thrills and spills, controversy, excitement, joy and despair as the 55 entries take to the 13.629 km (8.47 mile) circuit.

Much of the track still utilises public roads creating a unique mixture of road surfaces, fast and slow corners and track conditions. The length of the circuit means that the weather can change dramatically and inconsistently, it can be dry on one part of the circuit and very wet at another. Add in the elements of racing through the night and the fastest cars reaching top speeds greater than 215 mph and it becomes clear what a challenge for both man and machine this event creates.

In 2007, 251,000 spectators saw the leading car complete no less than 3,125 miles in the 24 hours, that's about the same distance from the closest points between the USA and the UK!

The race has two divisions and four classes. The Prototype division has two classes, LMP1 and LMP2. This is for open or closed, purpose-built racing cars and the two classes regulate areas such as engine power, minimum weight and tire widths.

In the GT division there are again two classes, GT1 and GT2. These are cars based on road cars, with a recognizable silhouette shape, and also split based on power and weight. GT2 cars are permitted fewer modifications than GT1.

The competition in the GT2 category is intense, with the race's two most successful manufacturers being well represented – Ferrari and Porsche. Along with the two Risi entries, there are no less than five other Ferrari 430 GTs and they are competing against three strong Porsche 911 GT3RSRs and two Spyker Laviolettes – the Dutch manufacturer rounding out the class.

Flying Lizard Motorsports and last year's GT2 winners, IMSA Matmut, are expected to provide some of the closest opposition in their fast and well-proven Porsches, while the fight amongst the Ferraris will be captivating. The 430s of Virgo Motorsport, BMS Scuderia Italia and AF Corse all have professional driver line ups which potentially pose a threat to the dominance shown by Risi last year. With some expected rain showers and cooler conditions thrown into the mix, only time will tell the outcome.

Two other major auto manufacturers will be battling hard throughout the entire 24 hours for the LMP1 class and overall victory. Audi have dominated this event in recent years but Peugeot have proved quickest so far in 2008 and the two diesel powered entries (three cars from each team) will provide a fascinating content this year.

The event literally lasts for a week, with tech (over here called scrutineering) in front of large crowds in the centre of Le Mans itself on Monday and Tuesday. The Risi cars passed through on Tuesday morning with no problems, a testament to the tremendous work put in by the Risi team after the #83's accident on the official test day here two weeks ago.

The first track action starts on Wednesday with practice and qualifying starting at 7.00 pm (midday Houston time). Two 2-hour sessions follow, finishing at midnight. This is repeated again on Thursday. Friday is a day without track time but the famous drivers' parade takes place through Le Mans between 6.00 pm and 7.00 pm. Ten thousand people line the streets and the drivers are driven through the middle of them all on the back of vintage cars, signing photographs, autograph cards and enjoying the notoriety and adulation that comes with being a participant in this historic event.

Note to Editors:

Risi Competizione is a Houston-based racing team, wholly owned and directed by Giuseppe Risi, which has been very successful in sports car racing in both Europe and the United States. In addition to racing Ferraris and Maseratis, Risi Competizione also provides competition development, management, and support services.

Tracy W. Krohn, of Houston, Texas, continues his successful racing relationship with Risi Competizione in 2008, and will run in a Ferrari 430GT for three ALMS races (Sebring, Petit Le Mans and Laguna Seca) and the 24 Hours of Le Mans. Krohn is also a team owner/driver of the two-car Krohn Racing Daytona Prototype team in the Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series (finishing 4th and 7th overall at the Daytona 24 Hours).

The Official Sponsors of Risi Competizione, 2006 and 2007 ALMS GT2 Team Champions, are Boost/Motorola, Michelin, Freescale, Ferrari of Silicon Valley, Ferrari Financial Services, Boardwalk Autogroup, Delphi and Ferrari of Houston.

For Risi Competizione images, copyright free for editorial use, please go to our website, www.risicompetizione.com. On the home page click any link for 'media login' and enter the password: risi2008 (lowercase, no spaces). For high resolution photos please contact fmiller@risicompetizione.com or dpierce@ferrariofhouston.com

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