Rolex 24 Press Conference Transcripts: GTD Pro Winning Drivers

Daniel Serra

Davide Rigon

Alessandro Pier Guidi

James Calado

Media Conference

THE MODERATOR: We have Rolex 24 at Daytona, appropriately enough, car No. 62, Risi Competizione Ferrari 296 GT3, Daniel Serra, Davide Rigon, Alessandro Pier Guidi, James Calado.

This is the second Rolex 24 at Daytona win for Risi, the first was in 2002 in the SRP 2 class with a Lola B2K/40.

This is the second Rolex 24 win for Alessandro. He won the GTD class here in 2014, which is also the last time Ferrari won the Rolex 4. This is Ferrari’s 10th win in the Rolex 24; first Rolex 24 win for Daniel, Davide, and James. James and Alessandro also won the 2023 24 Hours at Le Mans overall.

Gentlemen, congratulations.

Q. Gentlemen, second win for Risi in history, but this is obviously something different. It’s the first win for Risi and Ferrari together. I just want to ask you how special is it to be a part of that?

ALESSANDRO PIER GUIDI: Well, it’s amazing. First of all, I think we deserved this victory. We were also trying a lot of times to achieve this victory. We finished twice second, and it’s a long time partnership between Risi and Ferrari, and we’ve been with us and with the other drivers very close many times, but never been able to achieve this victory.

Finally we get it. If you see in the footage after the checkered flag and the picture is amazing. Everyone was crying, happy, and I went and I give a big hug to Giuseppe, because all the passion he put in here in this effort, he really deserved this.

Q. James, what does it mean to get this win here less than 12 months after Le Mans?

JAMES CALADO: Yeah, I mean, it’s too big sport scar races, and to tick both of them off in a short period of time is obviously an amazing achievement. It’s really down to Ferrari and the team and Risi for this weekend, and of course for Le Mans. The whole group together with the drivers is amazing, and to be part of that, I feel very lucky.

Yeah, this race was pretty much how we wanted it to go. The car was great to drive, the balance, and the performance was definitely a lot better than last year.

To get that win for Risi and especially for Giuseppe like Ale said, I’m proud for him because he’s wanted that for a long time.

Q. Anything else, Ale, about putting two 24-hour wins together?

ALESSANDRO PIER GUIDI: It’s even difficult to dream, and we did it. Actually six months ago, we achieved this amazing historic victory in Le Mans, and now we are back here with Risi and Ferrari to complete another 24, to achieve another amazing success.

It was a long time that Ferrari is trying to win this race, and to win too easily is quite surprising they never won together. They won so much together, but never this race. Finally for Giuseppe and Ferrari together, we achieved this victory, we must be all proud of this.

Q. I have a speculation question. Given the good relation between Risi and Ferrari and Italy, what’s your personal opinion maybe in a couple of years from now on we will see you all in a Ferrari GTP here at the Rolex 24?

ALESSANDRO PIER GUIDI: For me it would be a dream come true. I really would like to compete in the GTP class here and let’s see. Of course it’s not — the game is not in our hands. We cannot decide anything. But I would be really happy.

Q. James, we just heard from Porsche and a very different result for the 963 from last year’s result. Still a relatively new car. What progress have you seen and felt with that car in the past 12 months?

JAMES CALADO: Yeah, I mean, we’ve had a year to develop. There was a lot to learn. This car wasn’t as easy to get right as the 488. We took a different approach. A lot of it’s different, not only the way it’s made, but the fact that we got parts on the car which we can quick change which the 488 didn’t.

I think the biggest thing we found is the setup of the car is completely different to last year, and of course some small BOP changes and all this, this helped us competitive last year — last year we were nowhere. We were two seconds off and of course it was a brand new car, it was its first race.

But it’s won the 24 hours of Nürburgring, and we took a lot from that, and GT World Challenge and things like that. We’re still part of, let’s say, the development process. More Daniel than anyone.

But yeah, the car was nice to drive this week, even from the roll we knew — I said it about Le Mans, you always feel like you’ve got a good car underneath you, and it paid off.

Q. Davide or Daniel, big step forward for GTD Pro this year. Tell us a little bit about the level of competition you guys are experiencing the last couple of weeks here at Daytona?

DAVIDE RIGON: Yeah, it’s great to see the GTD Pro with more cars and more competition. I’ve always said the IMSA is one of my favorite championships, and I have to say I did a few last year. I did WEC European series stock car in Brazil, because I still remain in Brazil.

And IMSA is one of my favorites. I like the championships. I like the tracks, the rules, the atmosphere, in the paddocks, so it’s nice to see the GTD Pro with more cars and more competition.

I hope it’s getting even bigger and more cars for the next years.

ALESSANDRO PIER GUIDI: Yes, of course I agree with Daniel. Of course we are happy to at the end the level is always so high. Last year it was just the 7 car, but the level was super high.

This year will be even higher, and I agree with Daniel, it’s so nice to deal with the fight at the end and the rules in this championship, and we liked also so much the track that they have here in the U.S., and together with the team at Risi it’s like a second family.

Yeah, of course Giuseppe, all the Ferrari group, we are really pushing to achieve like in 2022 the championship. We will do our best.

Q. James, quite a way to kick off your 10th year with Ferrari. Could you remind us what it’s like to win in a Ferrari?

JAMES CALADO: Yeah, thanks for reminding me how old I am. Yeah, getting on. It’s been 10 amazing years which have gone by so fast. I remember the first one which was very, very special. But every time you win in a Ferrari, it’s hard to put into words. You get this special feeling.

There’s no words really that put it into perspective. Not to say that we’re always under pressure being Ferrari drivers, so we need to win.

We always want to improve. We win, but then we move on and we try and improve for the next one. That’s the good thing about this team. We’re all one big family. I’m in a very happy position to go to renew my contract.