The No. 62 Risi Competizione Ferrari 488 GTE co-drivers Giancarlo Fisichella, Toni Vilander and James Calado broke through for their first IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship GT Le Mans (GTLM) class victory of the season in Saturday’s Petit Le Mans presented by Harrah’s Cherokee Casino Resort, the final race of the season.
Meanwhile, the No. 4 Corvette Racing Chevrolet Corvette C7.R duo of Tommy Milner and Oliver Gavin picked up their first WeatherTech Championship GTLM title with a third-place class result alongside endurance co-driver Marcel Fassler.
The No. 62 Ferrari team had shown plenty of speed – particularly during the second half of the season – but bad luck plagued them prior to Saturday’s race. In the 10-hour Petit Le Mans, however, the Risi Ferrari spent the entire race among the GTLM front-runners, and the vast majority of it at the head of the field.
Fisichella took the lead for the final time with just under 30 minutes remaining when Dirk Mueller brought the No. 66 Ford Chip Ganassi Racing Ford GT – which was on a different strategy – onto pit lane. He brought the No. 62 Ferrari home to victory by 15.618 seconds over Mueller, securing his and the Risi team’s first WeatherTech Championship race victory since VIRginia International Raceway in 2014.
“From when we came here from the first practice we were always on the top,” Fisichella said. “The car’s balance was really good. We made some adjustments in the right direction. I think we dominated the race and the guys did a fantastic job on the pit stops. We, both of us, we drove at the maximum. I think it was a perfect race and we deserve this victory this year. It’s good for us, and Mr. Risi and the crew.”
It was Fisichella’s third victory in WeatherTech Championship competition, but the first for both Vilander and Calado. It also was the first GTLM victory of the season for Ferrari. The No. 62 team also won the DEKRA Green Award. The award recognizes the cleanest, fastest and most efficient team in the GTLM class in each race through a scoring system developed in a partnership between IMSA, the Environmental Protection Agency, the U.S. Department of Energy and SAE International.
Mueller wound up second in GTLM alongside his No. 66 teammates, Joey Hand and Sebastien Bourdais. In their most recent race together, Mueller, Hand and Bourdais combined to win the GTE Pro class in the 24 Hours of Le Mans.
The No. 4 Corvette team picked up its seventh podium result of the 11-race season to sweep WeatherTech Championship and Tequila Patrón North American Endurance Cup drivers’ titles for Milner and Gavin, team championships for Corvette Racing and manufacturer championships for Chevrolet.
“Every year, this class somehow gets more competitive,” Milner said. “This year was even that much more so. Ford came in with a great car, great drivers, and pushed us to the end. A good example of the guys who keep pushing was the Risi guys; they got the win and you could see the relief on their faces. That shows how much it means to get a win in this class. This whole year, we can think about all the good memories and moments we had. I’m proud to be a part of this team and represent Chevy and Corvette. It’s exactly what a driver wants in a car, is a chance to win. It’s good to see all those efforts were rewarded this year.”
View full results via Al Kamel Systems at Results.IMSA.com.