By Patrick Rall
After podium finishes at each of the last two American LeMans Series races including the first modern SRT Viper GTS-R win since returning to endurance racing, the two SRT Viper teams headed to the street course of Baltimore with the hopes of continuing the streak. Sadly, they were unable to do so in the wreck-shortened race in Maryland but both cars still finished the race and one of the Vipers grabbed a top ten overall finish in the field of 31 cars.
Things got started off badly for both SRT Viper GTS-R race teams in qualifying when the #91 Viper qualified 7th in the class (17th overall) and the #93 Viper qualified started 10th in the class and 20th overall. Although the two Vipers were able to work their way up in the field to finishing positions of 5th in the GT class (9th overall) for the #91 car driven by Dominic Farnbacher and Marc Goossens and 6th in class (11th overall) for the #93 Viper driven by Jonathon Bomarito and Kumo Wittmer – this was a far cry from the handful of podium finishes and the win in Wisconsin. Worse even was the fact that the Vipers failed to continue their momentum at the event which was presented by the SRT brand.
“That was a crazy race especially the beginning,” Farnbacher said. “We were quite lucky that we could stay out of it (accident at the start of the race). The 93 got tangled up in the mishap but our SRT Motorsports team rocks. Who else could get the car back out within a few minutes? I mean the 93 car was completely totaled on the front and the guys brought it back out before the (race) restart. I’m very proud to be a part of that team.”
There was a huge wreck on the first lap of the race and the #93 Pennzoil Viper was collected and received a punctured radiator. Fortunately, the team was able to get the car fixed and back underway during the ensuing red flag situation. The #93 Viper managed to complete the same number of laps (41) as the car that won the race and the car that won the GT Class.
In addition to damaging the #93 SRT Viper GTS-R, the first lap wreck had a huge impact on the race as it was shortened from 120 minutes down to just 69 minutes so it was more of a sprint than an endurance race. That forced the teams to change their race strategy but the Vipers were still able to finish on the lead lap in a race where only 11 of the 31 cars in the field did so.
“The main story that we can take from all this is how hard the SRT Motorsports crew worked today,” said Bomarito. “They took us from being out of the race to not losing a lap and getting some points. My hat’s off to all the guys. They were ready for every situation we could throw at them and proved they were really well prepared today.”
The SRT Viper GTS-R race teams will be back in action later this month as the American LeMans Series tackles the Circuit of the Americas in Texas for a 2 hour and 45 minute race.