By Patrick Rall
This past weekend, the endurance racing teams of the Tudor United Sports Car Championship arrived at Sebring International Raceway in Florida for the annual winter testing session and the SRT Viper GTS-R program sent the #93 car to Florida for this important test run. This is the final open testing session for all of the teams before the weekend-long event that is the 12 Hours of Sebring beginning on March 13th.
The Sebring winter test session consists of four rounds and both Jonathan Bomarito and Marc Goossens were on hand to take turns lapping Sebring in the #93 SRT Viper GTS-R. Goossens, who usually drives the #91 Viper GTS-R, was joining Bomarito in the #93 car so that the team didn’t have to take both cars but even with only one car involved in the testing process – it was a good day for the Viper team. Granted, things could have gone better as they only turned in the 3rd fastest lap in the GTLM class, but the Viper narrowly trailed only two Porsche 911 teams. Also, the Viper was quicker than both the #3 and #4 Corvette C7R teams so the SRT race cars could have an advantage heading into the 12 Hours of Sebring race next month. Fittingly, you can see one of the Corvettes way off in the distance behind the Viper in the image above.
The fastest lap turned in by the #93 SRT Viper GTS-R was timed to 2:00.496, just over a second slower than the #911 Porsche 911 which was the fastest car in the GTLM class throughout the entire testing session. This is particularly important to see the Viper towards the front of the field after IMSA recently handed out a “balance of performance adjustment” that added weight, reduced power and reduced fuel capacity for the Viper teams. The Viper was 3rd in the Rolex 24 after a handful of mechanical issues and even with the performance hindering changes handed down by IMSA – the Viper is still one of the quickest cars in the field.
The teams now have a couple weeks to prepare the #91 and #93 SRT Viper GTS-R race cars before the 12 Hours of Sebring race on March 15th.