Risi Competizione has announced that Rob Bell will join the team for the latest round of the American Le Mans Series this weekend at Road America.
Bell, the Le Mans Series GT2 champion, will join forced with Harrison Brix for the weekend with Brix's regular partner Patrick Friesacher having been forced out of action following an accident while testing the new A1GP powered by Ferrari car.
That accident had left the former F1 racer with a significant back injury that will leave him out of action for an undisclosed amount of time with Bell being an obvious choice to step in given his past experience of racing the Ferrari for both Virgo Motorsport and CR Scuderia back in Europe.
“I'm really pleased that Rob will be joining us for Road America,” team boss Giuseppe Risi said. “We hope that his busy racing schedule might allow him to return for further ALMS races but we'll have to work that out in due course. We all wish Patrick a speedy recovery and look forward to welcoming him back as soon as he feels able to return to the cockpit.”
Both Brix and Bell will be racing at Road America for the first time, but Bell said he was looking forward to his first run on one of the most famous circuits on the American racing scene.
“I may not have been to the track before, but I'm really looking forward to the whole experience,” he said. “I've raced against the team and its drivers a number of times so it will be great to join them this weekend and hopefully get some great results.”
Jaime Melo and Mika Salo have endured a somewhat difficult campaign to date as they attempt to try and defend the GT2 title, but having won the race at Road America last season, Melo said the pair were looking to try and go back-to-back to take another win.
“Thinking back to last year, it was quite difficult to race as it was raining, but actually my engineer did a very good strategy,” he said. “Our car was really good, balanced and consistent so I'm very confident for Road America this year.
“The longer race [four hours] may change our strategy, but really the only one we have now is go as fast as we can and don't collect any damage and risk ending up finishing in a bad position.”