Successful Debut of 2 Car TI Automotive Viper Riley Motorsports Team

at The Roar Before the Rolex 24 TestThe TI Automotive/ Riley Motorsports team had a successful on-track debut at Daytona International Speedway this weekend where the team’s pair of Dodge Viper GT3-Rs set the pace in the GT Daytona (GTD) class in the Roar Before the Rolex 24 test, January 9 – 11.A leading global supplier of automotive fluid systems technology, TI Automotive announced its new partnership with in a press conference at Daytona on Friday and then let its team, Riley Motorsports, and drivers take over and make some news on the legendary 3.56-mile road course. Both the No. 33 and No. 93 TI Automotive/ Dodge Viper GT3-Rs ranked at or near the top of the time sheets in each of the seven practice sessions run from Friday morning through early Sunday afternoon. That included an overall GTD-class Roar-best lap of 1:46.948 (119.834 mph) by experienced Viper driver Marc Goossens at the wheel of the No. 33 in Friday afternoon’s session. Goossens won the GTLM-class pole for last year’s Rolex 24 in a Viper GTS-R.“I’ve always liked Daytona, but there are a lot of good drivers out there and a lot of people working hard right now to come back here in two weeks and get the pole,” Goossens said. “Hopefully we have something for them, but most importantly we need to be there at the end of the race and try to get that watch.”Goossens is scheduled to race the No. 33 in the Rolex 24 in support of full-season co-drivers Ben Keating and Jeroen Bleekemolen. Keating was traveling out of the country this past weekend and, along with Bleekemolen who was competing in the 24 Hours of Dubai, didn’t participate in the Roar. The full-season duo put in a productive test at Daytona in November and is aiming for the GTD title this year after winning two races with in 2014. Keating kept a close eye from afar on his team’s progress this weekend. “We want to win the championship,” Keating said. “The TUDOR series is competitive and the number of cars in GTD makes our class ultra-tough. We think we have put together the best people and are coming in with the championship on our mind. We are very optimistic. We learned a lot last year and think we can be more consistent, which is what the championship is all about.”Goossens shared the No. 33 at the Roar with Bleekemolen’s brother, Sebastiaan Bleekemolen, and debuting team driver, Al Carter, who also tested in the No. 93. Carter co-drove the No. 93 throughout the weekend with reigning IMSA GTLM Champion Kuno Wittmer, Dominik Farnbacher and two-time Trans Am TA2 Champion Cameron Lawrence. The No. 93 clocked in second fastest overall in GTD at the Roar with a top lap of 1:47.245 (119.502 mph), which was also set in the Friday afternoon session.Along with most other teams at the test, TI Automotive/ sat out the weekend’s eighth and final session late Sunday afternoon after steady rain showers hit the Daytona area most of the day.Next up for TI Automotive/ Riley Motorsports is the Rolex 24 At Daytona, January 22 – 25, back at Daytona International Speedway. The race can be seen in more than 15 hours of live television coverage, including the opening two hours on FOX at 2 p.m. EST, Saturday, January 24. The majority of the live coverage will be on FOX Sports 1 and FOX Sports 2, including the final seven hours and post-race coverage on FOX Sports 1, Sunday, January 25.Additional Team and Driver QuotesBen Keating – “Having a second car for the Rolex 24 is not something most people can do. As we all know, anything can happen in a 24-hour race and having a second car is literally doubling our chances of being there in the end. We think we have a car that can be consistent and last the long haul. We just have to keep both cars clean and in the hunt.” Sebastiaan Bleekemolen – “I think the car is much more reliable this year. We have to keep in mind that we were the only Viper GT3-R running worldwide last year in endurance races, so we’ve had to discover everything ourselves. Just compare that to Porsche, for example. I really look forward to this season and I have high expectations!”Al Carter – “Riley and this Viper team are coming off some changes from last year's success and championship-winning campaign. Though the cars might not be red this year, the speed of the cars, the knowledge of the team and the talent of the drivers has not changed. I consider myself extremely lucky to be part of the TI Automotive and Viper Exchange Riley program this year, and it is by far my best chance to perform for a solid result in the Rolex 24 At Daytona.”Dominik Farnbacher – “It was a great experience to come back here with almost the same people we had last year. A lot of the same faces, the same mechanics and almost the same car. It is a GTD car now, different tires, different engine, different gearbox, everything is GTD spec now, but it seems to work very well. Our development paid off and the test was very good. We tried out different settings and all of the different drivers just to get them comfortable in the car and they all did a good job. We are more than positive that the race will end pretty well.”Marc Goossens – “We're not in the GTLM class anymore but the GTD field has proven to be very competitive. Of course, the rules of the two GT classes are very different, so there is no comparison in handling and the electronics on the cars, but the feel you get in a Viper remains very special. After having assisted in the testing program of the GTD car both in the U.S. and Europe, I look forward to racing the car on the banking. Hopefully we can start this campaign with a good result at the Rolex 24 for TI Automotive and Viper Exchange.”Kuno Wittmer – “First off, we need to give a big thank you, a big shout out to TI Automotive and Viper Exchange. Without them, we wouldn’t be here, the three or four drivers we have wouldn’t be able to pull it off, so it’s really thanks to them. The hard-working team and talented crew that we were mostly able to retain from last year are championship-winning guys, so why not pull them into this new program. So far, the GT3-R comparatively to the GTLM car we drove last year is quite different. We are on some different rubber, a lot less electronics, but it has some advantages in certain areas too. Overall, we are looking pretty good, so far the package is strong."Matt Bejnarowicz, Lead Engineer, No. 93 TI Automotive/ Viper GT3-R – “The test went really well. The good news is all of our drivers did an awesome job. We never dropped a wheel off the track, we focused on what we had to, and the cars are as exactly as clean as when they arrived. The cars ran flawless, we did have what I would call some early-season teething pains – these cars get torn apart and then get all put back together – and we had a lot of new parts integration and improvements we are trying to make. We had a chance to kind of shake out all of those bugs and make sure we get the gremlins out before we start running for 24 hours. The guys back at the shop in North Carolina definitely have no rest ahead of them. They have to get everything turned around, everything cleaned up, a lot of little details, even presentation details to make sure that all of the team gear and everything is up to snuff, a lot of work.” Tyler Hook, Lead Engineer, No. 33 TI Automotive/ Viper GT3-R – “We accomplished pretty much most of the test items that we came here with and we were able to check them off, so the rain didn’t cut into our testing program too bad. Sunday we were just working on a little bit of engine mapping for the race, for yellow-flag conditions and stuff like that, which we were going to try and run but now we will have to wait until we come back. Not a big deal really. I don’t know about anybody else, but we were certainly trying as hard as we could the last few days. We were definitely trying to run hard as otherwise you don’t really learn anything in testing.”

Related Motorsport Articles

82,772 articles