Risi Competizione topped the GT class on both days of the American Le Mans Series (ALMS) pre-season test at Sebring International Raceway, the Houston based team making a triumphant return to the series they departed after the 2011 season.

Olivier Beretta and Matteo Malucelli shared driving of the team’s new Ferrari 458 Italia during the testing, setting a best time 2:01.645 on the first day of testing (Thursday) improving to beneath the 2-minute barrier the following day by recording a lap of 1:59.862 in the afternoon session on the track that will host the 12 Hours of Sebring next month to begin the 2013 American Le Mans Series.

“The test went exceptionally well, and the new Ferrari was very impressive straight out of the box,” enthused team manager David Sims. “Considering that we only took delivery of it two days ago, it was very strong and we had no mechanical issues at all.  Both drivers were on the mark with lap times and very similar in speed.  Matteo, in particular, being new to the ALMS, just quietly got on with it and had no problems at all.  We’re very impressed.”

“We worked through a long, pre-planned programme of set up changes and with both drivers we completed around 1250 kilometres of running over the two days.  As we’ve also got some new mechanics with us this year, we also took the opportunity to do wheel change practice every time we came into the pits, and that was getting real quick towards the end.  All in all it was a very satisfying two days of testing, and it’s given us renewed confidence for the 12 Hours of Sebring in a month’s time.”

“It’s great to have Risi back and another Ferrari in the championship,” said Beretta, who was driving for rivals Corvette Racing when Risi last competed at Sebring. “Most people would think that Sebring is an endurance race and that we have time to make up for mistakes. But it is a sprint race from the first lap to the end so testing is very important here. We have seen many times cars in the GT class finish the race on the same lap and, a lot of times, close together.  Everyone wants to win this race.”