Risi Competizione, the Houston, Texas-based IMSA TUDOR United SportsCar Championship (TUSC) series racing team, famous for the success of a series of red No. 62 Ferrari race cars, is back at Austin’s Circuit of The Americas (COTA) with the second year of their innovative Young Journalists program.
The journalistic initiative puts college students in the Media Center for this weekend’s Lone Star Le Mans race weekend, which includes both the 6 Hours of Circuit of The Americas FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC) race and the IMSA TUDOR United SportsCar Championship Lone Star Le Mans event. Both races will be conducted on Saturday, September 19 at COTA, home of the F1 U.S. Grand Prix, in Austin.
The program invited four (4) young journalism students from the University of Texas School of Journalism for an intensive international press experience. The students are working as journalists and photographers covering the three-day race weekend that stretches from September 17-19.
The program has been organized with the support and cooperation of the University of Texas School of Journalism, Circuit of The Americas, IMSA (International Motor Sports Association) and the FIA (Federation Internationale de l’Automobile). IMSA is the sanctioning body/series administrator and organizer for the TUSC series. The FIA is the international sanctioning body for the World Endurance Championship (WEC) race. The two races create a doubleheader event, showcasing top of the line sports car racing on a global scale.
The concept behind the Young Journalists innovative program, originated by the Risi Competizione team, is to provide to journalism students a total immersion experience in the real world of international sports car racing.
Throughout the weekend the students will work on writing stories, social media, photography, and other public relations and communications assignments. They will produce projects based on their own ideas and also on assignments from the program sponsors.
“The program is designed to bring the young journalists into a professional, world- class racing event and to provide them with expert level access and the real-time experience of producing work at a high level while covering the event,” said Donald Pierce, Business Manager at Risi Competizione, who organized the program in association with the other sponsors. “It’s a real world learning experience and it all takes place under the deadlines and pressures that professional journalists face when covering big events. It will also expose the students to a wide range of journalists, public relations and media executives, and photographers.”
Throughout the weekend, the project sponsors have organized a series of short seminars about various aspects of professional journalism, ranging from workflow to press room etiquette. Professional level exposure is one of the main components of the program.
“This program gives us a chance to create opportunities in journalism for students at the University of Texas,” said Giuseppe Risi, Managing Director of Risi Competizione. “We are headquartered in Texas and we are always looking for ways to give back to our home state. This initiative is one way we can create opportunities where none existed before. We’ll be very interested to see and publish their perspective on motor racing. The way the next generation looks at our sport is interesting to us and other teams.”
The four students selected for the program are: Michelle Sanchez, Rachel Wenzlaff, Taylor Wiseman, and Daulton Venglar. The students are under the supervision of Professor Wanda Garner Cash, Associate Director of the School of Journalism at the University of Texas, and Professor Kevin Robbins, University of Texas; Jarin Wadiwalla, Public & Media Relations Coordinator at Circuit of The Americas; and Nate Seibens, Communications Director for IMSA. Barbara Burns of BurnsGroup PR, who handles Media Relations for Risi Competizione and Fiona Miller, Media Relations for the FIA WEC, are also assisting with direction of the project. CANON Photo is providing photographic support for the students.