No. 93 SRT Viper GTS-R Records Third-Fastest Overall Lap in GTLM

SRT Viper GTS-R Sebring Test 2014The SRT ® (Street and Racing Technology) Motorsports No. 93 SRT Viper GTS-R recorded the third-fastest overall GTLM-class lap time of 2:00.496 (111.738 mph) during two days of testing at Sebring International Raceway that concluded on Friday in preparation for the upcoming 12 Hours of Sebring, March 12 – 15.

SRT Motorsports drivers Jonathan Bomarito and Marc Goossens participated in all four scheduled practice sessions in the No. 93 SRT Viper GTS-R on Thursday and Friday. Each day featured morning and afternoon test sessions that spanned more than two hours each in preparation for the second event of the IMSA TUDOR United SportsCar Championship schedule at Florida’s legendary Sebring road course.

  • The SRT Motorsports No. 93 SRT Viper GTS-R recorded the third-fastest GTLM overall lap time of 2:00.496 (111.738 mph) across four test sessions in Thursday afternoon’s test. The lap was also the second-quickest GTLM time of that session.
  • The team’s second-best showing in one of the sessions came in Friday afternoon’s fourth and final practice of the test when the No. 93 SRT Viper team posted a best lap time of 2:01.099 (111.182 mph) to rank fifth among GTLM entries.
  • The two-day test was the final IMSA-sanctioned GTLM test session for series competitors prior to the 12 Hours of Sebring, March 12 – 15.
  • The SRT Viper GTS-Rs finished fifth and 10th at Sebring in 2013 and the race marked the first event in the first-full season for SRT Motorsports since returning to sports car racing with the Viper.
  • In the 2014 season-opening Rolex 24 At Daytona, the No. 91 and 93 Viper GTS-Rs finished third and sixth, respectively, and the No. 91 claimed the GTLM pole position. Both SRT Viper entries and all six SRT Motorsports drivers led the GTLM class during the race.
  • The No. 91 SRT Viper GTS-R did not participate in the Sebring Winter Test.

SRT Motorsports Driver and Team Quotes

Jonathan Bomarito, driver, No. 93 SRT Viper GTS-R
How was the test?
“It was a very positive test just from a systems point of view. We had a lot of things to try – not necessarily making the car go as quick as we could. Toward the end of the day, we started putting all those pieces together and working on pace and race stuff, but we got through a lot of stuff. The guys did an awesome job. The car ran perfect for two days and I think we have a good race car. A couple of our competitors went pretty quick there at the end, but we’re still pretty optimistic and positive looking forward.”

What did you learn in last year’s 12 Hours of Sebring?
“Last year in the 93 car was my first 12 Hours of Sebring. It’s a tough race. You think, ‘Oh, well 12 hours is half as long as a 24, so it should be half as hard.’ It’s equally as hard as a 24-hour race. It’s very physical. It’s bumpy. It’s usually pretty warm and humid and takes a toll on the man and machine, but I learned a lot as a driver what to do physically for the race. We had some bad luck here last year. We had a drive pin issue – we lost some laps and it kind of ended our race – but we pushed through and we had a good car and I feel very confident for the race coming up.”

Marc Goossens, driver, No. 91 SRT Viper GTS-R
How did you prepare for the test?
“In the beginning of this week, we were in Markham close to Toronto for simulator work. Spent some good time with Kuno (Wittmer, co-driver of the No. 91) together and Matt (Bejnarowicz, lead engineer of the No. 93), Jim Kasprzak (track engineer for the No. 93) and Tyler (Hook, track engineer for the No. 91) were there to help with engineering. We learned a lot in the simulator and then we came here, carried it over, tried to confirm and then take on the next step with regards to the testing program. I think everything is on schedule. We just have to bridge that gap to the leaders now.”

How was the test?
“We were kind of surprised by the speed the top guys were doing in GTLM – really surprised – but then again, you never know what people are testing when you come here for two days. We had a nice test program laid out prior to coming here. I’m not going to tell you that we panicked yesterday, but that first morning session with all the red flags there was a lot of stoppages going on. We were kind of worried that if that would have kept going on for two days we would have a hard time going through our program. Luckily enough today, the weather stayed good and we didn’t have so many red flags. From everything that we worked on prior to coming here – the whole program that we lined up – we could go through all that. With what we learned and what we found for an ideal platform, we could actually start working on fine-tuning toward the end, but it’s all a matter of what the track conditions are. Yesterday to today with the heat, it was such a big difference. Once again, we were very, very surprised about the performance of the guys in the front. Hopefully we have enough for them by the team we come here for the race.”

Bill Riley, lead engineer, No. 91 SRT Viper GTS-R
How was the test?
“I think the team worked well. The cars all ran pretty flawlessly – we didn’t have any mechanical issues to keep us from running, which is pretty good. The car had a good test and ran a lot of laps. We went through a bunch of different things and we’re not where we want to be speed-wise, but the car is comfortable to drive. We just have to see what happens for the 12 Hours.  I think we have a strong pace, so we can for run a long time, but we just have to see – on ultimate pace, we’ll just have to see where we’re at.  All of the normal unknowns.”

How does this test allow you to prepare your race setup?
“Setup is a challenge here at Sebring for a lot of reasons. You have (turn) 17, which has some huge bumps to deal with. Turn one is always challenging and then you have the pavement that changes from the backside of the track to the concrete part of the track and then you have the IndyCar rubber that they put down on the test course on top. You’re really fighting quite a few different challenges throughout this event.

Matt Bejnarowicz, lead engineer, No. 93 SRT Viper GTS-R
Did you get to where you need to be during the test?
“Our competitors are looking pretty fast, but we definitely got pretty happy drivers and I think we made a lot of small steps in the test. Whether it’s going to be enough for the race, we’ll have to find out.”

Have there been any surprises?
“No, not really, actually. We unloaded and we’re getting to the point where we’ve got a lot of experience under our belt and we’ve been to tracks several times now, so we unloaded at a pretty good state and our drivers were pretty happy right of the bat. I think we progressed through the test. I think we probably chased the track a little bit. I don’t know if our lap times reflect the improvements we made in the car, but I wouldn’t say there were any big surprises. The big unknown I think is a little bit of tire compatibility – we’re not really sure how the Michelin tires work with Continental rubber down on the track and I think we keep on seeing a little bit of influence there, but that’s hard to quantify.”