My first taste of motorsports with Risi Competizione
If you are going to experience motorsports, what better way than kicking it off at the 24 Hours of Rolex in Daytona, Florida. I joined Ferrari racing team Risi Competizione, and legendary team owner Giuseppe Risi.
Everyone told me how exciting the race was, but that was an understatement; nothing can quite prepare you for being pit side for this world-famous endurance race.
Landing in Orlando, I grabbed my rental car and made my way to Daytona Beach, which only heightened my anticipation. Still, then it was the Daytona International Speedway that took center stage coming down the road. Larger than life, it was like seeing Wrigley Field for the first time...just something I will never forget.
I pull in and grab my IMSA credentials and make my way to meet the team. Without team manager Anna Lenzi meeting me at the entrance, I would have never found Risi Comp. The entire place is a maze of motorhomes, chainlink fences, trailers, and golf carts going a million miles an hour zipping through people.
Once I arrive to the garage area, the nice thing about Rolex is that they have a covered spot provided to the teams, and then across are the team's giant 18-wheeler trucks that store the car and equipment. The Risi Competizione trucks also serve as a warm place to thaw out and office space.
Something you never think about is Florida getting freezing temps...well, they did, and it just so happened to be the weekend of the race. With 30-degree weather down by the track, it feels about 10 degrees and makes 24 hours seem like 48 hours. Needless to the adrenaline and excitement are what power you through staying up for 36 hours straight, as that is pretty much what happens for teams if you factor in getting up early to prepare for the race and staying up late to pack up and get moved out that same night from the track.
But in the end, this was the most fantastic race to experience my first time - as our Ferrari was in a fierce battle towards the end, making its way to the finish line. With two Porsche GT3's making contact and eventually spinning one off the track, it made way for our team to swoop in and take 2nd place.
I am officially addicted to motorsports now; from the rush of excitement to the sounds of the cars taking off, I find what I love most is watching the team and everything they do behind the scenes.
With Rolex and Sebring under my belt, my next race is the 6 Hours of The Glen in June. Stay tuned.