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ALMS interviews: behind the Viper win

by David Zatz on

Bob Gardetto was at the Road America ALMS race last week, and was able to talk to members of the winning SRT/Viper team:

Viper Driver Dominick Farnbacher in Victory Lane

Bob: Hi, Dom. What does this win mean for you today?

Dominick: For the team, it’s a huge win for them; they worked really hard, so I’m very happy.

Bob: What happens a year from now? I mean how do you build on that?

Dominick: We just keep our heads down and we go to a street course, completely different track. So we’ve got to go get it there.

ALMS Viper racing Road America 2013

Viper driver Marc Goossens

Bob: We wanted to know your impressions of the day and also see what this means not only for the program but for you personally, coming up with the next race in Baltimore.

Marc: Well, first of all, it’s good to within a year of coming back put the Vipers into this kind of race. We’re winning racers. Not only have we got so far, up in three pole positions, we had a second and a third place last race. Now we won this one. So we cannot be anything else that’s less than proud of what we did.

It was a good race. I mean it was all strategy. We had some bad luck that Dominick got hit in the beginning of the race so we had to fix the bodywork in the first stop, but then again, we called for slicks when everybody else was still on wets and I think that’s where he made the difference and pulled the car back to the front and I just had to finish it.

Bob: When you guys cycled out of the lead pack of cars, was there any sort of worry that you wouldn’t actually get to the front again?

Marc: The good thing is that it happened early in the race, so you’ve got plenty of time to make up for the time, the time that you lose in pit lane. And that’s what we did. We made the right call, and I think where you see that experience of drivers comes into play because Dominick called for slicks and that was the right way to go. And for me at the end, it was more thinking about the economy than anything else because I had to make it on fuel to the end. It perfectly worked out.

Bob: What are your impressions coming up on Baltimore and do you feel like you’re confident enough to do this again?

Marc: You know, like I said, we’ve come a long way from last year. I mean on this track we’ve run I think about five or six seconds faster than last year, and in Baltimore we weren’t even too bad last year, although the program was very new at that time. But I think from what we learned from that time last year until now is going to pay off when we get back there. So we just have to try and get the momentum going.

SRT’s Beth Paretta:

Bob: What does it mean for you today and what does it mean for the program in the future?

Beth: We’re so excited. SRT Motor Sports is in its new iteration, a year old, so this is our birthday. And what better way to celebrate than being at the top of the podium? It was a nail biter at the end. We almost didn’t have enough fuel for the last lap, so we literally might not have won this.

Viper driver Kumo Wittmer

Bob: Kumo, this is a big win for you guys here today. First of all, how did it all cycle out for you guys, number one? And number two, what does this mean for the program now and into the future?

Kumo: Definitely, this is, again, another page in the history books for the viper and for SRT. Claiming our first win is what we wanted. It’s what we’ve been working towards since 2012. Coming back here after a year of absence, from last year to this year, we noticed it was five seconds faster which is huge. Now we just had to get strategies going properly and we did; we got that going. We had both ends covered of the 93 and the 91 car in strategies. Depending on which car was first, either way, we would’ve won.

ALMS Viper racing American Le Mans 2013

Gary Johnson, SRT Racing Manager

Bob: What does this win mean for the program coming up in the future?

Gary: Well, it’s strong. Any time you win, you get a program’s first win, it’s good for it. You know, it’ll just keep on rolling along as we go.

Bob: Okay. And as far as, you know, was there any other that . . . I mean obviously you cycled out a little bit during the race a little bit. What allowed you to get back into the front?

Gary: I think it was strategy. We have two cars on different strategy. If we were going to run out of fuel . . . if the top cars were going to run out of car if we stayed green, the 93 car would’ve won. So we split the strategy up and we kind of had them covered either way.

Bob: Okay, and what about the 93 car? How did that come out to be when he was on pole?

Gary: He had a really good qualifying one. Bomarino did a great job and the crew did a great job in giving him a great car.

Bob: Were there certain days as far as Baltimore is concerned, the next race coming up?

Gary: Well we ran extremely well at Long Beach, so we’re looking forward to trying to keep this momentum from this weekend and from our Long Beach weekend rolling.

Greg Fordahl – Team Engineer, AJR Team West Ferrari

Bob: What specifically happened to the car?

Greg: Broken header.

Bob: What overall do you feel like you need to do to improve upon your performance and also to get into the next race?

Greg: Fix the headers.

Bob: Do you feel like your qualifying is any problem at all?

Greg: No. Qualified third.

Bob: So basically is it just the fact that you’ve got to make sure everything holds up then?

Greg: Right. Car’s a little more fragile than some of the other cars.

Bob: Before you broke, who was your biggest competition today?

Greg: The Vipers obviously, because the Vipers are faster than everything.

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