The two-car SRT Viper GTS-R team now shifts focus to preparing for today's Sports Car Showcase that starts at 3:10 p.m. PDT.
LONG BEACH, Calif. - Enduring a tough day on one of the most challenging street courses in racing, SRT (Street and Racing Technology) Motorsports persevered through a variety of issues Friday to qualify both SRT Viper GTS-R teams for tomorrow's Sports Car Showcase on the Long Beach street circuit, the third round of the inaugural IMSA TUDOR SportsCar Championship season.
The No. 91 SRT Motorsports Viper GTS-R of Marc Goossens and Dominik Farnbacher overcame an overall lack of grip on the slick 1.968-mile circuit to qualify eighth with Farnbacher's top lap time of 1:19.223 (89.429 mph). The sister No. 93 SRT Motorsports Viper GTS-R of Kuno Wittmer and Jonathan Bomarito in turn rebounded from a persistent power steering issue - which ultimately resulted in a radiator change that wasn't completed until several minutes into the qualifying session - to nail down the 10th and final GTLM grid position with a lap time of 1:19.980 (88.582 mph).
While both qualifying efforts were not what the team expected, the never-quit performance of the SRT Motorsports crew was the day's highlight. The No. 93's power steering issue emerged in this morning's two-hour practice session and cost the team valuable time despite a speedy steering pump replacement. The issue again emerged in afternoon practice and a repair was completed just minutes before qualifying. Tracing the problem to a potential cooling issue, the SRT team amazingly swapped radiators in another pitside thrash and got Bomarito on track with eight minutes remaining in the 15-minute qualifying session.
With Friday behind them, the two-car SRT Viper GTS-R team now shifts focus to preparing for tomorrow's Sports Car Showcase that starts at 3:10 p.m. PDT. The 100-minute race will be broadcast live on FOX Sports 1 at 6:00 p.m. EDT/3:00 p.m. PDT. Race coverage begins at 5:40 p.m. EDT with a pre-race show on IMSA.com.
In addition to the race coverage, it was confirmed earlier this week that SRT will sponsor FOX Sports 1's first-ever post-race show for the IMSA TUDOR race, which will air live from the Long Beach Street Circuit winner's circle for 30 minutes following the event.
Dominik Farnbacher, driver, No. 91 SRT Viper GTS-R
How was your qualifying effort? "First of all, thanks to the team for preparing the car and giving me a good Viper. Marc did a very good job at finding a very neutral setup and I was very comfortable with it, but we just lacked in overall grip. We couldn't really find where I could improve the car and in qualifying I could push more out of it - I got out of maybe two tenths of three tenths of a second, that's it, not more - but we have to analyze what's causing the problem and the lack of grip. Comparing to last year, we're slower which is usually not the case.
Usually, you improve year-by-year. If you look at the times, we're almost half a second slower than last year. It was very strange. The only thing I think is maybe we can get the tires to work, so we have to look at what it is - maybe a damping issue, a tire issue, maybe a driving issue. We have to look at the data, but overall the car felt very neutral, very comfortable, but just a lack of grip. If we can figure out what the problem is, we should be pretty good in the race."
Are you confident your crew can improve the grip level? "Oh yeah, definitely. I trust my team. We have outstanding engineers. We will figure out the problem. We had a problem last year at Laguna Seca and we managed to catch up to the field during the race. We have to look at the data, the temps, the pressures and overlay some data and we might see what the problem is."
Marc Goossens, driver, No. 91 SRT Viper GTS-R
How was your teammate's qualifying effort? "Dominik has been talking a little bit about a lack of grip in the car. I think we made a big improvement since this morning. I felt a lot more comfortable in it, so we had Dominik qualify the car so he could get some more laps in too because he didn't do that much running. And at the same time, he did well last year in qualifying. He knows how to handle qualifying around here, but obviously if the grip level isn't right, there isn't much you can do.
I expected us to be better than this - maybe not as fast as the top guys are doing, but it's a little disappointing that we didn't go faster. We were struggling this morning and even with the gains we made, I don't think that was enough to give the others some competition. We'll see what happens tomorrow in the race. It's a street circuit and a lot can happen."
What do you believe is causing the lack of grip? "It's hard to say because this morning the track was very dirty, but obviously it's the same for everybody. You come here with a certain setup and then we were surprised in the first session when the track became better we didn't find much grip. After the IndyCars drove, it was much better - but then again it got better for everybody else. I didn't expect in qualifying for the others to go another big jump like they did, but we still have to race tomorrow.
Together we're turning about the same laps times in competition, so hopefully this time there is a little bit of chaos in the first lap, but we're expecting a long green race because there's not that many cars this time. We'll have to see how it goes. Hopefully strategy will come into play - SRT Motorsports is very good at that. As long as Dominik and I have a consistent car tomorrow, it's still possible, but it will be a tough race."
Beth Paretta, director SRT brand and motorsports marketing and operations
What are your thoughts on the SRT post-race show? "We're so excited that the IMSA TUDOR United SportsCar Championship is going to be followed by a 30-minute post-race show on FOX Sports 1 presented by SRT. FOX has been a great partner to IMSA and we're hopeful this type of programming will follow all of the races, because I think this is a great thing for our fans and we couldn't be happier with the direction the series is going."
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