The SRT (Street and Racing Technology) Motorsports Dodge Viper SRT GTS-Rs will start tomorrow's IMSA TUDOR United SportsCar Championship season-ending Petit Le Mans from the outside of rows two and four after qualifying fourth and eighth in the GTLM division at Road Atlanta on Friday.
Jonathan Bomarito turned a top lap time of 1:18.804 (116.035 mph) in the No. 93 Dodge Viper SRT GTS-R to qualify fourth, while Marc Goossens clocked in eighth fastest with a time of 1:19.146 (115.533 mph) in the No. 91 Dodge Viper SRT GTS-R.
Bomarito, who is scheduled to start the No. 93, co-drives with Dominik Farnbacher and Rob Bell. Goossens will share the No. 91 with Kuno Wittmer and Ryan Hunter-Reay, with Wittmer tabbed to start the race.
Bomarito and Wittmer were season-long teammates in the No. 93 and came to Road Atlanta tied for the GTLM championship lead with 300 points, seven ahead of the nearest challenger. The duo will be split for the first time this season in tomorrow's race in order to give SRT a championship points leader in each Viper. The driver swap will give SRT a better chance of sealing the title with one Viper should the other encounter trouble in the 10-hour Petit Le Mans endurance race.
The No. 93 Viper leads the GTLM team championship by the same seven-point margin while any finish by a Viper ahead of all three Porsches in tomorrow's race will give SRT Motorsports the manufacturer championship title. The two marques are currently tied for the lead with 308 points apiece.
Farnbacher had been season-long teammates with Goossens in the No. 91 while endurance-race additions Bell and Hunter-Reay will compete in the same Vipers they raced earlier this year at the Rolex 24 At Daytona and the 12 Hours of Sebring.
Petit Le Mans, the 11th-and-final event on the 2014 IMSA TUDOR Championship schedule, begins race day with a 25-minute warmup practice at 9 a.m. EDT before the schedule start of the race at 11:15 a.m. EDT. The race can be seen on FOX Sports 2 at 3:00 p.m. EDT on Saturday while a two-hour rebroadcast of the race airs on FOX on Sunday, Oct. 5, at various time slots throughout the country. Viewers can check local listings for air times.
Jonathan Bomarito, driver, No. 93 Dodge Viper SRT GTS-R How was it on the track?"It was good. We start fourth and we're ahead of the No. 3 car, which is good for the driver's championship, but it's a 10-hour race. It's really kind of a measure of where we rank with our competitors, but by no means do we expect to finish in the qualifying order because it's just such a difficult event with traffic and attrition. In a 10-hour Petit Le Mans race and anything can happen. Overall, I'm happy. The track changed quite a bit with all that rain this morning, so we've got to go back and look at it. I think everybody is in a bit of a guessing game as to where the track is going to go. It changed, but will it change back or stay like this? We have some work to do, but I'm confident in the guys and we'll show up tomorrow with a great race car."
Do you get nervous leading up to a big race?"No. I'll probably get nervous with two hours to go if we still have a shot at this thing, but we've got to get through the first eight hours, be smart and all of that stuff. You have to be calm and focused. Once we get through the first eight hours, then I might be a little nervous."
Dominik Farnbacher, driver, No. 93 Dodge Viper SRT GTS-RHow do you feel about tomorrow's race?"Pretty good. Jonathan did a great job putting the Viper in the fourth position. It looks like we lost some ground from the practice sessions, whereas the competition picked up. The others seem faster than us in the straightaway, so it will be hard to overtake tomorrow, so I have mixed feelings. Jonathan said the car was pretty good to drive, he was expecting what it was doing and it's very drivable, so hopefully we can get the last issues out of the car for tomorrow's race, make sure everything works and then we go from there. I'm really looking forward to the 10-hour race tomorrow. There are some titles to go for here."
Rob Bell, driver, No. 93 Dodge Viper SRT GTS-RHow was your teammate's qualifying effort?"It was pretty good. It was a really good effort actually. The track has changed a little bit from what Jonathan said from the test days. There was a downpour so the rubber is gone. We've got a few decisions to make on setup. We're ahead of car No. 3, which is a big plus. Jonathan said he didn't have the pace for the front two or three, but that's fine. Overall, we feel like we got the most out of the package we had, so we can't ask for any more from Jonathan for that. We'll go into the race in the thick of it and, again, nothing has changed. We need to keep clean, drive smart and be there at the end."
Marc Goossens, driver, No. 91 Dodge Viper SRT GTS-RHow was your qualifying run?"I think we had a pretty good, balanced car, but we couldn't find the speed. It felt like to me that we were lacking some grip, so I think the setup changes we made weren't the right ones. They may be okay for the long run in the race and we might get pretty strong, but I wasn't able to lean on the tires enough to pull off the lap in qualifying. The changes we made resulted in the tire not working hard enough, so I gave up a couple of tenths of a second there, or else we could have been P2, P3, P4 or P5. I'm not even thinking of talking about P1. That Porsche just broke out big time compared to everybody else. Hopefully, we get our times back when we make the chassis adjustment again. All in all, it's important to qualify well, but it's not the most important thing for a long-distance race. I think a lot of people underestimate the length of a 10-hour race. I was telling the guys that I don't think everyone else can maintain those laps forever, whereas the laps I was running I can do for an hour. For race pace, I'm not too concerned, but I'm a little bit disappointed after being up the chart during the weekend that we're not there during qualifying. Hopefully, we'll fix it tomorrow."
Kuno Wittmer, driver, No. 91 Dodge Viper SRT GTS-RHow was your teammate's qualifying session?"It's a long race. Ten hours is an eternity and you can win this thing from last or first. I think we're in this thing. We feel pretty good with a lot of confidence in our machinery and team the way we are performing. We need to fine tune our equipment a little bit. If you look at our day, we lost a session because of rain and now qualifying was dry. We need to look at some things tomorrow morning and make it better. I'm feeling very confident."
Ryan Hunter-Reay, driver, No. 91 Dodge Viper SRT GTS-RWhat did you think of your teammates run?"I think it was a solid effort. It's a long race so we're not really concentrating on qualifying. We didn't put much effort into it at all. We're pretty happy with where our race cars are and that's what we're concentrating on."
Ralph Gilles, president and CEO of SRT MotorsportsWhat did you think of qualifying?"It was a pretty good session. Obviously, Porsche is really fast, but everybody else had a blanket over them. It's going to be a good race. The equalization throughout the year has brought the cars to within hundredths of a second within each other, which creates great racing for the fans. There will be a lot of nervous emotions for us watching the race unfold tomorrow, but I'm counting on reliability and our drivers, who have been amazing all year, and, of course, our solid pit crew."
Are you nervous or confident entering tomorrow's race?"I'm always nervous. I'm a believer that if I'm nervous it will get a better outcome from whatever I'm feeling will happen. Endurance racing is all about the unexpected. Racing brings out any little chink in your armor. We've tried to patch them all, but we found weaknesses as recent as the last race. We're still a developing program and we'll never stop developing and that's what makes a good race team. I'm excited for tomorrow."
Matt Bejnarowicz, lead engineer, No. 93 Dodge Viper SRT GTS-RHow do you feel about tomorrow's race?"I think we're actually sitting pretty good. We qualified fourth, so we're on the second row. It's a 10-hour race and we've just got to keep the body clean, keep the drivers clean, stay out of trouble and avoid mistakes. We were trying pretty hard to win the pole. I don't know that we had ultimate speed, but the Viper is always strong on the long run and that's what we've got the car set up for, so we'll go out there with our plan and try to execute."
Bill Riley, lead engineer, No. 91 Dodge Viper SRT GTS-RWhat did you think of the qualifying session?"It was okay. We didn't qualify with the No. 91 car as high up as we would have liked to, but we have a really good car for race day. I always hate saying that - you have a good car for race day when you're not the quickest - but in this case I think we're okay. We went backwards with a change from last night, so we'll put that back, go out for warmup and get the car where we need to be. All the drivers are comfortable and from our past history here we just have to make sure we stay out of trouble on pit lane and on the track."
SRT Motorsports Team Lineup for Petit Le Mans
No. 91 Dodge Viper SRT GTS-R Driver: Marc Goossens (Belgium)Driver: Kuno Wittmer (Canada)Driver: Ryan Hunter-Reay (United States)Lead Engineer: Bill Riley
No. 93 Dodge Viper SRT GTS-R Driver: Jonathan Bomarito (United States)Driver: Dominik Farnbacher (Germany)Driver: Rob Bell (United Kingdom) Lead Engineer: Matt Bejnarowicz
Name: Petit Le Mans (race 11 of 11 for IMSA TUDOR Championship GTLM)Date: Oct. 4, 2014Time: 11:15 a.m. EDT for 10 hoursTrack: Road Atlanta, 2.54-miles, 12 turnsBroadcast Information: FOX Sports 2 at 3:00 p.m. EDT