After nearly a month of speculation, we have learned that Olivier Beretta and Corvette Racing have parted ways after a successful eight-year run. Risi Competizione announced this morning that the 42 year old ex-Formula 1 driver will join the team as one of six drivers in the two Ferrari 458 Italias entered in the Rolex 24 at Daytona.
Beretta will be driving the No. 63 Ferrari 458 Italia at the 50th anniversary Rolex 24 at Dayona with Brazilian Raphael Matos and Ferrari test driver Andrea Bertolini. In the No. 62 Ferrari will be defending European Le Mans Series GT champions Gianmaria Bruni, Giancarlo Fisichella and Toni Vilander.
“I left Corvette Racing in November, and when I was offered the chance to drive a Ferrari at Daytona with Risi, I didn’t have to think about it for one second,” Beretta said. “When I was a kid my uncle had a Ferrari Daytona [365 GTB/4]. It was riding in this car that gave me my first feeling of speed, and don’t forget I am half Italian.”
There is still some speculation as to who and where Beretta will drive for after the Rolex 24 and if his deal is with Ferrari or Risi. Risi has yet to confirm its 2012 plans after the Rolex 24 but its widely believed the team will be racing in either GRAND-AM or the ALMS. One name missing from the Ferrari Rolex 24 roster that most ALMS fans will recognize is Jaime Melo, whose fate with the team was probably sealed by wrecking his Ferrari 458 on the warm-up lap at the 2011 Petit Le Mans.
Olivier joined Corvette Racing in 2004 and over the eight year stint had four class wins with the team at the 24 Hours of Le Mans, most recently in 2011 in GTE-PRO. He is the most successful driver in ALMS history with 41 career victories and 23 career poles through 2010 and with team mate Oliver Gavin, the two “ollies” won three straight ALMS GT1 championships from 2005-07.
The speculation is that Corvette Racing’s endurance driver Antonio Garcia will move to the full time seat despite previous reports that he’ll be driving full time for the Spirit of Daytona GRAND-AM team. At this time, there has been no official confirmation from Corvette Racing on the driver lineups for 2012.
Bondurant School of High Performance Driving