Pirelli World Challenge at streets of Toronto's Exhibition Place - Race Two
TORONTO, Ontario, Canada (July 20, 2014) - SRT® (Street and Racing Technology) Motorsports and Canadian driver Kuno Wittmer climbed to the top spot on the podium with their victory in race two of the SCCA Pirelli World Challenge on the streets of Toronto, Ont., Canada's Exhibition Place on Sunday.
The No. 92 Dodge Viper SRT GT3-R, prepared by Riley Technologies, started from the second position on the grid and quickly took the lead when Wittmer made a clever pass on the first lap's third turn on the 1.755-mile, 11-turn downtown street circuit.
Wittmer's victory in the event marked the first win for the Dodge Viper SRT GT3-R in the World Challenge's GT class and the native of Montreal's first in the World Challenge since he last competed in the series in 2010. The victory was Wittmer's seventh in the series and his third World Challenge win in a Viper in six seasons in the series (2006-10, 2014).
"Winning on home turf is the best feeling on Earth," said Wittmer. "It really is and this is definitely a step in the right direction building momentum for this entire SRT Motorsports team. In these types of North American championships, there are not a lot of Canadian events. When you do have the chance to race in front of your home crowd, it's really, really special because you grew up racing in Canada."
Wittmer, who finished second in yesterday's round nine World Challenge race behind Nick Tandy, had to push his Viper to stay in the lead with several competitors attacking for position in the exciting race. Battling nose-to-tail in the final minutes, Tandy was challenging from second but fell back after touching the rear wheel of the red-and-white liveried Viper.
"I had a lot of pressure from behind from Nick Tandy - he's a familiar competitor from another championship we race in," said Wittmer. "I pulled off the tricks that I knew from racing on street courses and you have to rub a little paint in these types of situations and I think he was on the same page as me. It was a lot of fun. Hats off to the team, as the Viper was outstanding."
The race featured just one caution flag for three laps during the shortened, 37 minute and 53 second, 29-lap event, which was condensed and moved up to an earlier start time due to a rainout of Saturday's IndyCar race.
In addition to Wittmer's victory in the GT class, the Viper GT3-R won in the World Challenge's GT-A class with Dan Knox in the Detroit race in May. Knox finished second in his GT3-R in the GT-A class in Sunday's World Challenge race.
Wittmer's entry into the Toronto doubleheader race weekend was the Canadian driver's only scheduled appearance in the World Challenge. Wittmer and the SRT Motorsports team will next compete in the IMSA TUDOR United SportsCar Championship's Brickyard Grand Prix at Indianapolis Motor Speedway on Friday, July 25 with its two full-time Dodge Viper SRT GTS-R entries.
Kuno Wittmer, driver, No. 92 Dodge Viper SRT GT3-R
How were you able to win this street circuit race? "The credit goes to this entire SRT Motorsports team. This Dodge Viper SRT GT3-R was just outstanding. We drove a pace during the race and it worked. I had a lot of pressure from behind from Nick Tandy - he's a familiar competitor from another championship we race in - but it was a pressure cooker for myself in the car. I didn't have any water in the car with me, so my mouth was a little dry by the end. I pulled off the tricks that I knew from racing on street courses and you have to rub a little paint in these types of situations and I think he was on the same page as me. It was a lot of fun. Hat's off to the team as the Viper was outstanding."
How does it feel to capture this victory in your home country of Canada? "The champagne was ever so sweet. Winning on home turf is the best feeling on Earth. It really is and this is definitely a step in the right direction building momentum for this entire SRT Motorsports team. In these types of North American championships, there are not a lot of Canadian events. When you do have the chance to race in front of your home crowd, it's really, really special because you grew up racing in Canada - I know I did for 15 years - and it was extremely special to me. You look up to be at this level when you're a young guy and here you are winning in front of the fans that followed you for a long time, so it's really, really special."
Why was the team showcasing the Viper GT3-R at this event? "The car we drove today is a GT3-spec car sold globally. SRT Motorsports wanted to compete and showcase the Dodge Viper SRT GT3-R, prepared by Riley Technologies, at this event because it's a brand new car and brand new program. It's a customer car and can be run in this and other GT3 championships. The idea was to showcase the potential of the technology built by Bill Riley and Riley Technologies. We've shown that today. It's one of the best available GT3 cars out there."
Matt Bejnarowicz, lead engineer, No. 92 Dodge Viper SRT GT3-R
How impressive was Kuno Wittmer today? "Kuno won that race for us, for sure. We had a strong Viper, but the car wasn't the fastest one out there and he just drove the wheels of it. He did a tremendous job of keeping second-place behind him under pressure the entire race. And another competitor was coming for us last minute too and I think Kuno's experience endurance racing and dealing with the traffic was the winning edge. My hat's off to him because he really won the race for us."
Beth Paretta, SRT director of motorsports marketing and operations
How was this weekend's doubleheader? "We couldn't ask for better results here in Toronto with a second-place on Saturday and first place today. The Viper GT3-R is really a capable competitor to everything on the grid here at World Challenge and I think we showed that. It was a great battle watching Kuno dicing with the second place competitors. I think the fans of World Challenge got a great show and it made it exciting, but the bottom line is the Viper proved once again it's just a great, capable race car."