Spoiler Alert: ALMS results from Road America.
The SRT Motorsports team continued climbing the American Le Mans Series ladder in just its second race of the year Saturday at Road America, scoring the team's second top-10 finish in as many starts in the 2012 ALMS campaign.
The #91 Forza Motorsports SRT Viper GTS-R earned the best finish for the nascent program today as Kuno Wittmer and Dominik Farnbacher came home ninth in the Road America Road Race Showcase.
The ninth-place run was the second top-10 of the season for the #91 car, coming on the heels of a 10th-place run at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course two weeks ago, in what was the first outing of the year for the SRT Motorsports Viper GTS-R program.
"Another top-ten. What more can you ask for from a program that made its debut two weeks ago?" Wittmer exclaimed. "We've made excellent progress. We took this race very, very serious as if we were leading the race. We finished ninth, got some good data and had good comrade between the teammates and the crew. We had good driver changes and pit stops; everything was going in a positive direction again. I think it was a big step over Mid-Ohio. Now we get ready for Baltimore."
The #93 Pennzoil Ultra GTS-R did not fare as well as Tommy Kendall suffered an accident soon after taking over the SRT Viper GTS-R from Marc Goosens. Kendall came off the rumble strips at the high-speed Turn Three corner and lost grip over the elevation change that follows the corner. The car came off the ground, and suffered a part failure when it landed, sending the across the track and into the outside wall. The car was retired just before the race's halfway point.
"It's not the way we wanted our day to end," Kendall lamented. "There's so little time until the next race. Our primary goal was to get both cars to the finish and not do any damage. So, we did not accomplish that. That's the overwhelming taste in my mouth right now. But every time we run the car, we learn about it. We learned something here the hard way. Days like today are not the best ones."
As in Mid-Ohio, the SRT Motorsports team answered the bell for every testing, practice and qualifying session and continued building a database of vital information in preparation for its full-time return to ALMS competition in 2013.
I think we're where we thought we would be in the development process after two races. We had a good strong finish with the 91 today," said Gary Johnson, Road Racing Manager - SRT Motorsports. "What we're looking for right now is getting a little more top speed on the car. When we do, I think we'll be right there. Today, the cars were great on the handling side. The brakes were very strong. The Michelin tires were perfect. All we're looking for a little more speed to be more competitive."
The two races run to date have been positive experiences for the SRT Motorsports outfit, but the upcoming Baltimore Sportscar Challenge presented by SRT will provide a whole new challenge. The first two events were run on classic road courses, while the Balitmore event will be on a street course where narrow streets and little runoff area can turn a little mistake into a big problem.
"There were some positives this weekend," said Bill Riley, Vice-President of Riley Technologies. "The crew did a great job. We ran every session and we had no mechanical issues. By that, it's a very big positive. We had some issues the last race with cockpit heat and fuel-cell pickup. We addressed those. We now have some new issues, a big challenge coming up getting ready for Baltimore with the accident involving the 93. We'll have to work hard this week in the shop and get it fixed."
The race from Road America airs on ESPN2 Sunday, August 19 at 2pm EDT.