Ready to Race: Spirits are high as SRT Viper GTS-Rs pass first test at Mid-Ohio.
The SRT Motorsports team put in a promising first day of testing at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course, starting its 2012 debut weekend with 44 laps around the 2.25-mile, 13-turn road course located in the cornfields of Central Ohio.
Both the #91 Forza Motorsports-sponsored Viper GTS-R and the #93 Pennzoil Ultra machine turned competitive laps for the first time since the team's return to the American Le Mans Series. The #91 car with Kuno Wittmer and Dominik Farnbacher ran 28 laps with a best time of 1:22.891, while the #93 of Marc Goossens and Tommy Kendall carded a top time of 1:23.759 after 16 laps.
"The car felt like a real race car out there," Kendall said. "To be in a Viper at Mid-Ohio is a great feeling and now that we've gotten the car on track, we can get to work on massaging and improving the little parts of the car that make you go fast."
The team had to deal with a very warm Ohio summer day as temperatures topped the 90-degree mark under cloudless skies. The SRT Motorsports team put in nearly two full hours of testing on the new cars today and reported only minor issues.
"The car is running pretty good, we had no big issues that hurt us today," reported SRT Motorsports Road Racing Manager Gary Johnson. "We're confident in a number of areas of the car. The drivetrain is working well, the brakes are good, and we are getting good power so I think we just have to go back and start working on little things."
One of those little things that can move a car up the results sheet in the ALMS is time spent on Pit Lane, which is why the #91 team spent extra time in the pits after today's allotted testing time. Farnbacher and Wittmer did a number of simulated driver changes and pit stops, trying to make sure that things go as smoothly as possible once the heat of the GT battle gets turned up.
But with its first competition of the season still two days off, today was a day of good feelings in the SRT Motorsports pit. Getting a program from the design stage to rolling onto the race track in such a short time is a source of pride for the SRT team - who hadn't really sat back to think about what they had accomplished until the engines shut down today.
"Today was great to get out here and just get some laps in, it was almost like a little celebration after that first lap," said Wittmer. "But now it is time to get to work. I think that this is a car that is going to be really good under braking, and the aerodynamics of this car are so good that the car feels really well-balanced right off the truck. Now we are just going to chip away at it, find a tenth of a second at a time and try to get ready for qualifying."
The SRT Motorsports' Viper GTS-Rs will have two more practice sessions ahead of them Friday, leading into the Friday afternoon qualifying session, which gets underway for the GT class at 12:42 p.m. Eastern Time. Saturday's race begins at 1:05 p.m. and can be seen on a tape-delay basis on ABC starting at 2:00 p.m. EST. Stay with driveSRT.com for inside coverage of the Viper GTS-R return to racing. Be sure to check in with us all weekend on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.