DAYTONA BEACH, Fla., Feb. 6, 2000 - Viper Team ORECA earned another milestone In Its already Impressive endurance racing portfolio as the ...
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla., Feb. 6, 2000 - Viper Team ORECA earned another milestone In Its already Impressive endurance racing portfolio as the #91 Dodge Viper GTS-R of Olivier Beretta, Karl Wendlinger and Dominique Dupuy earned the overall and GTO class victories at the Rolex 24 at Daytona at Daytona International Speedway. The victory was Dodge's first-ever overall International 24-hour endurance race win and the first overall victory by an American-based production car.
Teammates David Donohue, Ni Amorim and Jean-Phillipe Belloc driving the #93 Dodge Viper GTS-R finished third In the GTO class (third overall) while the #92 Dodge Viper GTS-R of Tommy Archer, Mark Duez and Vincent Vosse finished fourth In the GTO class (fifth overall).
Despite temperatures dipping Into the mid-30s, the #91 Dodge Viper GTS-R completed the 24-hour race over the 3.56-mile road course (which uses the tri-oval of the superspeedway and non-banked Infield sections) 36-seconds ahead of the second place Chevrolet Corvette, The three-time defending FIA-43T and current American Le Mans Series (ALMS) champion again proved why the Dodge Viper is the most successful American-based production sports car In road racing history.
For the 31-year-old Beretta, who suffered lingering effects from the flu all race, the win marks the I Ith win In his lost 13 events he has raced. It is Viper Team ORECA's 17th Win In its last 19 race$ (finished second at Rolex 24 and Homestead In 1999) In both the ALMS and FIA GT Championships.
The non-factory backed Chamberlain Dodge Vipers finished sixth and seventh overall, Olivier Beretta, #91 Dodge Viper GTS-R (First Place Overall & First GTO Class)
"It was a very difficult race for me, I was sick (acquired chicken Pox on Saturday) all weekend and felt very weak and tired. I knew our Dodge Viper was a good racecar. Our Michelin tires were fantastic. I didn't want to let my team down so I try very hard to concentrate while I was In the car. I am very happy that we won for Dodge and ORECA, but I am also very happy that the race is over."
Karl Wendlinger, #91 Dodge Viper GTS-R (First Place Overall & First GTO Class)
"During the final laps I was just trying to concentrate, There was some pressure, but on the other hand, I didn't have to push. I would spend some time behind other cars, which was no risk- But sure, there will always be some pressure. But it's pressure that we put on ourselves because we come out here to do nothing but win."
Hughes do Chaunac, Director, Team ORECA
"It is hard to Imagine you can win a 24-hour race by 36 seconds. The entire ORECA team did a fantastic job all weekend, Dodge gave us a tremendous racecar and it was our job to perform. The Corvette proved to be a tremendous challenge to the Viper and we respect their program. It sets up in epIc battle for when we race Le Mans."
Lou Patane, DaimlerChrysler Vice President of Motorsports and Mopar Performance Parts
"What an amazing weekend for our entire program, It Is a true testament to our platform approach of racing and all the hard work that goes Into developing the people and process to make it all come together, Today, the Dodge Viper and Team ORECA made history, The Dodge Viper became the first American production car to win the overall title In an International endurance race. As well, of the top seven overall finishers at this year's Rolex 24 Hours At Daytona, five were Dodge Vipers."
John Fernandez, Director of Engineering and Specialty Vehicles
"This is a historical moment. An outright win in one of the world's most prestigious endurance races by a production-based car like the Dodge Viper GTS-R is rare and hard-earned. In fact, the Dodge Viper GTS-R - now a Le Mans and Daytona 24-hour race winner - is remarkably like the Vipers that you can buy from your neighborhood Dodge Dealer. Not only does it look the same, but it uses the same basic engine, chassis, transmission and suspension. If push came to shove, and we needed to, we could have gone out to the Viper Owners Club parking paddock In the Infield and swapped parts with our customers' cars. The only significant differences are a full roll cage for safety, a carbon fiber body (versus composite plastic bodywork on the street cars), a dry-sump engine and racing slicks. But having a great production car to start with gives us the edge on the track. And conversely, having a great racing car makes our street care better."