SRT Motorsports Pre-Race Release – Sports Car Showcase at the Long Beach Street Circuit
After claiming a pair of podium finishes and a pole in the season’s opening two endurance races, SRT (Street and Racing Technology) Motorsports will look to continue its success on Saturday, April 12 at the Long Beach Street Circuit, a track where the team achieved a number of firsts during the 2013 season. Run on Saturday, April 12, the Sports Car Showcase in Long Beach, Calif., will be the third event of the 2014 IMSA TUDOR United Sports Car Championship (TUSC).
SRT Motorsports Storylines for Long Beach
FIRSTS AT LONG BEACH: SRT Motorsports tallied three team firsts at Long Beach in 2013. Dominik Farnbacher claimed the team’s first-ever pole position when he posted a GT class track record lap of 1:18.845 (89.857 mph) in the No. 91 SRT Viper GTS-R. The No. 91 team of Farnbacher and Goossens went on to finish third in the event, the team’s first podium finish, and held the overall lead for two laps in the event, also a first for the two-car team.
STREAKING SUCCESS: The SRT Motorsports team arrives in Long Beach, coming off consecutive podium finishes – one by each Viper team – in the season-opening endurance races in Florida. After winning the pole for the Rolex 24 At Daytona, the No. 91 team with endurance race addition Ryan Hunter-Reay, finished third, and all six SRT drivers led the GTLM class in the race. In the next event, The Twelve Hours of Sebring, the No. 93 Viper finished second with drivers Jonathan Bomarito, Kuno Wittmer and endurance addition Rob Bell, and four Viper drivers led the GTLM class during the race. Dating back to the fifth race of the 2013 season, the two-car SRT team has totaled six podium finishes in the last nine events, including a win and three pole positions during that span.
LONG BEACH VICTORIES: In 2010, Wittmer captured a World Challenge event victory at Long Beach when he led flag-to-flag in a Dodge Viper Competition Coupe after winning the pole position, his first pole in the World Challenge GT class. Prior to joining SRT Motorsports in 2012, Farnbacher claimed a GT2 class victory at the track in 2008. After starting 17th overall, Farnbacher and his co-driver picked up four positions during the sprint race to finish 13th overall and first in the GT2 class.
SPRINTING TO THE FINISH: The TUSC race at Long Beach presents a new challenge for race teams coming off consecutive endurance battles – a sprint race on a street circuit. After 24-hour and 12-hour events, the series will battle on Long Beach’s 1.968-mile street circuit for only 100 minutes – an event that is less than seven percent of the length of the season-opening Rolex 24 At Daytona.
Dominik Farnbacher, driver, No. 91 SRT Viper GTS-R
Does SRT Motorsports have momentum entering Long Beach?
“We’ve had a very good start to the season with podiums for both cars in Daytona and Sebring. The Viper GTS-R is solid and our results are strong in a very competitive class. Long Beach was a good one for us last year and we feel encouraged heading back to the street circuit. We definitely know how to set-up a car at Long Beach because we had the pole position last year. After a third and second place so far this year, we badly want to reach the top step of the podium at Long Beach.”
How special was last year’s pole at Long Beach?
“It was the first pole for SRT Motorsports and it was good. I remember when I got out of the car everyone jumped on me. It was a great experience. It was important for the team and for that race. At circuits like Long Beach, they are only two-hour races – they are more or less sprint races for us and it’s very important to be in the top spot because it’s hard to overtake. It was important for us to be on the pole and lead the field for the first time and in that race.”
Marc Goossens, driver, No. 91 SRT Viper GTS-R
What experience do you have at Long Beach?
“Believe it or not, I have very little experience at Long Beach. Last year was my first time there. With the minimum amount of track time, I didn’t get to do that many laps. Dominik (Farnbacher, co-driver) qualified our car and took the pole position in 2013. My job was to start up front and remain in the lead until the driver change. I managed to do so and Dom drove a great race to score our first podium finish since the Viper’s return to this level of racing. Although I have very little experience there, I already have some good memories.”
Jonathan Bomarito, driver, No. 93 SRT Viper GTS-R
How would you describe the Long Beach race?
“Long Beach is fun. It’s enjoyable for me for a lot of reasons: a lot of friends and family get to come to that race, whether they’re traveling down from Monterey or already in Southern California; it’s a fun atmosphere; the weather is usually nice and hopefully it will be this year. It’s just a good event. For the fans, it’s a big party and for the racers it’s one of the best street courses there is, so it’s a lot of fun.”
What is the circuit like from the driver’s seat?
“Long Beach is a street course. It’s pretty bumpy. Street courses are typically a lot of 90-degree corners, relatively slow speed, but Long Beach actually incorporated some pretty long straightaways, some medium-to-higher speed corners and then you have the famous, really slow-speed hairpin leading on to the big, front straightaway. It’s a fun track. To be quick there, the car has to deal with the bumps, have good power down on the low-speed corner and still have some stability in the medium speed stuff.”
Kuno Wittmer, driver, No. 93 SRT Viper GTS-R
Why do you enjoy the Long Beach race weekend?
“I love Long Beach. Ever since I won there in 2010 in a Viper Competition Coupe, the track has held a special place to my heart. Looking back at last year, we did very well there, so Long Beach is a circuit that I am strongly looking forward to. Throughout my racing career I have always enjoyed short race weekends. I know that the teams, our tire sponsor Michelin and the engineers would like to see more track time, but there is always something special about a good old fashioned sprint race where you are flat out at 110 percent.”
Matt Bejnarowicz, lead engineer, No. 93 SRT Viper GTS-R
What makes Long Beach challenging?
“Long Beach is a very tough race. The race time is very short, so you must be mistake free – there is simply no opportunity to recover for any mistake whether driver, crew or strategy. Passing is very difficult and damage can occur very quickly – typically due to the hedges in the fountain corner. Historically, Long Beach is won by the team with the best strategy in the race. Because track position is so crucial, the timing stand needs to make the best strategic decisions to capitalize from any yellow flag conditions and the pit crew needs to be flawless to ensure no positions are relinquished on the one or two pit stops that the race will see. The engineering staff needs to setup the car to absorb the very rough street circuit and protect the tires for a long stint. Finally, the driver needs to be aggressive but make smart quick decisions. Starting from the front row on the grid is of course an advantage as well.”
What did it mean to win the pole and take a podium at Long Beach last season?
“Last year was a very special moment when we claimed the pole and climbed the podium for the first time. It was a firm confirmation that we were moving up in the competition and the result of hard work by many people. We knew we were on the right track after Petit Le Mans the previous year and also at Sebring, but we finally proved it at Long Beach 2013. It was a well-needed boost for the entire team.”
SRT Motorsports Team Lineup for the Long Beach Street Circuit
No. 91 SRT Viper GTS-R
Driver: Dominik Farnbacher (Germany)
Driver: Marc Goossens (Belgium)
Lead Engineer: Bill Riley
No. 93 SRT Viper GTS-R
Driver: Jonathan Bomarito (United States)
Driver: Kuno Wittmer (Canada)
Lead Engineer: Matt Bejnarowicz
Name: Sports Car Showcase at Long Beach (race three of 11 for GTLM)
Date: April 12, 2014
Time: 6:10 p.m. EDT for 100 minutes
Track: Long Beach Street Circuit in Long Beach, Calif., 1.968 miles
Broadcast Information: FOX Sports 1 at 6 p.m. EDT, pre-race show begins at 5:40 p.m. EDT on IMSA.com