Team Viper Achieve Goal – Both Cars Finish ALMS Race
LEXINGTON, OHIO – SRT Motorsports’ Team Viper was candid about its mission in Saturday’s American Le Mans Series event at Mid-Ohio. The mission – have both SRT Viper GTS-R race cars running at the finish of the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Challenge in the GT class. Mission accomplished.
Team Viper was making its return to the ALMS series. Not only were both cars running at the finish, the performance improved throughout the two-hour, 45-minute timed event. As an added bonus, one of the Viper GTS-Rs had a top-10 finish.
Kuno Wittmer and Dominik Farnbacher finished 10th in the No. 91 Forza Motorsports SRT Viper GTS-R while Marc Goossens and Tommy Kendall were 12th in the No. 93 Pennzoil Ultra SRT Viper GTS-R.
“Our first goal was to get through the race without any major problems,” said Gary Johnson, Road Racing Manger – SRT Motorsports. “We accomplished that. In fact, we were making progress throughout the race. The cars were getting better. Today’s race gives us an opportunity to know where the issues are and where we need to focus.”
Even though both teams reached the primary goal of finishing in the debut, everyone agrees there’s plenty of work ahead before the specially-prepared Viper GTS-R race cars, built by Bill Riley and Riley Technologies, take the track at Road America in two weeks.
“It wasn’t pretty but both cars finished,” said Riley. “We’ve got a lot to build on. We’re about two seconds off where we need to be and that showed in the race. Now we need to build on that and go from there. We were consistent but there are things we have to work on. There are gains to make with the car. We’ll keep chipping away on it. I think we’ll get about half of the gap taken care of pretty quickly.”
Wittmer says there were more positives than just having both cars running at the finish. “We learned so much today as far as driver comfort, car handling, chassis, and motor, everything in the package,” he said. “This was a great test. We have to keep working at it but a top 10 is not a bad start.”
Farnbacher was pleased he and Wittmer didn’t make an on-track mistake. “We didn’t make a mistake,” he said. “We didn’t go off the track. It’s a good start for both teams, something to build on for the next race.”
Kendall and Goossens were involved in two minor incidents. Contact with another car prompted the 93 crew to call Goossens to pit road under green for tires and a check of the right rear. The damage was minimal. With just a couple of minutes remaining in the race, Kendall ventured off course but was able get back on track and race to the checkered flag.
Kendall said having both cars finish was positive for the day. “Our goal was to run as many laps as we could and finish both cars,” he said. “It’s a tribute to this group, all the guys on these two cars. We’ve got plenty to work on. I’m encouraged. I thought our race pace was decent. There’s certainly some good take-aways.”
Goossens was pleased with the consistency. “We showed we can be consistent,” he said. “We had a good solid race, both cars. There’s still a lot of work to do. That’s normal after your first race.”