The No. 91 Fast & Furious 6 SRT Viper GTS-R driven by Dominik Farnbacher won the GT Class pole for Saturday’s Tequila Patron American Le Mans at Long Beach.
Gary Johnson, SRT Motorsports Racing Manager: “I just want to congratulate all the team members from SRT Motorsports. Over the winter we did a lot of work on the SRT Viper GTS-Rs. I couldn’t be more proud of the team. I’m really excited about our chances for tomorrow. This pole is huge for the team and especially the SRT Motorsports group back in Detroit.”
Dominik Farnbacher – Driver, No. 91 Fast & Furious 6 SRT Viper GTS-R, GT Pole Winner
DID THE LAP SEEM THAT FAST WHEN YOU WERE ON THE TRACK? “I just drove as quickly as I could. As I told Bill (Riley, VP and Chief Engineer – Riley Technologies), it would be good if he could help me on the gap to the leader every time I drive by start-finish so I could know if I still could run quicker or not, if I had to push extra hard.
It took me three laps to get the tires on the right pressure. It took the tires the third or fourth lap to come in and I think it was actually the fifth lap where I set the quickest lap time. Bill was like ‘you’re the leader by six-tenths’ and the next time I came by, I was slower than my quickest lap.
He said it’s only one-tenth and I was like oh no (laughs). I tried to push the tires but they were already too high on the pressures, so I could not do anything anymore.
I was still trying but it didn’t really help but at the end, the time held up. It’s one (pole) and three (P3) Viper. We’re really happy to see all those smiles on the faces of the team members, teammates and CEOs. It makes me very happy.”
HOW BIG IS WINNING THE POLE HERE FOR THE PROGRAM? “It’s huge. Here, qualifying counts for a lot. It counts a lot more than Sebring because Sebring is a 12-hour race and this is only a two-hour race. You don’t have that many chances to overtake here.”
ARE YOU SURPRISED TO WIN THE POLE JUDGING FROM PRACTICE SPEEDS THIS MORNING? “I was surprised that our car was really that good. We really, really worked on damping (shocks) because we think to win here, it really comes down to the damping of the car.
I think Bill and the boys did a really good job throughout the winter. The Viper showed its potential in Sebring that we are good over those bumps and it really paid off here too.”
CAN YOU TALK ABOUT PUTTING THE SRT VIPER BACK ON TOP OF THE ALMS GT POLE? "It feels fantastic. It's been since 2000 in Adelaide (Australia) that the last factory-backed Viper won the pole position. It really feels good to be back in business. The whole crew is happy.
I got out of the car and everybody was celebrating like we just won the World Championship. It was nice to see. The hard work really paid off through the winter. Sebring was good for us. We could see a lot of similarities in the track, between Sebring and Long Beach.
Both are really bumpy. Usually, if our race car is good in Sebring it will be good here in Long Beach. The pole position means a lot to us because it's a short race, only two hours. It's very hard to overtake so the pole position is a key element to being a race winner here."
YOUR SRT VIPER HAS BEEN FAST ALL YEAR LONG. IS THERE ANYTHING THAT YOU CAN DIRECTLY ATTRIBUTE YOUR SPEED TO? "Of course. One year ago, the car didn't exist; it was still on paper and in the minds of the CEOs. Last year, we tried to get the baseline setup so that everything is reliable.
At Sebring, for the first time, we drove really hard. The car showed to be really strong there. Now, at Long Beach, the second race, we are on top of the grid. That's very good for us. We set the tires for the fourth or fifth lap and that's when the lap time came.
After that, the tire pressures went a little too high. My lap time was good. If you look at the field, the top-five lap times are within a tenth-of-a-second. That shows the world-class of ALMS."
HOW IMPORTANT WAS IT FOR YOU TO GET THIS POLE FOR THE SRT VIPER TEAM? "It means a lot to me. I'm just trying to sort my head a little. It means a lot to all of us. To get out of the car and see everybody smiling, it’s one of the things that you dream about as a little kid."
HOW WAS YOUR SRT VIPER GTS-R IN RACE TRIM? "In race trim, it was the same. The car will be very strong tomorrow. I think the fans and everybody can count on a strong Viper. It will come down to strategy, around half-time when everybody comes down for pit stops. We’ll have to see if we get a good run out of the pit."
HOW IMPORTANT IS IT TO START ON THE POLE AT LONG BEACH DUE TO THE FACT THAT THIS TRACK IS SO HARD TO PASS ON? "On a tight race track, it’s hard to overtake. The only way that you can overtake is in Turns 6 and 7 and at the end of the long straightaway in Turn 1.
You need to get a good run out of the corners and that's tough. I think one key is to wait for a mistake in traffic in front of you. That's the only chance that you have to overtake a car. Just have a clear run, that's the key."
Jonathan Bomarito – Driver, No. 93 Pennzoil Ultra SRT Viper GTS-R, Qualified 3rd
BASED ON PRACTICE EARLIER TODAY, WERE YOU SURPRISED TO QUALIFY THAT WELL? “Yes and no. We had a good car in practice and we were doing a lot of in-and-out laps, working on some setup stuff, particular with suspension settings. This track really requires a lot of rhythm.
We didn’t have that this morning because of all those ins-and-outs. We knew the 91 car was good this morning; they were right there with lap times and we knew we would be too. We worked really hard between practice and qualifying on the setup. The guys did a really good job.
The engineering staff with Riley Technologies and our SRT Viper GTS-R was pretty amazing today. It’s a really tough race around here. It’s only a two-hour race but it’s flat-out, a hundred percent the whole way.
You really have to be perfect the whole time from the driving standpoint, the pit stops. We just need to keep this momentum going. I’m really proud of everybody and honored to be a part of the SRT program.”
SRT® Viper GTS-R Racing Team