SRT Viper GTS-R finished seventh at Long Beach

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The No. 91 SRT Viper GTS-R finished seventh and the No. 93 SRT Viper GTS-R was retired in the race's late stages.

LONG BEACH, Calif. (April 12, 2014) - A challenging weekend on the Long Beach street circuit improved little for SRT Motorsports on Saturday in the IMSA TUDOR United SportsCar Championship's 100-minute Sports Car Showcase in which the No. 91 SRT Viper GTS-R finished seventh and the No. 93 SRT Viper GTS-R retired in the race's late stages.

The No. 91 of Marc Goossens and Dominik Farnbacher battled to as high as fifth soon after the race's only set of pit stop just before the 45-minute mark despite starting from the back of the field after electing to swap out their qualifying tires for new sets of Michelins on both entries. The stint in the top five proved to be the high point, however, as the No. 91 was just off the pace of the competition in the second half of the race and finished seventh.

#93 SRT Motorsports SRT Viper GTS-R: Jonathan Bomarito, Kuno Wittmer
#93 SRT Motorsports SRT Viper GTS-R: Jonathan Bomarito, Kuno Wittmer

Photo by: James Holland

Meanwhile, the No. 93 was plagued with power steering issues all weekend. Despite wholesale component changes overnight Friday after qualifying, the steering problem returned in the opening laps of Saturday's race, making for a long day for SRT drivers Kuno Wittmer and Jonathan Bomarito. The duo was never able to contend and Bomarito ultimately pulled off course with approximately 20 minutes from the finish with a driveline failure.

Both SRT Motorsports entries and all four team drivers now have 81 points in both the IMSA TUDOR SportsCar GTLM team and driver championship standings. That places them in a tie for sixth in the driver championship, just one point out of the top five and only nine points behind the division leaders. The two SRT Viper GTS-R groups trail by the same margins in team championship, although they are tied for seventh overall in those standings.

SRT Motorsports will regroup and now prepare for the Monterey Grand Prix at Laguna Seca on May 4, the fourth event of the 2014 IMSA TUDOR United SportsCar Championship season.

SRT Motorsports Driver and Team Quotes

Marc Goossens, driver, No. 91 SRT Viper GTS-R

Talk about the race in total? "We threw the car around, went for a completely different setup than what we were using yesterday in practice and qualifying. I kind of liked the car in the race. It wasn't optimal, which I think is normal because we were just throwing something at it to see if we could notice a difference. To me, the way the car was set up in the race, I think it had some potential. If we would have been able to start the weekend in that first practice session with this setup and work with that, I think we would have had more in qualifying that way and that's track position. We'll see what we find in the debriefs. Like I said, the car wasn't perfect, but it looked like the others I was racing - those right in front of me - had the same sort of problems or even more than what we had, so that's what I could take advantage of. We can double check what we tried on setup, and if we can analyze the data and all that after the race, hopefully we can come up with something for Laguna Seca."

Was it an advantage or disadvantage to start at the back of the field? "It wasn't a disadvantage. I had to work the car a little bit more, scrub the new tires, but I think that was a plus. Not sure how it would have been without that - if we would have been on the scrub tires - but I don't think that is the big question, because what we can learn from the data on the setup change is most important for Laguna Seca."

Dominik Farnbacher, driver, No. 91 SRT Viper GTS-R

Give us your thoughts on today's race? "Marc did a very good job. He gave me the car in a great position. He was in fifth place and I tried to do as a good as he did, but I struggled a little but with my driving style. I could not do the same lap times as Marc and I also couldn't hold the two cars that came up behind me. Our Viper ran without any incidents, but the others were just too strong this weekend and we'll move on to Laguna Seca and try to do a better job there."

What positives do you take away from today's race? "We made quite a big change before the race and it was in the right direction. We were closer to the field than we were in qualifying and practice sessions."

Kuno Wittmer, driver, No. 93 SRT Viper GTS-R

What happened in today's race? "I think this was a tough one, definitely the toughest race for the year in 2014. We started off the first two races very, very well and this weekend nothing was going our way on the car. Hats off again to the crew for trying everything - they really always keep drilling. With this team, I have high expectations with this crew and a high trust so together we can fix problems. Unfortunately, in the race we lost power steering on lap two and on a street course with a big Viper, forget it, you're not going to go anywhere. I was wrestling the car pretty hard to a point my legs, lower back and arms were getting completely numb, so everything was physically exhausting. Jonathan, I think, had the same amount of pain, but we still strived to finish and that was my main goal during my stint. I was just running a pace within two, three tenths of my best time and that's what I did because I knew we couldn't stay with the competition."

What can you take away from today's race? "A big positive was the changes we made on the Viper from qualifying yesterday to today's race. Even though we had a power steering issue, we could still read through that problem and see that the changes that the engineering and the team put on the cars as far as suspension and aerodynamics really, really helped. I could feel the car was a lot better in braking and more compliant in the suspension system, so it was definitely a positive in that regards. We should honestly be really looking forward to Laguna Seca which suits this car."

The No. 93 SRT Viper GTS-R retired from the Sports Car Showcase at Long Beach following an issue with the driveline on Saturday, April 12, 2014.

Bill Riley, lead engineer, No. 91 SRT Viper GTS-R

How was the race today? "It was a bit of a tough one. We tried a whole different set-up on the car and we looked like we were going to be able to start marching toward the front, but it turned out to not work out. We'll see what we can do and learn from this and then move on to Laguna. It's a shame the race it worked out that way, but it gets us more fired up to have a good one in Laguna Seca."

Do you see any positives in today's outcome? "The one positive thing we can take away from today is that the team worked together to solve all the problems. Nobody went too haywire or out of whack and we worked to resolve everything in a positive way."

Why did you decide to change tires before the race? "Well, since we were kind of in the back with that new setup we decided to go ahead and put new tires on rather than qualifying tires that we're already used. We put on new tires on both cars and all we really did was move back a few spots. I think that gave Marc the ability to move his way up the ladder to sixth and the guys got us a spot in the pits but, unfortunately, the setup kind of went away from us in the race."

Gary Johnson, SRT racing manager

How do you evaluate today's performance? "It was a tough race. We had problems with the 93 all weekend and it actually went out of the race for a mechanical issue not related to the earlier ones, so that's disturbing. We need to get past that. The 91 car did really well. Marc Goossens was really running up pretty fast and bringing back some of our positions, but we never really had a full-course yellow like we wanted. I think we could have gotten back into a position where we could have made a bigger gain, but in the end we'll take the points where we are and work on the car between now and Laguna Seca."

What issues did you have with the No. 93? "The 93 car had a power steering issue and still has a power steering issue. The power steering just went away and we changed every single component on the car to get rid of that issue and, for whatever reason, it still came back, so we've got to look at what's going on with that. At the end, the 93 had an over-temperature condition on the rear transaxle. Right before it failed, Jonathan called in and mentioned that it had a bad vibration going on and then the car wouldn't go any further. Don't know the details on that right now, but we'll get to the bottom of it and make sure it's corrected for the next race."

SRT Motorsports

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About this article
Series TUSC
Article type Race report
Tags dominik farnbacher, jonathan bomarito, kuno wittmer, long beach, marc goossens, tusc

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