Adaptation Ensues: SRT Viper GTS-R receives final tweaks prior to contest at Road America.
The SRT Motorsports started on-track preparations for the second event in its return to American Le Mans Series competition, running both SRT Viper GTS-Rs in a two-hour test session today at Road America.
Both the #91 Forza Motorsports SRT Viper of Dominik Farnbacher and Kuno Wittmer and the #93 Pennzoil Ultra SRT Viper of Tommy Kendall and Marc Goosens ran a full-two hour session on the 4.048-mile Road America layout, gathering valuable data as they prepare for tomorrow's qualifying.
"We ran a lot of laps today and we weren't quite where we wanted to be setup-wise," said Riley Technologies co-founder Bill Riley. "But all the drivers got through the cars, the car held up well and we got a lot of work done."
Today's testing run showed SRT Motorsports that it needed to focus on finding speed – a characteristic that while not unique in racing – is especially vital at the interminable Elkhart Lake circuit where races are won and lost on its high-speed sections.
"I think we're lacking a little bit on straight-line speed and we need to reduce some more drag," said SRT Motorsports Road Racing Manager Gary Johnson. "Road America is a track with a bunch of long straights and if you are off a little bit in that area, you are going to fall behind. But while we're working on our setup and looking for some things, we have a lot of good things going on as well. The engine ran great, the brakes were phenomenal and we think that we are getting better every time we go out."
So in its search for a solution, the team is going back to the database it compiled over hundreds of miles of testing leading up to its 2012 debut two weeks ago at Mid-Ohio.
"We're just a little off. We're making some big changes tonight that should really help us," reported Riley. "We found some changes in a similar situation in a test at VIR that made a difference and we expect that it will do the same here. We are working very hard to make the changes overnight so we will be ready for the morning."
In addition to its search for speed on the track, the SRT Motorsports team worked hard on cutting time on pit lane. Both the 91 and the 93 teams turned in a number of practice pit stops as both squads searched for ways to save vital seconds during mandatory fuel stops and driver changes.
"We spent a lot of time practicing pit stops and driver changes and that went really well," reported Johnson. "This team is new to us, but is very experienced. The guys know what they need to do, now it is all about choreography, making sure they can get their jobs done without stepping on each other. A lot of these guys have a lot of sportscar experience in the Grand-Am series and know what it takes to get the job done."
The SRT Motorsports squad gets back to work tomorrow with two hours of practice leading up to Saturday's qualifying session. On-track action gets underway at 11:25 a.m. Eastern Time with a one-hour session, followed by another that begins at 3:25 p.m. Qualifying starts just after the end of the second practice and can be followed live via the timing and scoring feature found at ALMS.com beginning at 4:35 p.m. Eastern.