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Apr 29, 2014 - 03:57 PM
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SRT Motorsports Pre-Race Report - Monterey Grand Prix at Laguna Seca
Posted by: newsla on Apr 29, 2014 - 03:55 PM
USCR News
SRT Motorsports Pre-Race Report - Monterey Grand Prix at Laguna Seca


SRT ® (Street and Racing Technology) Motorsports enters the Monterey Grand Prix at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca this weekend, May 3 - 4, eager to regain the early-season momentum the team established in the Rolex 24 At Daytona and the 12 Hours of Sebring and rebound from an unusual weekend one race ago at the Grand Prix of Long Beach.

 

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The two-car SRT Viper GTS-R team arrives at the Laguna Seca circuit, the site of the fourth event in the IMSA TUDOR United SportsCar Championship, having captured two podium finishes and a pole position in the season-opening races at Daytona and Sebring. The team is determined to return to that competitive form in Sunday's two-hour race on the historic, 2.238-mile circuit and put Long Beach's unforeseen setup and mechanical issues well behind them.

The Monterey Grand Prix at Laguna Seca is contested in two events, each featuring a pair of classes, and will be broadcast live this Sunday, May 4, on FOX Sports 1 at 5:30 p.m. EDT when SRT Motorsports' GTLM class will compete along with the Prototype division.

SRT Motorsports Storylines for Laguna Seca

WHEN LAST IN LAGUNA: After a part-time schedule in 2012, SRT Motorsports debuted at Laguna Seca last season and tallied a top-five result in the Monterey Bay area. Dominik Farnbacher and Marc Goossens piloted the No. 91 SRT Viper GTS-R to a fifth-place result on the famous Northern California circuit, the team's third-straight top-five result at the time - also marking the first three top-fives by the fledgling program. With the momentum continuing after Monterey, SRT Motorsports went on to capture its first win at Road America and first two poles in the following months. The team's streak of top-fives continued for eight total races.

MONTEREY NATIVE: SRT Motorsports driver Jonathan Bomarito is a native of Monterey and grew up watching races at his famed hometown track. His father often took Bomarito to the track or the aspiring driver would bicycle to the circuit to watch races. Soon thereafter, he began competing locally in karts and went on to win the first Stars of Tomorrow karting championship before moving up the ranks to Formula Atlantic and then to sports cars. In addition to his local racing experience, Bomarito also served as a driving instructor at Laguna Seca before advancing his racing career.

DOM'S DOMINANCE IN MONTEREY: After finishing second in his first appearance in Monterey in 2007, Farnbacher captured a victory at Laguna Seca in his second America Le Mans Series start at the track in 2008. After starting third in the GT2 class, Farnbacher and his co-driver raced to the class lead and gained seven positions in the event to finish 14th overall. In addition to his victory and runner-up results at Laguna Seca, the native of Germany also has results of fourth (2009) and fifth (2013) at the circuit.

SRT LAGUNA LAP RECORD: The street-legal, factory-produced 2014 SRT Viper TA (Time Attack) holds the production car lap record at Laguna Seca with a time of 1:33.62.

SRT POINTS PRIMER: After three of 11 races in the IMSA TUDOR GTLM class, the SRT Motorsports SRT Viper GTS-Rs are tied for fifth in the GTLM team standings with 81 points - nine marks out of first place - and the team standings reflect the driver standings. In the manufacturer standings, SRT ranks third with 90 points, only 10 behind first place and four points from second.

SRT Quotes for Laguna Seca

Marc Goossens, driver, No. 91 SRT Viper GTS-R
Is Monterey one of the more fun stops on the schedule?
"We look forward to coming to Monterey with it's beautiful scenery and all of the activity. Competing at Laguna Seca Raceway is amazing with the famous corkscrew and elevation changes; there's a very good atmosphere in the paddock that everybody wants to experience."

Is it helpful to have experience from your first trips to these tracks in the Viper?
"The fact that we are starting to go to past race tracks has its advantages. Last year, we went to Laguna and it was my first time being back there in a number of years and our first time going there with the SRT Viper. We've come a long way with the program in the past year - the cars have changed and we've progressed in this past year, I am really looking forward to going back."

Dominik Farnbacher, driver, No. 91 SRT Viper GTS-R
Is Laguna Seca a track you enter with confidence?
"Last year, Monterey was not the best race for us. We were struggling to find speed in the practice sessions and had issues with grip. Monterey has very typical asphalt, but it's very, very strange asphalt that is suited to certain tires and a setup, which makes you really work a lot harder on it. I'm really looking forward to Laguna, I like the corkscrew corner and I've always been successful there. I think the track suits me well and we're going to work to get the Viper well-suited for the track."

Jonathan Bomarito, driver, No. 93 SRT Viper GTS-R
What were you first experiences at your hometown circuit?
"I was born and raised in Monterey County and I used to ride my bike from my backyard up to the track as a kid. I've always been around it. I taught at the racing school up there for a number of years and it's definitely my hometown. I would go up there as a young kid with my dad and I remember going out there and watching IndyCar practice when I was very small, my first memories of racing are out there at Laguna Seca."

Is there added pressure racing in your hometown?
"It's obviously special to race as a career; it's a lot of fun and I enjoy sharing that with friends, family and the fans. To have family and friends around the track at Monterey adds a lot more to an already busy schedule but, in the end, it's worth it and its fun to be able to share that time with everyone."

Kuno Wittmer, driver, No. 93 SRT Viper GTS-R
Why do you think this race is interesting for SRT?
"Monterey is going to be an interesting event for us given that the street car actually holds the record over the other competitors in the championship. That's promising - the big V10 front-engine is balanced throughout the chassis in a way that it performs well at Laguna Seca and that's something to look forward to since our race cars come from the same genetics. As far as performing, I think we can do very well. I love driving the Viper there and I think the Viper loves to breath there. It loves to come down the hill after the corkscrew and pick up speed. Of course, Jonathan has been there a lot. He's coached there in the past and he knows the track like the back of his hand. Keeping that in mind, I think we'll be pretty good in the 93 car."

Russ Ruedisueli, head of SRT and motorsports engineering
How do you balance the need for both handling and horsepower at Laguna Seca?
"Laguna Seca is really a combination track. It is very smooth by comparison to the last two tracks we have been at - both Sebring and Long Beach - but grip is always an issue because of all the sand that gets blown or pushed on to the track. Additionally, the track has big elevation changes that challenge the team to find a good setup. With that said, horsepower is also a big factor because it seems like you are always climbing a hill at Laguna."

What do you have to do to have success at Laguna Seca?
"As competitive as this series is, you almost need to roll off the truck with a perfect set up, put the cars on the front row, make no mistakes in the pits or on the track and have a durable car that is consistent for our drivers through a stint. I'm exaggerating a bit, but that's about what it takes towin."

What has the team done to rebound from the issues at Long Beach?
"Long Beach was disappointing because we had been building momentum this season, had done well in Long Beach last year and therefore had high expectations for a good finish this year. We struggled both with setup and some durability issues, typically strong suits of the team and the Viper. The team regrouped after the race and addressed each issue. I am so proud of our team. The level of talent and experience is incredible. This small set back will make us stronger. I see it in everyone's eyes - they are hungry for our first win this season and are willing to put in whatever effort is required to get it."

SRT Motorsports Team Lineup for Laguna Seca

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

Race Information
Name: Monterey Grand Prix at Laguna Seca (race four of 11 for GTLM)
Date: May 4, 2014
Time: 5:30 p.m. EDT for two hours
Track: Laguna Seca in Monterey, Calif., 2.238 miles
Broadcast Information: FOX Sports 1 live at 5:30 p.m. EDT (P/GTLM). Live coverage of the day's earlier race (PC/GTD) airs at 1:00 p.m. EDT.


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