Dual Podiums for Dodge Viper SRT® GTS-Rs at Canadian Tire Motorsports Park
Post-Race Report: 14 July 2014
SRT® Motorsports recorded their second-consecutive dual podium when the team’s Dodge Viper SRT GTS-Rs finished second and third at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park in the sixth event of the IMSA TUDOR United SportsCar Championship’s GTLM season on Sunday.
After taking second and third two weeks ago at New York’s Watkins Glen International circuit, the Viper entries again shared the podium for the team’s third-ever dual podium result. This double – a second-place result by the No. 93 Dodge Viper SRT GTS-R and third by the No. 91 – also gave the team shared podiums in back-to-back seasons at the Canadian Mosport track.
In both last year’s Mosport race and recently at The Glen, the No. 91 Viper of Dominik Farnbacher and Marc Goossens placed second while the team’s No. 93 Dodge entry with Jonathan Bomarito and Kuno Wittmer finished third.
With Sunday’s double podium, the team flipped its result with Bomarito and Wittmer taking runner-up honors and the No. 91 finishing third.
Sunday’s event could have very well produced a Viper victory too as pole-winning driver Wittmer led the race’s first 41 laps. The Canada native was running up front and preparing to pit when he was run off course by a fellow GTLM competitor. Wittmer quickly recovered and returned to the track running second.
Despite the incident and following the pit sequence, Bomarito maintained second place and chased down the eventual race winner through two stints, setting the fastest GTLM race lap in the process, but ultimately settled for second at the finish as time ran out in the two hours and 45-minute sprint race.
Farnbacher, who started the No. 91, quickly climbed to fourth from eighth during his opening stint after staring seventh. The German pitted in the same sequence as the No. 93 and his teammate Goossens took over and ran the entirety of the race’s second half en route to the third-place finish.
The Glen result came almost exactly a year after the team’s first double-podium finish at Mosport, which propelled the team to a summer surge that included their first win and six podiums over four races. With this year’s Mosport double coming on the heels of The Glen dual podium, the team has now tallied four podiums and one pole position over two events.
The Dodge Viper SRT GTS-R podiums were just part of a successful day at Mosport for SRT Motorsports. The No. 33 ViperExchange.com Dodge Viper SRT GT3-R of Ben Keating and Jeroen Bleekemolen won from the pole after a thrilling last-lap pass. The victory was the first in the IMSA TUDOR Championship for both drivers, as well as the Riley Technologies-built Viper GT3-R.
SRT Motorsports moves on to compete in the Brickyard Grand Prix at Indianapolis Motor Speedway on Friday, July 25. The event on the 2.534-mile circuit is the seventh race for the GTLM class in the 2014 season.
The Indy race will be followed by a return to Wisconsin’s Road America, the site of SRT Motorsports’ first victory since returning to competition in 2012.
Dominik Farnbacher, driver, No. 91 Dodge Viper SRT GTS-R
How was your race?
“It was difficult at the beginning. I had a problem getting the tires up to temperature and then we had a massive amount of understeer, so it was really hard for me to make up positions in the first couple of laps. But after I got some heat in them, it was actually pretty fun and I could pick up positions spot-by-spot until I ended up in third when I pitted. I told the team to change the tire pressures to help Marc with the understeer in the beginning. It looks like the track changed quite a lot, because I think he was dealing with oversteer. We’re happy – we’re third and our sister car was second. We earned great points for the championship, but it’s very hard to finish first.”
How do you feel about the strength of the Viper team?
“We’re right up there, but it just takes a little bit more luck some time to get that next spot. We all did a good job and it’s routine. You can see the routine with the team now. The pit stops were lightning fast and the crew was great. They were the quickest in the field today and I’m very proud of those guys, they work very hard. It’s a bummer for me because my qualifying time was not very good. I think if I would have qualified in a better spot, I would have been somewhere further up the chart and maybe we could have made the winners’ lives a little tougher.”
Marc Goossens, driver, No. 91 Dodge Viper SRT GTS-R
How was your race?
“It was a tough race for the 91 car. Obviously, we didn’t perform as well in qualifying as we had hoped for. We had a P7 start on a track that is very difficult to overtake on. We decided to make a couple of changes to make our way through traffic in the beginning of the race, which helped because Dominik made his was up to third. Five laps into the race he started moving forward. Our car was on that fine edge of being okay and being too loose and hard to drive and that resulted in us working up to P3, but not being able to get any closer to the leaders. At the end of the day, I think we should be happy with a double podium again. Unfortunately, the 93 had an incident just before the driver change and I think they could have won. Second is still okay and I think we have to be pleased with our third place.”
Ralph Gilles, president and CEO of SRT Motorsports
How do you evaluate today’s race?
“It was a pretty impressive run for our Vipers. It was a good, solid performance with no technical issues whatsoever. The race was pretty good. We had an unfortunate incident with Kuno where he got run off a little bit, but the driver probably didn’t see Kuno. We recovered nicely. The gap stayed pretty steady throughout the whole race and I’m really happy with a double podium again. And I’m really, really happy for the Viper Exchange team and their first win.”
Do consecutive dual podiums speak to the growth of the team?
“We’re getting some pretty consistent results now. We have our game down, so to speak. The pit stops are clean. The cars are really fun to drive. The drivers are coming out of the cars in good spirits. Now, it’s a matter of putting it all together for a win. I’m happy with the consistent performance with double podiums two races in a row. I can’t complain about that.”
Bill Riley, lead engineer, No. 91 Dodge Viper SRT GTS-R
How was the race for the No. 91 Viper?
“It was a tough one. When they go green like this, you have to be up front the whole time. We tried some stuff in qualifying on the 91 Viper that didn’t work out, so we didn’t qualify up front and in the race the car wasn’t where it needed to be. Dominik and Marc kept it up there and kept wrestling with it and they ended up with a podium, so all credit to them. We didn’t really give them the car we should have.”
How do you feel about the entire Viper program?
“As long as we keep everything headed in the right direction, we’re going to do well. Obviously, this is a big step forward for the GTD program. It wasn’t as good as we would have liked for the GTLM program, but it’s the next best thing. We have some momentum behind us now and we’ll just keep rolling.”
Kuno Wittmer, driver, No. 93 Dodge Viper SRT GTS-R
How was your race?
“I think we had a pretty good car the whole time. I got off to a good start and fought against the No. 3 car, which was pretty quick with Jan (Magnussen) behind the wheel and we were able to hold them off. As my stint went along it was good, but at one point the 56 car came out on cold tires in front of me and I just went to pass them and he went ahead and pushed me off the track. I understand he wanted to keep his position, but I was pitting anyways. It was just a low percentage move on his part and, unfortunately, we took the brunt of it. I think we still scored a great position – second and third place is very good. It’s a double podium again, so this wave of momentum is just going to keep rolling along which is very, very good.”
What did you think about your teammate’s run?
“Jonathan was really on it at the end. I’m really happy to have him as a teammate. At the end, it was just tough because it was all about traffic. I guess we had the pace, but the traffic didn’t play to our advantage today. We had a pretty good car that could have won. If it wasn’t for the incident during my stint or the traffic, I think we could have won this one.”
Jonathan Bomarito, driver, No. 93 Dodge Viper SRT GTS-R
How was your race?
“It was good, but it was a tough, physical race with long stints and green flag running the whole time. You just have to manage tires and traffic. Traffic was really difficult. Kuno had a great stint, but had an unfortunate incident with another car right at the end and it knocked off a couple of dive planes on the right front. This is a downforce track and it hurt the balance of the car a little bit, but we were still able to run the numbers and make one final charge at the end.”
How did you traffic impact the end of the race?
“We had a group of lapped GTLM cars that were in a battle. The leader got caught up behind them and I saw it, so I put my head down and had a string of three laps that were really good together. We got that gap down, but then I had to pass them and the gap grew again. It is really tough racing and you’ve got to be close. It was a good day for us. The pit crew was great and my hat is off to them. They’re doing a great job and they made a big gain on pit lane this weekend. We just need to keep working like we are. We’re ready for that win and we’re a little disappointed because we know we’re there and we know we’re capable and we’ll get it soon. Momentum is definitely with the team.”
Matt Bejnarowicz, lead engineer, No. 93 Dodge Viper SRT GTS-R
How was your race?
“You always want to hit that top spot, but seeing a Viper in second and third – and first in GTD – how can you complain about that? We had a great day and we have a great team. All three teams did a great job and I’m proud of everybody. On the 93 Viper, we’ve worked hard on pit stops and strategy since Watkins Glen. We were diligent all weekend long with practice and it paid off. We probably had one of the best pit stops we’ve ever had at the end of the race. The crew did everything they needed to put us in position, but we just had that early incident and went off and damaged the front end. The car was a little handicapped, but more than anything I think we just lost that gap. The competition is so tight in the GTLM class that if you lose that gap the cars are too close and you can’t gain it back.”