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Mar 16, 2014 - 06:28 AM
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SRT Motorsports 12-Hours Of Sebring Mid-Race Report
Posted by: newsla on Mar 16, 2014 - 06:22 AM
USCR News
SRT Motorsports 12-Hours Of Sebring Mid-Race Report


Shaking off disappointing qualifying runs to quickly race into contention, both SRT ® (Street and Racing Technology) Motorsports Viper GTS-R teams led in the first half of today's 62nd Annual Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring Fueled by Fresh from Florida and were in the hunt for the GTLM class victory as the race reached the halfway point.

 

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Despite starting eighth and 10th respectively in the field, both the No. 93 SRT Viper GTS-R and No. 91 SRT Viper GTS-R moved into lead-pack contention early in the race's opening hour. Starting driver Kuno Wittmer, who co-drives the No. 93 with full-season teammate Jonathan Bomarito and Rob Bell, gave SRT its first lead just 50 minutes into the race. Two hours after that, Dominik Farnbacher moved the No. 91, which he shares with full-season co-driver Marc Goossens and IndyCar champion Ryan Hunter-Reay, into the lead for the first time of the race.

The 91 also had the honor of leading the first of the race's three segments in the IMSA Tequila Patrón North American Endurance Cup GTLM standings. With Farnbacher at the wheel, the No. 91 was leading at the four-hour mark and earned five valuable points in the first Patrón Endurance Cup segment.

In total, the first half of the race for SRT Motorsports was about as clean and conservative as the notoriously unforgiving Sebring track will allow. Several top-tier GTLM class competitors ran into early contact and mechanical issues but SRT Motorsports raced in the top-five and on the lead lap for the entirety of the race's first half. At the end of the opening six hours, the No. 93 was fourth and the No. 91 was fifth in the GTLM rankings.

More than half of the race's first six hours were run under caution as several competitors had mechanical issues and numerous contact incidents, but the only early scare SRT endured was before the race even started. The No. 91 was hit in the pits by a PC competitor late in this morning's warm-up session but the SRT Motorsports crew was able to repair the right-side damage on the car right on the pre-race grid for an on-time race start.

The Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring ends tonight at 10:15 p.m. EDT and can be viewed live through the finish on www.IMSA.com.

Marc Goossens, driver, No. 91 SRT Viper GTS-R
How did the car feel in the opening stint after the SRT Motorsports crew quickly repaired the damage from the warm-up incident in the pits?
"The car was great and the best quote of the week came from Bill Riley. The car was beaten up very badly last year at Petit Le Mans but kept going strong and setting fastest lap times. On the warm-up lap prior to the race, Bill came on the radio and said 'remember, this car is always faster after a wreck.' In a way, that's true because the car was really good at the start of the race. I really want to thank the guys for the awesome job they did. Having an incident prior to the race is not the way to go for a 12-hour race but those guys really know what they are doing. Time limits don't hurt their performance and that's great to see."

Kuno Wittmer, driver, No. 93 SRT Viper GTS-R
We didn't really qualify where we wanted, but we managed to quickly get in this race. How are you feeling about our chances now?
"I think we're looking pretty good. If you look at the entire week, we were not the quickest cars on track, but the Viper is showing great reliability and that's what we have to bank ourselves on right now. It's all about staying clean and we'll be there at the end. I think a victory is going to be tough because some of the other cars a little quicker in a straight line but hopefully when the dark falls we can go for it."

Dominik Farnbacher, driver, No. 91 SRT Viper GTS-R
You did a great job making your way to the top of the leader board but how difficult is it maintaining momentum with all these cautions?
"Yes, it's frustrating. I've never had so many yellow flags and safety cars in my career before. But, first of all, I'm happy that with the accidents no one got hurt. I was very worried when I drove by some. Other than that, so far, the Viper is running exactly as we wanted. No problems so far, just pit stops, fuel, tires, roll. That's all we did so far; we just survive. I got very lucky one time I slowed down and a car came from my back and obviously didn't see the accident and almost hit me. I could hardly avoid it and I was lucky there."

SRT Motorsports Team Lineups for Sebring International Raceway
No. 91 SRT Viper GTS-R
Driver: Dominik Farnbacher (Germany)
Driver: Marc Goossens (Belgium)
Driver: Ryan Hunter-Reay (United States)
Lead Engineer:Bill Riley

No. 93 SRT Viper GTS-R
Driver: Jonathan Bomarito (United States)
Driver: Kuno Wittmer (Canada)
Driver: Rob Bell (United Kingdom)
Lead Engineer:Matt Bejnarowicz

Race Information
Name: Twelve Hours of Sebring (race two of 11 for GTLM)
Date: March 15, 2014
Time: 10:15 a.m. EDT for 12 hours
Track: Sebring International Raceway in Sebring, Fla.


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