STRONG PERFORMANCE AT ROAD AMERICA CEMENTS TITLE CHASE.
ROAD AMERICA, LAKE ELKHART - 10 AUGUST 2014
SRT® Motorsports finished third and fourth with its pair of Dodge Vipers SRT GTS-Rs in a competitive yet caution-plagued Road Race Showcase at Road America on Sunday, the eighth round of the IMSA TUDOR United SportsCar Championship for the GTLM class.
Drivers Jonathan Bomarito and Kuno Wittmer pressured the runner-up finishers to the checkered flag for a third-place showing in the No. 93 Dodge Viper GTS-R. The result marked the two-Viper team’s sixth podium finish in the last four races. In total, SRT Motorsports has a GTLM class leading eight podium finishes this year, including a victory in the Brickyard Grand Prix at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, three runner-up finishes and four third-place showings.
The No. 91 Dodge Viper SRT GTS-R of Dominik Farnbacher and Marc Goossens finished fourth after leading early in the race. Farnbacher moved to the front on lap two and held the top spot for the next 16 circuits around the 4.048-mile Road America road course.
Goossens also set the fastest GTLM lap of the race in the No. 91 with a time of 2:05.267 just minutes from the checkered flag.
The race was slowed by six full-course caution periods that accounted for just over 90 minutes of the two-hour and 45-minute race. Although the absence of any long, green-flag runs may have hampered SRT’s chances to race for the win, it eliminated the usual fuel-conserving concerns that are always present at a track the length of Road America. The Viper drivers also did a masterful job of avoiding on-track contact and incidents that plagued many competitors.
The runner-up showing moved the No. 93 team five points closer to the points lead in the IMSA TUDOR Championship GTLM standings. After arriving in Road America 13 points out of first, they now trail by just eight markers with three races remaining.
SRT Motorsports next competes at Virginia International Raceway on Sunday, Aug. 24 for the ninth round of the 2014 season for the GTLM class. The race can be seen live on FOX Sports 1 at 4 p.m. EDT.
Dominik Farnbacher, driver, No. 91 Dodge Viper SRT GTS-R
How was your race?
“We started third and in just a few laps, I was leading the race. I had a hard time fighting with the PC cars because they couldn’t really get up to speed and they were holding me up. I had contact with one and I’d like to apologize to Mr. Bennett (Jon Bennett, No. 54) for that. I didn’t do that on purpose. It was a yellow and I was right on his bumper and he probably saw the flag before I did and that’s why I ran into him. Again, I apologize to him.”
Was your Viper stronger than its finish reflects?
“It’s a bummer that we ended up fourth. We could have easily finished on the podium today. We had a strong package and Marc did an outstanding job driving from seventh back up to fourth within a few minutes. Thanks to Bill Riley for the hard work and congrats to the 93 car for finishing on the podium. That really helps them out for the championship chase. I think that both cars are now in the top three for the championship and that really shows that SRT is one unit and one team working together.”
Were the yellow flags frustrating?
“As far as all the cautions go, it has to be safety first. We should always drive on a clean track and if there’s debris out, it could hurt someone. The yellows were a bummer, but it’s the same for everybody. You can’t see that coming so you have to work around it. This time it might have worked against us, but last year it worked in our favor. The yellow at the end last year saved our race, so it’s a give and take.”
Marc Goossens, driver, No. 91 Dodge Viper SRT GTS-R
How was today’s race?
“It was tough. We had a good car. I think at the end, the best car in the race today won. We had a P2 car and the race didn’t go our way. We had some issues with the pit stop and I love this track, but it’s a shame when some of the actions of the drivers that are here result in more yellows than greens. It’s kind of frustrating but still I don’t think finishing P4 is too bad. It’s good for the 93. “
Was today’s race an important points finish for SRT Motorsports?
“For points, I think we’re back to P3 in the championship, so all in all, it’s not a bad result considering that we had a rough day. If all the rough days ended with us being third and fourth, I’d sign up for that. It’s just frustrating because we were driving hard even at the end to go back from P7 to P4. We were battling it out to get back to P4 and trying to make sure that the points leader doesn’t come by because we’re trying to take away as many points as possible from them. We also want to help the 93, but at the same time we want to collect our own points. The fun thing for me was that during the small amount of green racing we had, I had a lot of fights going on. It’s been a long time since I passed so many cars in the same class and it was very competitive. It’s a shame that we were in P7 only 15 minutes from the end of the race and we knew we had a P2 car, so again, that’s frustrating. We’re happy with P3 and P4.”
Jonathan Bomarito, driver, No. 93 Dodge Viper SRT GTS-R
How was your race?
“The race was wild. It was a wild one. It was very broken up with all those yellows. We were actually hoping for a little bit longer run. We were very good on tires over the course of a stint. It was up and down. We had a long pit stop where we lost some spots and then we had an amazing pit stop and made up some. The guys came back strong, so hat’s off to them. Kuno did a good job. It was just a tough race out there today.”
How important is it to finish ahead of the points leader?
“That’s the big picture. I was racing really hard with another car for second at the end and I knew we were ahead of the leader making up points. He was very, very late on the brakes and I almost just had to give way. It was close enough to where we were probably both going to go out of the race if I had come down, so you just have to race hard and maximize your points, but you have to keep that in the back of your head – we were already making up points on the leader.”
What is the significance of this podium streak?
“We’ve been really, really consistent. We have great momentum with four podiums in a row. We’re making up points the last few weekends and that’s what we need to do. We just need to keep going like this. We need to finish on the podium three more races and we’ll be there at the end of the year.”
Kuno Wittmer, driver, No. 93 Dodge Viper SRT GTS-R
How was today’s race?
“I think you can consider this one a strategic barn burner with the yellow flags we had. We could have used a little more green flag time to possibly to get up into the first or second position. As you saw, the Viper was really, really good on the long-distance run with the tires and the chassis and everything settling in very nice towards the end of a stint. Unfortunately, when you don’t have that much green time, you can’t really benefit off of that. We benefitted in different positions and that was with extremely fast pit stops and being super patient in the beginning. People were running into each other and it was an Indianapolis repeat. It was just a lot of unnecessary hitting going on and I just backed out of it – just let everybody hit each other and then we’ll be in it at the end. The car doesn’t have a scratch on it and here we are again on the podium.”
How important is it to finish ahead of the points leader?
“I think this may be the turn in the championship this weekend. With the leader finishing behind us again and off the podium – I believe they finished fifth or sixth – that’s exactly where we need them to finish and we need to keep scoring podiums and being consistent. This streak just keeps going. I can’t even express how happy I am to be on the podium again and how fortunate I am to have this amazing team to help me do it.”
What did you think of your teammate’s performance?
“Jonathan was really, really good. I think when you race with other classes, it does help you when another, slower car slows up a competitor in front of you and I think that’s how he really closed up on the leaders towards the end, which was really, really good. He’s a great driver and I think we make a really lethal team together.”
Beth Paretta, SRT director of motorsports marketing and operations
How do you feel about today’s race?
“I’m really proud of the teamwork and getting a jump in the points, which is so important this late in the season. We only have three races left after this, so being consistent and repeating podium finishes is the key to the team’s success and hopefully getting us closer to winning the championship.”
Why is consistency so important?
“Because this class is so competitive and so close, the teams that win and get on the podium are the teams that make the fewest mistakes. That’s why consistency is so important. It’s a team effort and it can come down to the pit stop. If you have a bungled pit stop that’s six seconds longer than it should have been, it can be the difference between being on the first step of the podium and finishing fifth. Before every pit stop, everybody is focusing on what is expected of them and everything is choreographed down to the specifics and the minutia because that literally can make or break a season. That consistency is the difference. As is in racing, you can have a skirmish, but it’s minimizing those skirmishes and issues to do your best.”
Gary Johnson, SRT Motorsports racing manager
How important is consistency in racing?
“I think the team is showing a real consistency in the way they’re setting up the cars and in the pit stops. That’s what’s keeping us at the front of the pack. We’re making up the points a little bit at a time.”
What did you think of today’s race?
“It was a nail bitter. We had one pit stop that was not our finest moment and that probably made it a lot tougher for the drivers, but in the end we’re pretty happy with our positions. There were way too many yellows and that kind of spoiled the race. We were better on a long run than some of the other cars and if we had a chance to actually run the car for an hour or so I think we would have been catching the cars pretty fast.