SRT Motorsports Post-Qualifying Report - SportsCar Grand Prix at Mosport
SRTĀ® (Street and Racing Technology) Motorsports won its second pole of the inaugural IMSA TUDOR United SportsCar Championship season, and second in a row at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park, when Canada-native Kuno Wittmer topped GTLM qualifying for tomorrow's SportsCar Grand Prix in the No. 93 Dodge Viper SRT GTS-R on Saturday.
Wittmer, from Montreal, Quebec, Canada, turned a top lap of 1:15.206 (117.709 mph) on his third lap early in the timed 15-minute session. The pole was Wittmer's first in IMSA competition and he joined teammate Marc Goossens, who won the pole at the season-opening Rolex 24 At Daytona, as 2014 pole winners for SRT Motorsports.
Wittmer co-drives with teammate Jonathan Bomarito who drove the No. 93 to the 2013 GT pole position at Canadian Tire Motorsports Park.
The sister No. 91 Dodge Viper SRT GTS-R was qualified by Dominik Farnbacher and will start on the inside of row four on the grid. Farnbacher clocked in with a top lap time of 1:15.728 (116.897 mph) to start seventh with co-drive with teammate Goossens.
Wittmer is the fourth and final full-time SRT Motorsports driver to win a pole in IMSA GT competition. In addition to Goossens' pole in January at Daytona International Speedway and Bomarito's 2013 poles at Canadian Tire Motorsports Park and Wisconsin's Road America, Farnbacher won the pole in 2013 on the street circuit in Long Beach, Calif.
Dodge Viper SRT also became the first manufacturer in the IMSA TUDOR competition to sweep GT qualifying in the new series. In addition to Wittmer's top qualifying effort in GTLM, Jeroen Bleekemolen won the GTD class pole in the No. 33 ViperExchange.com Dodge Viper SRT GT3-R. The pole was the first for the Viper GT3-R in IMSA competition, as well as the first for the ViperExchange.com team.
The SportsCar Grand Prix at Mosport, the sixth event for the GTLM class in the 2014 IMSA schedule, will be broadcast live from Canadian Tire Motorsports Park on Sunday, July 13, at 2:00 p.m. EDT on FOX Sports 1.
Kuno Wittmer, driver, No. 93 Dodge Viper SRT GTS-R
How special is it to take the pole at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park?
"Definitely being a home track - I'm not going to say I have an advantage over anybody because all these drivers are world class - it just helps to know a little bit more around here. With the help of Team SRT and the Dodge Viper, we operated really well all day. I think it was just one of those magic laps. You just have to put it down. I gave it everything I had, pulled out all my tricks, and this is definitely one for home."
Did you know how fast your lap was?
"I had no clue what I was running. I was just radioing in after the first lap. I was like, 'Guys, I don't know what I'm doing, so just keep me up to date.' My engineer, Matt Bejnarowicz, would give me my lap time in corner two when you're at max G-load and you're trying to hang onto it. Everything went really well on the two, three laps that we did for the actual qualifying runs. The fast one was just an exciting lap. I went through turns one, two and eight faster than in practice and I knew that's where we needed to gain time. I was braking much deeper - about 50 to 100 meters deeper - and right back out on power, and the car held it. The Viper just held it."
Jonathan Bomarito, driver, No. 93 Dodge Viper SRT GTS-R
What do you think of Kuno Wittmer's performance?
"He did an amazing job. I got to see him briefly when he got out of the Viper. He said the car was really good. We made some good gains from practice to qualifying. The engineering staff and everybody with SRT has been doing a great job so far. The weather looks a little bit iffy tomorrow and we know we have a good dry car. We just need to move one step at a time. It's a short race at two hours and 45 minutes, and we know we have a fast car, so we just need to keep capitalizing. Hats off to Kuno for an amazing lap."
Dominik Farnbacher, driver, No. 91 Dodge Viper SRT GTS-R
How was your qualifying lap?
"First of all, congratulations to my teammate Kuno and the 93 car. It was a well-deserved pole position. It was a strong lap by Kuno and he really showed what he can do. I'm really happy for him. In our car, we only managed P7, but we have a reason - we gambled. We tried something with the setup and we went in the wrong direction. We sometimes use the qualifying session as a practice, so we tried out something. We didn't have time to go into the pits and change it back because it would have taken too long. It's okay. Tomorrow might be raining, so position doesn't matter as much in a rain race because there's so much going on and so much happening. I think we have a good car for tomorrow. Bill (Riley, lead engineer) does a great job analyzing everything and Tyler (Hook, track engineer), the engineers and Marc will also do a great job tomorrow. Hopefully, we can get both cars on the podium."
Marc Goossens, driver, No. 91 Dodge Viper SRT GTS-R
What is your strategy for tomorrow's race?
"We need to definitely talk about that because we tried something setup-wise for qualifying. Obviously, it wasn't the right thing to do. Dominik was having a hard time getting up to speed. There's a little more hard work to do tomorrow, but the most important thing is to celebrate both the GTD Viper and Kuno's car. For Kuno to take the pole position here at Mosport is pretty awesome. I'm very happy for him and his family and everybody that's around here with him. And, you know what, now each driver in the Viper GTLM program has earned a pole position. I'm pretty happy for the 93 and it could have been a little bit better for the 91 car, but these Vipers are good when it comes time to go racing. Hopefully, the team can work on strategy and Dominik and I will climb up the order tomorrow. We know it's a sprint race, but it's still two hours and 45 minutes and a lot can go wrong here in traffic, which is going to be tough with the GTD cars. Our first objective has to be passing some GTLM cars and I think we know what to do tomorrow."
Ralph Gilles, president and CEO of SRT Motorsports
How was the qualifying effort?
"That was a remarkable qualifying lap by Kuno and it speaks to the hard work our guys have put in the last few months. It's great to see the Dodge Viper and SRT Motorsports leading the pack in our classic red and white livery. Coming off a dual podium and having done the same here at Mosport last year, we're feeling confident - this is a track we expect to do well at. We'll have to see if that plays out in the race, but this is a great start for our Vipers here at Mosport."
Gary Johnson, SRT racing manager
What did you think about the qualifying performance?
"Kuno did a fantastic job. He knows the track really well. The team did a perfect job of tuning the car from this morning. There were some changes they made that really helped the car a lot. We're looking forward to a great race because this Viper has been on fire."
How special is it for Vipers to capture both the GTLM and GTD poles?
"It's the first time we've captured the pole for both classes. It just shows the breadth of the team's knowledge of getting both cars - and the cars aren't all that similar - to the pole."
Matt Bejnarowicz, lead engineer, No. 93 Dodge Viper SRT GTS-R
How excited are you after Kuno Wittmer's performance?
"It's awesome. I'm so proud of the team and so proud of Kuno. It's just an outstanding job and I couldn't be happier. I think it's a lot of hard work by a lot of people. It's very special to see two Vipers at the top of two classes. It's a validation for a great car and a great team."
Is there any added advantage to having the pole for a wet race?
"I think anytime you're up front it's an advantage - wet or dry. It's an advantage from a visibility standpoint, especially if there's a lot of rain. It's tough being behind other cars in that kind of situation. Vision alone, especially here with a lot of blind corners and a lot of compression turns, if you have clear vision just being up front in the rain is a huge advantage."
Bill Riley, lead engineer, No. 91 Dodge Viper SRT GTS-R
How special is it for Vipers to capture both the GTLM and GTD poles?
"It's a pretty good day for Viper to have both cars on the pole here, I can tell you that much. It's a really good day. In this kind of racing, it's definitely an advantage to have the pole to play the traffic a bit better and we've seen that in the last few races. The cars that are on pole run pretty strong because you're able to put some slower prototype cars between the pole GT car and the rest of the field and get a good gap on that first stint. I'm pretty excited for tomorrow."
SRT Motorsports Team Lineup for Mosport
No. 91 Dodge Viper SRT GTS-R
Driver: Dominik Farnbacher (Germany)
Driver: Marc Goossens (Belgium)
Lead Engineer: Bill Riley
No. 93 Dodge Viper SRT GTS-R
Driver: Jonathan Bomarito (United States)
Driver: Kuno Wittmer (Canada)
Lead Engineer: Matt Bejnarowicz
Name: SportsCar Grand Prix at Canadian Tire Motors. Park (race six of 11 for GTLM)
Date: July 13, 2014
Time: 2:05 p.m. EDT for 2 hours and 45 minutes
Track: Canadian Tire Motorsports Park in Bowmanville, Ontario, Canada, 2.459 miles
Broadcast Information: FOX Sports 1 live at 2:00 p.m. EDT