By Patrick Rall
The 2014 Rolex 24 hour race at Daytona International Speedway is a couple weeks away and as the two SRT Motorsports Viper teams prepare for the grueling endurance race, each of the teams has signed on a new driver to join those racers who spent time last year behind the wheel of the Viper race cars in the American LeMans Series.
“With Ryan returning and Rob joining SRT Motorsports, we’ve solidified our team for competition in the longer endurance events,” said Beth Paretta, Director of Marketing and Operations – SRT Brand and Motorsports, Chrysler Group LLC. “We can now turn our focus to continuing to get ready for Daytona and the upcoming season. We’re excited to kick off the new season and confident that we can continue improving and have an even better year in 2014.”
Ryan Hunter Reay joins the SRT Motorsports team for the Rolex 24 at Daytona to drive #91 SRT Viper GTS-R along with Dominik Farnbacher and Marc Goossens. Hunter Reay was the 2012 IndyCar Series champion along with having won races throughout his career in the ranks of CART, ChampCar, ALMS and Grand Am. Hunter-Reay has driven the modern Viper GTS-R previously when he assisted the teams in the 2012 American LeMans Series. Hunter-Reay has driven in the Rolex 24 at Daytona seven times before with a best finish of second overall back in 2013 behind the wheel of a Corvette Daytona Prototype.
“The SRT Motorsports program has come such a long way in a short period of time,” Hunter-Reay said. “This is truly one of the most competitive forms of GT class racing in the world and for the Viper GTS-R team to earn three poles and a win last season is outstanding. I have a long history with the Riley Technologies family and am looking forward to working with the same group in 2014 to again represent SRT on the track.”
Rob Bell joins the SRT Motorsports team for the 2014 Rolex 24 at Daytona to help pilot the #93 Viper GTS-R along with Kumo Wittmer and Jonathon Bomarito – who steps in to fill the slot previously held by Tommy Kendall. Bell comes to the SRT team from his position as a McLaren GT factory driver while having also worked as a factory driver for Ferrari, Aston Martin and Porsche with track time spent in the American LeMans Series, the European LeMans Series (where he has won two championships) and the FIA GT. Bell has made two previous starts in the Rolex 24 at Daytona with a second place finish in the GT class in 2011 and a rough outing in 2012 where his Porsche team finished 52nd overall and 39th in the GT class.
“After seeing the steady progress the SRT Motorsports team has made, I can’t wait to get behind the wheel at Daytona and compete against some of the best GT class teams in the world,” Bell said. “Being the new kid on the block that is joining a team as it continues to grow and get better with every race, I’m confident it won’t take long to feel right at home.”
Both of the 2014 SRT Viper GTS-R teams will compete in the GTLM class in the Rolex 24 at Daytona on January 25 and 26 – against automakers like Porsche, BMW, Ferrari, Aston Martin and the Chevrolet Corvettes that have been the Viper teams’ American rivals since the SRT name returned to endurance racing in 2012.