By Patrick Rall
The 2013 American LeMans Series held it’s third race this past weekend and for the third time this season, the #91 SRT Viper GTS-R piloted by Dominic Farnbacher and Marc Goossens grabbed a top five spot in the GT class finishing 5th in class and 13th overall. Unfortunately, things didn’t go so well for the #93 Viper team as mechanical issues forced the duo of Kumo Wittmer and Jonathon Bomarito to settle for the last overall spot in the 36 car field.
Both teams troubles began during qualifying where the #91 Viper was only able to climb to the 8th starting spot while the #93 Viper was technically the slowest GT-class car to qualify (although one car not making a qualifying run allowed the #93 car to start in the 10th spot rather than 11th). Once the green flag dropped, Dominic Farnbacher gradually worked his way up through the GT field, running as high as third during his two hour stint in the #91 Viper while being within a few seconds of the class leader throughout his portion of the race. Once Marc Goossens took over to close out the race, he continued the front running trend with the help of some lightning quick pit stops and as the race drew to a close – Goossens sat in the 4th position (in class). Unfortunately, a caution late in the race lined the cars up for a one lap race to the checkered flag and the 5th place Ferrari 458 was able to get a big jump on the #91 Viper on the restart to take away the 4th spot.
The Laguna Seca race is likely one that the #93 SRT Viper GTS-R team will want to forget about as quickly as possible with a long season ahead. After posting the worst qualifying time in the class, Kumo Wittmer was forced to take his car behind the wall just a few minutes into the race to address a gearbox issue. After 45 minutes in the garage area, the #93 Viper hit the track once again but it wasn’t long before the gearbox once again failed. On the day, the #93 car only completed 12 laps (the 5th place Viper completed 142 laps) which forced that half of the Viper team to finish last in the GT class and overall.
This strong start has put Farnbacher and Goossens in a tie for third place in driver’s points both just 5 points out of 1st and just 2 points behind Tommy Milner and Oliver Gavin who pilot the #4 Chevrolet Corvette. The #91 Viper driven by Farnbacher and Goossens finished 5th in class and 19th overall at the 12 Hours of Sebring while posting their season best finish of 3rd in class and 9th overall at the Long Beach event. Continued consistency like this perhaps coupled with a win could give the drivers of the #91 SRT Viper a very real chance of winning the 2013 American LeMans Series Driver’s Championship and with 7 races left – there is plenty of time for both teams to continue to shake out the bugs and build experience in the new Mopar supercar.
GT Class results from Laguna Seca:
1. #3 Chevrolet Corvette C6 ZR1 (Jan Magnussen, Antonio Garcia)
2. #17 Porsche 911 GT3 RSR (Wolf Henzler, Bryan Sellers)
3. #56 BMW Z4 GTE (John Edwards, Dirk Muller)
4. #23 Ferrari F458 Italia (Bill Sweedler, Townsend Bell)
5. #91 SRT Viper GTS-R (Dominik Farnbacher, Marc Goossens)
6. #48 Porsche 911 GT3 RSR (Bryce Miller, Marco Holzer)
7. #06 Porsche 911 GT3 RSR (Tom Kimber-Smith, Patrick Long)
8. # 62 Ferrari F458 Italia (Olivier Beretta, Matteo Malucelli)
9. #4 Chevrolet Corvette C6 ZR1 (Tommy Milner, Oliver Gavin)
10. #55 BMW Z4 GTE (Bill Auberlen, Maxime Martin)
11. #93 SRT Viper GTS-R (Kuno Wittmer, Jonathan Bomarito)