SRT® Motorsports Post-Race Report – Petit Le Mans at Road Atlanta

October 5, 2014

BRASELTON, Ga. (Oct. 5, 2014) – SRT® Motorsports won the 2014 IMSA TUDOR United SportsCar Championship GTLM driver and team championships in the season-ending Petit Le Mans 10-hour endurance race at Road Atlanta on Saturday.

Kuno Wittmer captured the IMSA TUDOR Championship GTLM driver championship with a third-place finish at Petit with co-drivers Marc Goossens and Ryan Hunter-Reay in the No. 91 Dodge Viper GTS-R. The team’s sister No. 93 Dodge Viper GTS-R in turn captured team honors after being driven this year by Wittmer, as well as Jonathan Bomarito, Dominik Farnbacher and Rob Bell, the trio that sealed the title with a sixth-place finish Saturday.

Taking over from starting driver Wittmer, Goossens moved the No. 91 Viper into the lead late in the race’s second hour. Along with Bell, the drivers stayed in lead-pack contention for the majority of the remainder of the race and were no lower than third in the final four hours to the finish.

The No. 93 team ran as high as third in the middle stages of the race but Bomarito, Farnbacher and Bell ultimately slowed their pace to conserve a gearbox that was operating at high temperatures. The team tried to repair the problem with more than one extended pit stop and also lost time when a faulty air tank only allowed three-of-four tires to be changed in a later pit stop.

Despite the setbacks, the No. 93 Viper earned more GTLM points than any other team this season that, along with Wittmer’s driver title, gave SRT Motorsports two-of-three championships contested in the class. SRT finished second in the GTLM manufacturer championship.

The championships were the first major North American sports car road racing titles for Viper in more than a decade and came less than three years after returning to competition halfway through the 2012 IMSA racing season. Dodge Vipers last captured a major North American sports car championship in the 2000 American Le Mans Series.

Next up for SRT Motorsports is the season-ending TUDOR Night of Champions awards celebration at Cipriani 42nd Street in New York on Monday, Oct. 13.

Dominik Farnbacher, driver, No. 93 Dodge Viper SRT GTS-R

What is it like to help your teammates claim championships?

“First of all, I want to congratulate SRT Motorsports for winning the team championship and I want to congratulate my teammate, Kuno Witter, for winning the driver’s title. Very well done.

Two titles? It’s unbelievable. You see the emotion here.

We worked pretty hard for three years and finally we’ve earned the fruit from the tree. We are all celebrating the championship tonight and I can’t wait to see all my guys up on the podium.”

How was today’s race?

“The race was good until we ran into issues with our gearbox.

The gearbox temperature started to run high, so Matt (Bejnarowicz), my engineer, called me into the pits to refill the gearbox oil. I came in and it took a while to get that sorted out what the issue was, but the guys tried to fix it.

We ended up having to come in a second time and that cost us two laps. In the end, we were able to catch up and I was driving my butt off.

I’m really proud of my guys.

This is all possible because of them.

This whole program is outstanding.

These people here are my favorite people in the world.”

Jonathan Bomarito, driver, No. 93 Dodge Viper SRT GTS-R

How does it feel to win the team championship?

“Amazing day for SRT and the Viper. We won the driver’s championship and the team championship on the 93 car, but then we also podiumed with the 91 Viper. Amazing year in one of the toughest classes in North America and probably one of the toughest in the world. I feel a huge sense of accomplishment in what we achieved this year.”

Rob Bell, driver, No. 93 Dodge Viper SRT GTS-R

How was your race?

“It was tough.

It was good and we were in the hunt.

We had two agendas – one was to stay clean and get to the end and the other was to win the race. We were kind of good on both fronts until we had a gearbox problem which put us two laps down and it was difficult to recover. In the end, it was a question of staying clean.

Kuno won the driver’s championship which is great for him, but I think he’d be the first to say it’s a joint effort with JB (Jonathan Bomarito). Overall, the team has done a great job all year and they deserve to have this.”


Kuno Wittmer, driver, No. 91 Dodge Viper SRT GTS-R

How does it feel to be a champion?

“This is the first press release as a champion, right? I don’t know how I feel. It hasn’t really kicked in yet, but I’ve just been balling my eyes out for the last half hour or so.

I couldn’t have done this without any of the other people on this team.

I have five of the best teammates in the world – the best drivers in this paddock.

The crew is extraordinary.

They really show that they are a championship caliber team and they deserve all the credit, not me. They deserve the credit. The car was amazing. Everything was awesome. I’m just a little emotionally bummed that I can’t share this with Jonathan Bomarito.

We were together all year and the fact that we can’t share it is a bummer. In my heart, he’s a champion as well.”

How was today’s race?

“The race was really tough. There was a lot of adversity on track, a lot of contact with other cars and people running into each other, but we stayed very clean. We didn’t hit anybody. We had no contact with the car and no damage. It was just about being clean and having perfect pit stops. Engineering did a great job. They didn’t even touch the car during the race. It was just tire pressure – that’s all we adjusted is pressure, which speaks to how good the car was today. Here we are, you know? I think I must have ripped off all my finger nails with 10 laps to go.”

Marc Goossens, driver, No. 91 Dodge Viper SRT GTS-R

How was your race?

“It was a tough one with the traffic, but we moved through it pretty well and scored a podium. Unfortunately, I just ran a little bit short of having something for the Porsches there at the end. I think the speed was in the car, the consistency was there and I think the whole team – nothing but compliments for everybody. They gave us a very nicely prepared car for the race and a fast car engineering wise. Hat’s off to all these guys.

Unfortunately, the 93 car had some issues today, but considering it’s a 10-hour race I think we had a very good race in the 91 car. I’m so happy for Kuno winning the championship and the 93 team won also. I also want to say a big thank you to Kuno because it was great working with him today, but I also want to say that I missed Dominik. After having been with him for so long, it was kind of weird to see him drive a different car.

At the end of the day, this is one big, happy family and hopefully we can keep this momentum going and challenge for more wins and podiums.”

Ryan Hunter-Reay, driver, No. 91 Dodge Viper SRT GTS-R

How was today’s race?

“It was a long, challenging race. We had a great car. A little bit of a side step there with a left front tire failure that we had, but we got back on the lead lap after one of the restarts – I was pretty proud of that – and then I handed it over to Marc, who did a phenomenal job with it, as did Kuno.

Overall, a good day. We came away with the best possible result we could have today – those Porsches at this track were very strong today. The good thing is we have the team championship and a driver’s championship. We checked two-out-of-three off the box.”

Did it feel good to help Kuno win the driver’s title?

“It’s great to help Kuno and this team. It really is a team effort. Kuno is in this spot because there are a lot of great people surrounding him. Obviously, Jonathan deserves it as well. Kuno and Jonathan did a better job than anybody else this year and that’s because of the team they have behind them. I was glad to do my part and it’s good to see smiles on every face with a SRT hat tonight.”



Ralph Gilles, president and CEO of SRT Motorsports

How does it feel to win two championships?

“What an emotional roller coaster in an interesting way. What I love about this team is it never gives up. Everybody just put their best foot forward today.

I couldn’t be happier for Kuno. He’s somebody we literally found like a Cabbage Patch doll – a young Canadian aspiring sports car driver that’s risen like a star. He’s kept his cool as he matured. Everybody from the veterans to the young kids on the team have done a great job and I couldn’t be prouder. It’s an amazing accomplishment in only two and a half years.”

Matt Bejnarowicz, lead engineer, No. 93 Dodge Viper SRT GTS-R

How does it feel to win the team championship?

“I don’t know. It hasn’t sunk in yet to be honest with you. I’m just so proud of the team and what everybody has accomplished this year. We had a real major setback in the race and that could have done us in and they figured out a way to fix a gearbox leak, which is pretty amazing. Again, another race where we have to give it to the crew for their quick thinking and resilience. We caught a little bit of luck as well and we were able to bring it home.”

What is it like to see your longtime teammate Kuno Wittmer win a title?

“I can’t really think of another guy that’s more deserving of it. I’ve worked with Kuno for a long time. I was his race engineer for many years. He’s one of those guys that the entire paddock wants to see do well and win. It was a tough decision to split Jonathan and Kuno. It was the right decision. I’m completely happy for him because he really does deserve it.”

Bill Riley, lead engineer, No. 91 Dodge Viper SRT GTS-R

How does it feel to help SRT Motorsports grow into a championship team?

“It was great. We just had an amazing year and the team just kept working. It’s been a hard three years and it was good to get the championship. We all pulled in the same direction. It was a lot of work, a lot of work, it was a pretty aggressive schedule to get everything done. It was a lot of people working and pulling in the same direction. We went through some people to get to this group and this is a great group that all works hard and we’re all after one goal. Mission accomplished and the stamp is on the program.”

Beth Paretta, SRT director of motorsports marketing and operations

How does it feel to win two championships?

“It was a long season and a lot of hours of racing. If you add up the track time, it’s more than most other racing series. Here in the cold Road Atlanta moonlight, the thing that is keeping us warm is just the ear-to-ear smiles. We’re just so happy. It was hard work and great pit stops. We faced some challenges with getting shuffled back a couple times during the 10-hour race, but typical Bill Riley – slow and steady and sticking to the plan, but switching when needed. We did swap the driver lineup and I think that worked in our favor just as a bit of insurance. It was from a tough process that we’ve come this far, so let’s give ourselves a bit of insurance and we deserve a win. So here we are and this program is just a few years old and to be on top of this group of drivers – that doesn’t happen easily.”

Gary Johnson, SRT racing manager, SRT Motorsports

What is it like to have a championship program?

“I’m really proud of the 93 team for winning the championship. They just ran a very consistent season all year. They didn’t have as many wins as some of the other competitors, but it’s the consistency that put us on top. It just shows how professional the team is and how good the drivers are.”

 

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