SRT VIPER EARNS PODIUM FINISH IN ALMS RACE AT LONG BEACH
No. 91 SRT Viper GTS-R Starts from Pole, Finishes Third in GT Class
LONG BEACH, Calif. (April 20, 2013) – SRT Motorsports capped its most impressive weekend since the return of the SRT Viper GTS-R to competition in the American Le Mans Series with two historic achievements – a pole on Friday and a podium finish on Saturday.
The duo of Dominik Farnbacher and Marc Goossens drove the SRT No. 91 Fast and Furious 6 SRT Viper GTS-R to its first GT Class podium finish, taking third in the Tequila Patron American Le Mans at Long Beach. Teammates Jonathan Bomarito and Kuno Wittmer were equally impressive in the No. 93 Pennzoil Ultra SRT Viper GTS-R but the finish – eighth – didn't reflect the performance. They were spun twice during the two-hour event, the last coming with just under 14 minutes remaining in the race.
SRT Motorsports Racing Manager Gary Johnson was all smiles after the race, "I'm really proud of the team for getting its first podium," Johnson said. "The 93 car got beat around a little bit and ended up in eighth-place but the team did the right things. They had great pit strategy. I think the real key would have been to have the 93 car up a little higher (in the finish order) but honestly, the drivers did a great job. The engines were running perfect at the end and, of course, the strategy on the fuel stops really helped us out a lot.
"It is a huge step forward for us. We know now that we're competitive just about anywhere. We'll be looking forward to Laguna Seca and hopefully bring home another podium there."
Goossens got the call to start the race in the No. 91. He did so from the front of the GT Class grid as Farnbacher captured the pole during Friday's qualifying session. Goossens set the early pace in the race on the 1.968-mile, 11-turn Long Beach Street Circuit. When Farnbacher's turn at the wheel came, he took the SRT Viper to the front but tire wear in the closing laps forced him to take a more conservative pace.
"We're still learning but we couldn't be happier with our result, a podium and third-place," said Farnbacher. "All in all, it was a great race for us and I think we can all be proud of it."
Goossens knows victory was within grasp. "We were close, I mean 10 minutes from the end we were still P1," he said. "The entire SRT Motorsports team is getting there. We shouldn't forget that it's only race six and we're already on the podium and could have won."
Wittmer and Bomarito showed top-five speed in the No. 93 SRT Viper GTS-R, running as high as fourth but the mishaps proved costly on the tight ocean front circuit. Wittmer was running fourth when he was spun by Olivier Beretta just over 15 minutes into the race, forcing an early pit stop.
"I guess the number 62 Ferrari (Beretta) just locked up and t-boned me," Wittmer said. "It put a lot of damage on the car."
Bomarito faced a similar fate late in the race. Running fourth, he was hit from behind, sending the No. 91 into a spin. This time, the damage to the right rear was more extensive, ending hopes of a top-five finish.
"We got spun twice, once really late in the race," Bomarito said. Kuno got spun really early in the race which got us behind."
The ALMS returns to action in two weeks as the series heads to Mazda Raceway in Laguna Seca, California for Round 3.
SRT Motorsports – Race Results
American Le Mans Series - Tequila Patron American Le Mans at Long Beach
Long Beach Street Circuit - Saturday, April 20, 2013
1. No. 55 BMW Z4 GTE
2. No. 56 BMW Z4 GTE
3. No. 91 SRT Viper GTS-R (Dominik Farnbacher / Marc Goossens)
4. No. 4 Chevrolet Corvette C6 ZR1
5. No. 3 Chevrolet Corvette C6 ZR1
6. No. 48 Porsche 911 GT3 RSR
7. No. 23 Ferrari F458 Italia
8. No. 93 SRT Viper GTS-R (Jonathan Bomarito / Kuno Wittmer)
9. No. 62 Ferrari F458 Italia
10. No. 17 Porsche 911 GT3 RSR
Unofficial Manufacturer Standings