'The conditions were exhausting'
SRT (Street and Racing Technology) Motorsports brought classic Viper Red livery back in a big way by doubling up on podiums in Dodge's return to major league sports car racing in the Sahlen's Six Hours of The Glen where the team's Dodge Viper SRT GTS-Rs finished second and third in Sunday's race on the New York's Watkins Glen International circuit.
No. 91 Dodge Viper SRT GTS-R driver Marc Goossens chased race winner Antonio Garcia to the checkered flag in a thrilling one-lap dash to the finish, crossing the line a scant .185 of a second behind to earn runner-up honors with co-driver Dominik Farnbacher. The sister No. 93 Dodge Viper SRT GTS-R, with Jonathan Bomarito at the wheel, then crossed under the checkered flag just two seconds later for a third-place showing with co-driver Kuno Wittmer.
Both Dodge Viper SRT GTS-Rs worked towards the front in the first hour with Kuno Wittmer taking the lead 52 minutes into the race, and both teams would battle non-stop for the victory for the entirety of the race's final three hours. All four drivers led at least one lap in the race and Dodge Viper SRT GTS-Rs led seven different times in the race's six hours for a combined total of 21 laps in front of the GTLM class.
The double podium was the second for SRT Motorsports since returning to major-league sports car racing in 2012. In last year's race at Canadian Tire Motorsports Park in Canada, Goossens and Farnbacher finished second in the No. 91 and Bomarito and Wittmer took third in the No. 93. Following the double podium in Canada, SRT Motorsports claimed its first victory in the next race at Wisconsin's Road America, the team's first since the 2012 return.
The Watkins Glen results kept a perfect podium streak going for SRT Motorsports in this year's IMSA TUDOR United SportsCar Championship endurance races. The No. 91 team finished third in the season-opening Rolex 24 At Daytona and the No. 93 squad finished second at the 12 Hours of Sebring. With today's results, SRT is the only manufacturer to have a podium finisher in each of the three endurance events run to date. The final endurance race of the year, and the closing round of the North American Endurance Cup, is October's season-ending Petit Le Mans at Road Atlanta.
SRT Motorsports next competes in the SportsCar Grand Prix at Canadian Tire Motorsports Park in Bowmanville, Ontario near Toronto on Sunday, July 13. The event on the 2.459-mile circuit is the sixth event for the GTLM class in the 2014 season. The race can be seen live on FOX Sports 1 at 2 p.m. EDT/11 a.m. PDT.
Select quotes from the drivers:
Jonathan Bomarito, driver, No. 93 Dodge Viper SRT GTS-R
How was your race today?
"It was tough, hot and challenging both physically and mentally. The guys did a great job. We have two Vipers on the podium - second and third - and we did it in a tough race. It was six hours on a tough course with a lot of traffic, but I'm really happy with the crew. We worked hard on the car today making changes and we had one of the fastest cars at the end. It's a shame we lost a little bit of track position because I think we had something to fight with at the end. It was good. I'm happy. We earned great points and we'll move on to the next one and I think we'll be real strong at Mosport as well."
Kuno Wittmer, driver, No. 93 Dodge Viper SRT GTS-R
How tough was today's event?
"The conditions were exhausting. My body just was not acclimating to the heat today. I was rejecting everything I put in my stomach. I have no explanation for it other than I drove my heart out when I was in the car. I tried forgetting about everything and I had the adrenaline level to compensate for all the issues going on with my body today. Either way, we finished second and third. We opted not to go to Le Mans to focus on this championship and here we are finishing second and third after a good month break during the 24 Hours of Le Mans. Everything is paying off and everything is moving in the right direction now."
Would the Vipers have caught the winner if it weren't for the caution?
"Yeah, we were going to get them. We definitely would have gotten them. I think we out-foxed a lot of teams today with fuel strategy considering that I got sick and the conditions and the yellows that we had, which were very limited. The crew is really, really good and the engineering is really sharp at determining new strategies as we go along. That's really, really important at this point of the year. We're just at the midpoint of the season."
How do you feel moving forward to Mosport?
"I think we can aim for the highest step on the podium from now on. Not that we aren't already, but the fact that we got so close and we were working really well together on track is encouraging. When I was racing with Marc (Goossens) or Dominik (Farnbacher) on track with the 91 Viper, we were just dancing together through the corners. We weren't doing anything stupid, we didn't not take any major risks and we were working as teammates and that's what we need to keep doing."