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Viper & Road Course Racing Fans - You wanted SRT to come back to Le Mans to take on the world, now you got it!

Allpar.com proudly presents 100% for the 1st time in this section's history, LIVE comprenhensive coverage of one of the most prestegious races in the world - the 24 Hours of Le Mans at Circuit de Le Sarthe in Le Mans France!

We will cover BOTH SRT Motorsports & Team Ferarri in all classes they will represent & race in.

We will have the most comprenhensive coverage of this race of any MOPAR enthusuiast forum on the planet!

Join us in this discussion to follow the race as Hemi Magnum, MOPARBob, Mike V. & Skyblade take you flag to flag for this event!


http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpage&v=DQeuQjnpKeA



Driver Entry List - SRT MOTORSPORTS - LM GTE PRO


# 53 SRT MOTORSPORTS SRT VIPER GTS-R LM GTE PRO
(the # 91 was taken by a Porche team)

Drivers:

Ryan DALZIEL (SCO)
Dominik FARNBACHER (DEU)
Marc GOOSSENS (BEL)


# 93 SRT MOTORSPORTS SRT VIPER GTS-R LM GTE PRO

Drivers:

Jonathan BOMARITO (USA)
Tom KENDALL (USA)
Kuno WITTMER (CAN)

______________________________________________________________________________

Driver Entry List - Team Ferrari - LM GTE PRO

# 51 Team Ferarri - AF Corsa - Ferrari 458 Italia

Drivers:

Gianmaria BRUNI (ITA)
Giancarlo FISICHELLA (ITA)
Matteo MALUCELLI (ITA)



# 71 Tean Ferarri - AF Corsa - Ferarri 458 Italia

Drivers:

Olivier BERETTA (MCO)
Kamui KOBAYASHI (JPN)
Toni VILANDER (FIN)


________________________________________________________________________________


Driver Entry List - Team Ferarri - LM GTE AM



# 54 Team Ferarri - AF CORSE - FERRARI 458 ITALIA LM GTE AM

Drivers:

Yannick MALLEGOL (FRA)
Jean-Marc BACHELIER (FRA)
Howard BLANK (USA)

# 55 Team Ferarri - AF CORSE - FERRARI 458 ITALIA LM GTE AM

Drivers:

Piergiuseppe PERAZZINI (ITA)
Lorenzo CASE (ITA)
DARRYL O'YOUNG (CAN)


# 57 Team Ferarri - KROHN RACING - FERRARI 458 ITALIA LM GTE AM

Drivers:

Tracy KROHN (USA)
Niclas JÖNSSON (SWE)
Maurizio MEDIANI (ITA)

# 61 Team Ferarri - AF CORSE - FERRARI 458 ITALIA LM GTE AM


Drivers:

Jack GERBER (ZAF)
Matthew GRIFFIN (GBR)
Marco CIOCI (ITA)

# 81 Team Ferarri - 8 Star Motorsports - FERRARI 458 ITALIA LM GTE AM

Drivers:

Vincente POTOLICCHIO (VEN)
Rui AGUAS (PRT)
Jason BRIGHT (AUS)




This Race WIll be broadcast LIVE on Speed Channel June 22nd & 23rd & you can also view the race LIVE in between Speed broadcasts also via web stream by going to http://www.lemans-tv.com/fr/ Either way you can't lose! There is little reason why you can't watch this epic, historic race!

Will SRT & Chrysler repeat the feat of winning their class 12 years later???
 

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8 Star Motorsports weighing in the car!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=o4BuODzCgGI
 

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To keep things organized and simplified, the following is a re-post from a separate thread as we counted down to Le Mans...



As years of waiting have turned into months and months have turned into weeks and now only days away from the paddock at Le Mans opening for business, SRT have delighted us with a series of comments from our drivers on what Le Mans means to them...

Jonathan Bomarito
It’s just an absolute dream come true to be racing at Le Mans. The reality is starting to set in that I’m going to get to do the race for the first time. As a race car driver, it’s one of those races that’s at the top of everybody’s list.

It all comes back to the history of motorsports and sports car racing. Le Mans is the pinnacle. When you look back at all the winners and manufacturer support over the years, the history of the race is just incredible. Now, to be a part of that and having your name in those record books is very special.
Kuno Wittmer
To me personally it’s a dream come true, something that every driver wants to do one day. It’s not necessarily every driver’s dream to be a Formula 1 driver or an IndyCar driver; to many drivers like myself, it’s to race at Le Mans. This 30-year-old driver is finally realizing that dream.

Being teamed with Jonathan (Bomarito) and Tommy (Kendall) and having Dominik (Farnbacher), Ryan (Dalziel) and Marc (Goossens) as teammates gives us a really strong two-car team. We all have experience in the car. Some teammates have raced there before; team members have been there before. They know what to expect. Any tips that you get are always a benefit. Bill Riley (VP and Chief Engineer, Riley Technologies) has been there I don’t know how many times. That previous experience provides a level of confidence. I think the six of us will drive really well.
Quotes courtesy of DriveSRT.com

Thoughts from the other drivers (Kendall, Farnbacher, Dalziel, Goosens) will be released and posted in the upcoming days.

While we're at it, let's open it up to the board. What does Le Mans mean to you? Are you a long-time fan or recent convert? If anyone has interesting stories, this is the place to post them!

Stay tuned for more special Viper at Le Mans postings, including a neat look into the logistics of what it takes to make the whole journey to France possible.
 

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Cont'd...

Ryan Dalziel

Racing in the 24 Hours of Le Mans is incredible. I’ve been twice and I’ve experienced kind of the highs and lows. The first year there, I didn’t even get to start the race; the second time, I won the race. I can’t say either time was better than the previous one. It’s just an amazing place, an electric atmosphere, something I had never experienced in any racing paddock.

To me, it reminded me more of going to some of the world championship soccer matches in Europe, you know, an atmosphere where you can’t hear yourself think. You can hear the crowds at Le Mans over the noise of the engines. It’s just an amazing place. I said after the first time there in 2010 that it’s my goal every year to make sure I go back.

Dominik Farnbacher


It’s a big deal because it has such a great history, the first really-endurance race in the world. The whole world is watching. It’s not only France or a particular country, the whole world watches the race. The crowds are outstanding, you have 200,000 people there. When you are lined up beside your car on the starting grid and hear your national anthem with everyone watching, it’s just breathtaking. There is no other race like it – the driver’s parade the day before, the ceremony prior to the race and the finish especially when you stand on the podium overlooking the race track with all the people there watching you, 200,000 people yelling and waving. It’s very unique; you don’t have that anywhere else.

You usually have four or five drivers for a 24-hour race. At Le Mans, you only have three drivers. It’s really a sprint race, a 24-hour sprint race. The GTE class is the strongest it’s ever been; there are five manufacturers competing against each other. To compete there, it’s really special. The ingredients for a strong finish are there – we have a strong team and car. It’s time to make it happen.

Marc Goosens


Le Mans is very special. I’ve had the opportunity to race there 11 times. Every single time I go to Le Mans and get out on the track the first time, I get goose bumps. It’s a major event. It’s the only race we do in Europe. The race has a lot of history. The return of the Viper makes it a unique situation for us. The Viper has been very successful there in the past. Fans worldwide will be watching us closely. We’re looking forward to being a part of Viper’s return.

We’ve been focused on Le Mans since we got the invitation in February. It is the ultimate endurance road race. I’m getting excited talking about it now. I want to get to France, get behind the wheel of the Viper and race.

Tommy Kendall


For me, it’s the last frontier. I’ve only raced there once. We had a good run; we finished seventh in our class. I’ve never won; I’ve never been on the podium so it certainly represents an unfulfilled goal. On the grand landscape, it’s the biggest sports car race on the planet. It’s hard to explain to people how cool it is. Not everyone is fortunate to be able to go as a driver but I would recommend going as a fan or any way you can. For this to have kind of happened, fallen into my lap, this opportunity to hook up with SRT, just in general, but the fact Le Mans was part of it was a huge part of my motivation for getting involved.

Obviously you remember the races that you’ve won but, in terms of single events, there’s nothing that comes close to Le Mans, just being part of it, being out on the grid before the start. I go to sleep every night thinking about the podium. I don’t think there’s a cooler celebration in sports than the podium at Le Mans. The podium at Monza is similar. I mean you look out and there’s a sea of people, national anthem playing and so forth. Whether we’ll get there or not, that’s what I go to sleep thinking about. There’s nothing like it.
 

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Viper's Journey to Le Mans
Part One of a special two part series:



For those faced with packing piles of luggage for a week long cross-country vacation in the family truckster, the SRT® Viper GTS-R race teams feel your pain. The teams’ pre-travel preparation is always extremely complicated, but exponentially so for the legendary 24 Hours of Le Mans in France, scheduled for June 22–23 — the squads began planning more than three months in advance to ship two entire race teams, cars, equipment and all, overseas for the motorsports endurance event.

“We started planning in early March for Le Mans,” said Mike Croake, Director of Product Support for Riley Technologies, which along with Riley Motorsports manages the operations of the twin Viper racing program. “We had a sea container leave the shop for Le Mans on May 6 to be transported by sea, and we began packing the materials that would go into it in late April.”

Moving two SRT Viper GTS-R race teams from the States to the Le Mans course southwest of Paris is a complex endeavor, to say the least. As a veteran of the “Le Mans Load-in,” Croake can relate to a certain jolly old elf on the importance of making a list and checking it twice.

“The biggest challenge is just listing everything,” explained Croake. “We try to operate off of two lists: we have one list for customs, which is a challenge in itself, and then we have that same list but more detailed so the crew is aware of the location of everything. That second list is for our reference; customs doesn’t care if the air torque wrench is in airfreight bin two or three.

“Until we get everything organized in the garage at Le Mans, it will be a challenge to know where everything is, especially if we didn’t have that list. We try to keep a crate dedicated to each department. Then it’s easier to locate the stuff, and you know who is responsible for packing, unpacking and reloading it after the race.”

The team filled a two-floor, 40-foot-long sea container, which was loaded onto a freighter in the Port of Charleston in South Carolina for shipping to France; the cross-Atlantic journey took approximately three weeks.

“Items shipped over included extras that we didn’t need at Laguna Seca or Lime Rock Park, the events that bookend Le Mans,” said Croake. “We have a spare chassis in the sea container, which took up the majority of space. We put a pit cart in there; a lot of support equipment went over in the container.”

Overseas shipping comes with the added burden of strict customs regulations. All team materials are shipped under an ATA Carnet, a customs form used for merchandise that will be re-exported in less than a year.

“Anything that you bring over, you are supposed to bring back,” said Croake. “Everything in the sea container is under one Carnet, and will have to come back all together. Sometimes there are delays with customs — you just hope it isn’t anything major.”

The cost to ship by sea is much more economical than by air — it’s about nine times cheaper to transport by sea. Nonetheless, some team equipment must take to the skies — including the pair of SRT Viper GTS-R race cars.

“The airfreight includes both cars, and all of the bodywork and spare car parts,” explained Croake. “We have at least one of everything. For the bodywork, we have at least two of everything, and for most, three of everything, pieces like the nose and tails. We take a lot of wheels — 11 sets, and we’ll also receive 10 sets in Le Mans directly from the manufacturer. All the pit stop equipment goes airfreight, because we don’t have a complete second set.

“We shipped six engines, two in the cars and four loose; each engine has its own Carnet form. You may have to fly an engine back to be rebuilt, or the race engines might arrive later in the week, because we don’t need them for the test day. Everything that flies has to have its own Carnet. We’ll take a transmission in each car and two loose for a total of four. That’s probably the heaviest crate we deal with, the transmission and sub-assembly crate.”

The cars and equipment destined for air freight were shipped by race hauler to Orlando last weekend for the flight overseas to London’s Heathrow Airport, where the materials waited to clear customs before being loaded onto transport trucks for the drive to France. Of course, the SRT Viper GTS-Rs received extreme care during the “boarding process.”

“The loading is heavily supervised,” said Croake. “It’s called a ‘live load,’ which enabled us to have a representative right on the tarmac. The race cars were rolled off the transporter, loaded and tied down onto a specialized airfreight pallet. To ensure the cars stay safe, we taped up the exhaust and made sure everything was attached securely. All fluids were drained, and we disconnected the batteries and taped up the battery terminals to make sure there was no chance of anything falling down and creating a spark.

“The main thing is to make sure everything is just taped up properly — and then you cross your fingers.”

With the logistics of transplanting two complete race teams by air and by the sea now complete, the team can take a small breather before its time for a smaller-scale travel project — packing their own suitcases for the flight to Le Mans. The team arrived this week, June 3, to meet the trucks and crates that await.

“The whole team was heavily involved in the shipping process,” recalled Croake. “I’d say it was all hands-on-deck last weekend. It will be a relief to finally open those doors and start to unpack."







Part Two:

The planning and packing is complete.

After more than three months of a complex logistical dance involving strict customs regulations and shipping both by sea and by air, two entire SRT® Viper GTS-R race operations — the cars, parts, equipment and materials needed to serve two teams — have arrived overseas for the legendary 24 Hours of Le Mans in France, scheduled for June 22–23. But before race fans can witness the first SRT Viper GTS-R sighting since 2000 on the Circuit de la Sarthe Le Mans course, one major undertaking still remains — the unpacking.

Mike Croake, Director of Product Support for Riley Technologies (which along with Riley Motorsports manages the operations of the twin Viper racing program), coordinated the arduous process of shipping the teams to France, supervising the packing of materials delivered overseas by shipping container as well as the vehicles and equipment flown over as air freight. For Croake and his crew, it was all hands on deck until the last crate was sealed for the journey — as it was when teams arrived on June 3 in Le Mans to begin unloading and setting up their garages.

“We pre-arranged everything when the container arrived in France,” said Croake. “The team was at the track when the sea container got there. That container held a lot of our garage equipment. The track opened on June 4, and I was extremely relieved when I saw the sea container and all of the airfreight at the track.”

The sea container was shipped from Port of Charleston in South Carolina to France, while air freight was flown from Orlando to Heathrow airport in London. From Heathrow, trucks transported the air freight — including the two SRT Viper GTS-Rs — to Le Mans.

“Both cars traveled in one specialty transporter,” explained Croake. “All the spares and equipment took two trucks to move. We wanted to try and keep it to one for budget reasons, but we had more to transport than we anticipated, which is the norm for a race like Le Mans.”

The air freight included fire suits and equipment for the impressive stable of SRT Viper GTS-R drivers taking the wheel at Le Mans — Marc Goossens, Dominik Farnbacher, Jonathan Bomarito and Kuno Wittmer will be joined by endurance racing specialists Tommy Kendall and Ryan Dalziel. Unfortunately, due to customs regulations, personal items and favorite food and drinks of the drivers must be purchased in France.

“The drivers’ uniforms and crew uniforms went over in the airfreight, as well as some of the drivers’ helmets,” said Croake. “Some drivers, though, like to keep control of their own equipment, so that’s kind of on a case-by-case basis.

“A lot of items that we may take to a regular race, we’re not permitted to transport internationally. We don’t bring any type of food or vitamins, or anything like that. Drivers like certain energy drinks, and we can’t import any of that stuff. We deal with that once we get over to Le Mans. There’s a store right down the street from the track, and we’ll be running back and forth from it many times a day. Every time you stop in, you’ll see at least one crew member from another team picking things up.”

Although the 24 Hours of Le Mans event proper occurs June 22–23, the first test day is scheduled only a few days after the cars and equipment arrive at the track. The team must unload the containers and crates and organize their temporary garage in a few short days.

“The test day at the track is June 9, and we start setting up today,” said Croake. “We’re budgeting a solid two days of garage work, which should give us two days of prep work on the cars. Then we can scrutinize everything the day before the test.

“I’d say it will probably be at least a solid day-and-a-half of everyone helping to set up the garage, and then we’ll cut the mechanics loose and have some of our fly-in guys, the other support staff, tweaking the garage and organizing it. Getting everything organized is one of the biggest challenges we face.”

Another obstacle is power — devices from North America run on 110-volt power, while power sockets in Europe pump electricity at 220 volts.

“The biggest challenge is the difference in power,” said Croake. “There are a lot of hurdles that you have to clear if you don’t have your own generator. You don’t realize just how many times you rely on plugging something in, especially in this day and age with computers and smartphones. We’re taking two generators with us and we have some conversion boxes that will convert the 220-volt down to 110-volt.”

In a pinch, the SRT Viper GTS-R teams can turn to their fellow countrymen for assistance, and vice-versa. “There will be a handful of American teams competing at Le Mans, and I’m sure we’ll be back-and-forth borrowing this and that,” said Croake. “Teams work together pretty well, especially when they’re in different classes. It will all equal out in the end.”

Much more work awaits Croake and company once the SRT Viper GTS-Rs cross the finish line. It’s time to pack up again, with the next event on the schedule, July 5–6 at Lime Rock Park, looming soon after Le Mans.

“The most important thing on Monday after the race is to get the cars prepped and get them out of the track, probably by 8 a.m.,” explained Croake. “We really want to get those out and to Heathrow as quick as possible, followed by the air freight. We’ll try to get the air freight loaded up and off to the airport by 10 a.m. to noon that day. The sea container is the last priority, as it holds equipment we really don’t need for Lime Rock. Hopefully, if everything goes well, we’ll pick everything back up in Orlando on June 28.”

The lists created for the shipments over to France come in handy for the journey back home. The customs Carnet forms must match up — materials shipped over in the sea container can’t return on the air freight, and vice versa.

“In theory, it should be easier to pack everything up at the track to get it back, compared to getting everything ready to ship over beforehand,” Croake said. “Listing everything that we are shipping is one of the most tedious tasks you’ll ever do, but it pays big dividends in the end. After the race, hopefully we’ve done well, everyone is in a good mood, and then the main focus is getting everything loaded.

“When we pulled into the track and I laid eyes on the sea container that has the matching numbers of the sea container that left the port back home a few weeks ago, it was a relief. When all the air freight arrives, that will be a huge sigh of relief. But I would say the biggest sigh of relief would be the cars seeing the checkered flag. That would be good.”

And if the SRT Viper GTS-R teams conquer Le Mans, precipitating the need to transport home some championship hardware?

“If we finish on the podium and get a trophy — I think we’ll hand carry it back,” offered Croake.



Story and photos courtesy of SRT Motorsports/DriveSRT.com

Destination: Le Mans, France

For those in the world of sports car racing receiving an invitation to compete in the 24 Hours of Le Mans – the most prestigious sports car endurance race in the world – the weeks leading up to making the trip is filled with excitement and anticipation but requires extensive planning.

On February 1, SRT® Motorsports accepted an invitation from the Automobile Club de I’Ouest (ACO) to field two SRT Viper GTS-Rs in the 81st running (the first race was in 1923 and has been run every year since its inception with the exception of 1936 when the race was not run due to a worker strike, and 1940 to 1948 due to World War II) of the endurance classic on June 22-23. Participation in the world’s oldest and most prestigious sports car endurance race is by invitation only.

Handling the Logistics

Traveling long distances for a motorsports event isn’t something new for SRT Motorsports and Riley Technologies. Twice this year, the SRT Motorsports team has made the 2,500-mile trek from Riley Technologies in North Carolina to California for competition in American Le Mans Series (ALMS) events at Long Beach and Laguna Seca.

From Mooresville to Le Mans, it’s 4,075 miles. However, there’s an additional obstacle not encountered in a trip across the United States – the Atlantic Ocean.

Fortunately, Bill Riley and his team have experience in moving equipment and personnel across the Atlantic. Otherwise, it could be a logistical nightmare. The planning began immediately after the invitation was received.

Mike Croake, the director of product support at Riley Technologies, is the man in charge of getting everything needed for the two cars to compete in the race transported to France. Since the invitation was received, it’s been one checklist after another.

“Checklists are extremely important,” Croake said. “Obviously customs has to have their lists of things that you are bringing over. We’ll take that list, actually add detail to it and that will become kind of our checklist. Customs really doesn’t care if the torque wrench is in bin number AF2; they just want to know that we’re bringing it over and we’re bringing it back. You make a list and just check things off. Hopefully, it all gets there.”

Packing for the Trip

Support equipment – tools, a pit cart, nuts and bolts and general supplies – the team will use at Le Mans was sent in a 40-foot sea container that departed May 6 from the Port of Charleston in South Carolina. It takes approximately three weeks for the container to reach France. The two Viper race cars, six engines, telemetry, gearbox assemblies and other parts will leave the team’s headquarters tomorrow for Orlando. On Saturday, the cars, engines, transmissions, pit equipment – 15 tons in all – along with spare parts will be loaded onto a Virgin Atlantic Cargo plane for the trip to London’s Heathrow Airport. Croake estimates that air freight is approximately nine times more expensive than shipping by sea.

“We’ve broken it basically into two shipments, a 40-foot sea container and then obviously the air freight of everything that we don’t have multiples of,” Croake said. “We bought extra stuff like brooms, you buy that, throw it into the container and you don’t have to worry about air freighting it. The race car will be flown over but we did have a spare chassis that we put into the container – God forbid if we need it.”

As expected, great care is taken to ensure the safe travel of the SRT Viper GTS-Rs. They’re shipped on a specialized air freight pallet and everything is secured.

Hit the Ground Running

Once on the ground in France, Croake said the SRT Motorsports team plans to lease a tractor-trailer for use at the track. Other teams have simply used a tent during the event while some choose to float a tractor-trailer over from the United States.

For Bill Riley, vice president and chief engineer at Riley Technologies, the trip is the highlight of his racing season, despite the logistical concerns and physical demands of the 4,075-mile trip.

“It’s a huge honor and privilege to be involved in this race in any way, shape or form,” Riley said. “And it’s a huge honor to represent SRT Motorsports with the return of the Viper. When I went there the first time I had goose bumps when I walked in and I still get those goose bumps when I walk into that track.”

Riley said the team will depart Charlotte, N.C. on June 2, arriving in Paris on the morning of June 3. Another group is scheduled for a June 14 departure with an arrival date of June 15, giving his organization approximately 50 people in Le Mans. He added that step number one on the journey is adjusting your body clock to the local time as soon as possible.

“Try to sleep on the plane,” Riley told his team. “You need to get on their time schedule as fast as possible. You don’t want to fall into the trap of taking a nap as soon as you get to your hotel room, getting your second wind and then staying up way too late the first night that you’re there. Usually I force myself to stay up and then around 11 o’clock at night, normal time there, you’re ready to go to bed.”

The world famous twice-round-the-clock race is notoriously brutal on man and machine – including the pit crews. While Riley said he doesn’t plan to sleep during the 24-hour race, Riley Technologies Crew Chief Frank Resciniti said he advises team personnel to “take a lot of naps.” Resciniti added the event is actually much longer for team members than the advertised 24-hour period.

“Everybody thinks of it as a 24-hour race but for the crews, the day starts at like 7 o’clock in the morning because there’s a 9 o’clock warm-up session,” Resciniti said. “Your day starts at 7 a.m. when you get to the racetrack and it continues if you are lucky enough to keep running, which we’re planning to do, all the way through the 24-hours. So, you’re more or less up for 36-40 hours straight. You’re in the firesuit the whole time. You’re got your helmet on, your radio headset on. Every 45 minutes or so the car comes in for a pit stop. You’re constantly aware of the car and what it’s doing because you’re hearing it in the radios. You’ve got TV screens all around the pit and garage area so you can watch the race.

“But during that time, you do try to take naps between pit stops. You’d be surprised how much that helps. Whatever you’re doing, you still have your radio on – never take your radio off.”

For those crew members making their first trip to Le Mans, Resciniti said he expects them to be impressed by the spectacle of the race.

“The start is a pretty big show but the finish is just unbelievable,” Resciniti said. “The way they have the pits, there’s a grandstand straight across the racetrack from the pits that will be just packed. As the race goes on and it starts working its way into the night, the number of people over there (in the grandstand) disappear. They’ll be a couple of guys sitting over here, a couple of guys sitting over there. They’ll be some guys sitting up in the corner wrapped in an English flag. When the sun comes up, the grandstands start to fill up again. The last two hours of the race, they’ll be packed with people again.”

Vive Le France!

Team member Jessica Rowe will make her first trip to Le Mans. She’s the Logistics Manager for Riley Technologies and didn’t have a passport before the start of the season. Preparing the team for the trip has been a challenge.

“It’s a little more challenging just because you’re there for so much longer,” said Rowe. “We’re there almost four times longer than we are for any another event. The crew number is almost doubled. It’s challenging just to make sure that you have everyone covered. It’s not just that I need to get them plane tickets, credentials, apparel, there’s a lot involved. When you times that by 40 or 50, it gets a little overwhelming.”

One helpful tidbit passed on to Rowe is to arrive in France armed with adapters for electrical outlets. European outlets carry 220 volts of electricity which can burn up electrical equipment without the use of a converter.

“Since I haven’t been to Le Mans previously, I’m worried I’m going to get there and realize I should have brought extras,” Rowe said. “I’m told the converters for the outlets are the main thing. I’ve also heard that we’re going to need a fan where we’re staying; it’s going to be hot in the hotel.”

Due to the length of time required for team members to be in France, Rowe has been working with the group to plan ahead for the nearly four-week road trip.

“I’ve reminded the crew they need to call their cell phone providers, call their credit card companies and banks and let them know that they’re going to be overseas and make sure they’re stocked up on medications,” Rowe said. “As far as clothes go, we’ve suggested what to pack. We’ll probably have to go to the local laundry mat two or three times while we’re there. Our translator Thierry Lecourt, he’ll help us get set up and help with little things that you kind of take for granted while you’re at home.”

Enjoy the Country

The team is expected to have some free time during their stay in France and Rowe said she plans to visit the beach at Normandy.

“The biggest free-time thing on my agenda is going to Normandy,” Rowe said. “That’s the one thing I’ve always wanted to do because I have family history with World War II. I also hear there are some awesome military museums and stuff like that.”

Riley sees his team going in different directions. “There’s probably going to be three different groups going in different directions,” he said. “Some might just stay and hangout in Le Mans, do nothing. Some might want to see the military stuff, whether it’s Normandy or the U Boat pens. Some that haven’t been to Paris might want to spend time there. I would like to go back to Nurburgring (a motorsports complex). We’ll see where people want to go and try to make it happen for them.”

Perhaps the best advice for both the first-timers and seasoned veterans making the trip to France came from Riley. He says a positive attitude makes a huge difference.

“I tell people if you go over there with the attitude that you’re not going to have a good time, then you’re not going to have a good time,” Riley said. “If you go over there with the attitude you’re going to have a good time, then you’re going to have a good time.”
 

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If you happen to see a small pause in our coverage, don't worry! It only means our reporting team is real working hard to get more stories here just for you!
 

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Excellent coverage so far guys keep up the good work.
 

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Circuit de Lasarthe - Track Layout & Track Description







Let's take you for a lap!



http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpage&v=rQEXncsFwyo


http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpage&v=jwPRsv95elA
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Tweets & pictures from the drivers - we have dozens of them!

KunoWittmer Kuno Wittmer 1h
Great team shot! Love these guys :) @TeamSRT #24LM @RalphGilles @BethParetta @RussSRT @Viger_gunshow pic.twitter.com/VJyf8HgFLM



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Ryan Dalziel ‏@ryan_dalziel 2h
@Dom_Farnbacher is really excited about playing cards in our portable @24hoursoflemans house. @marcthegoose #teamsrt pic.twitter.com/8WMBrIe7Ey



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@ViperMattB Matt Bejnarowicz - Team engineer 6h


View from the top of the @teamsrt garage at Le Mans. pic.twitter.com/mrXc1cmWaB




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Matt Bejnarowicz ‏@ViperMattB 6h

A few of the @teamsrt members. These guys never rest. Honored to be a member of the #GTSR team. pic.twitter.com/r3g5RTxAkx




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Matt Bejnarowicz ‏@ViperMattB 6h

So proud to bear this flag on the #GTSR at Le Mans. @teamsrt pic.twitter.com/gsXxotRF2i



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Marc Goossens Racing ‏@marcthegoose 9 Jun
@MarlenedeWouter visiting @TeamSRT @LeMans24hour pic.twitter.com/Ugoi6yk3xR



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marcthegoose Marc Goossens Racing 9 Jun

Great teamwork @KunoWittmer @TommyKendall11 @driveSRT #24LM pic.twitter.com/kcCxT5Utbb
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marcthegoose Marc Goossens Racing 16 Jun
Start of race week @TeamSRT @24heuresdumans #53 #93 pic.twitter.com/6yP5DMLpuF




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Viger_gunshow B. Viger - Head of SRT Motorsports Marketing 18h


@marcthegoose snapped a pic of @KunoWittmer and I before team photo. Great guys on #teamSRT one big family! pic.twitter.com/9OQY5gjIRQ



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B. Viger ‏@Viger_gunshow 15h


And its starting to look like a display. Working through the rain today. Crew is amazing!



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B. Viger ‏@Viger_gunshow 16h


Just cool looks set up...period



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B. Viger ‏@Viger_gunshow 16h


All the right stuff!!!!




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Viger_gunshow B. Viger 18h

You know ur team is slightly overkill when ur team diner is the size of a dealership & build like one. #just-saying



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Viger_gunshow B. Viger 18h

This is where the magic happens #RileyEngineering #SRT #24LM #teamSRT its 7:30AM and teams beginning 2 wander in pic.twitter.com/NyeLQ7fqA7



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Prepared for durability: Viper GTS-R Le Mans engines are purpose-built to endure 24 hours of torture.



It takes more than just horsepower to be a contender at the 24 Hours of Le Mans – there’s no doubt about it. Engines operate at full song for the majority of each lap around the challenging 8.469-mile circuit. Along with churning out power, engines need to be reliable and durable over the course of the 24 hours of competition. Knowing this, the SRT® Motorsports team put in countless hours when building engines for the return of the SRT Viper GTS-R to Le Mans.



The engines in the pair of SRT Viper GTS-R race cars at Le Mans are brand new and will see their first on track action later this week during qualifying. Each car was shipped to Le Mans with a new engine in it and the team also sent four additional powerplants, if needed. The engines used at Le Mans are engineered to burn E10 fuel, which is used at Le Mans compared to the E85 that is used at American Le Mans Series (ALMS) events. To compensate for the change in fuel, compression ratio is dropped on the engines along with other recalibrations.
“The engines for Le Mans are certainly different, and it takes quite a bit of effort to get them ready,” said Dick Winkles, SRT Viper Powertrain Engineer. “With the fuel being different, we have to use different build specifications for that race versus the races in the states. We know how long components like to last and we should be good for more than 24 hours.”
Gearing up for the 24 Hours of Le Mans, Winkles and his team from Roush Engineering conducted a torturous 40-hour dyno test to ensure its reliability. The engine was run in stints of about an hour to simulate fuel runs at the track, along with the engine being shut off for pit stops during the race. This helped simulate heat soak and cool down, as well as starting and stopping. Through the duration of the dyno test, measurements are taken and recorded to aid in data analysis.
“The dyno test went very well,” shared Winkles. “We programed the track in the computer to simulate the actual circuit at Le Mans. When you listened to the engine, it pretty much sounded like it was running around Le Mans. All in all, the engine looked very good afterwards. We made a few minor adjustments to the specs on the engine and the tolerances and so forth going into the race. We were very pleased with the dyno test.”
Over the course of the 24 Hours of Le Mans, each of the Viper GTS-Rs will use somewhere around 700 gallons of fuel. The fuel window for each stint is between 50-60 minutes. Following the practice day on June 9, the engines in both the No. 53 and No. 93 were replaced to put a fresh bullet in for qualifying later this week.

“If all goes well, we shouldn’t have to do anything to the engine during the race, other than add a little oil once or twice,” stated Winkles. “If you have to really go into the engine you’ll have to pull it into the garage. We don’t look to do that and certainly don’t want to have to do that.”
Winkles has made the trip to Le Mans twice before, with those visits coming in 1999 and 2000. He celebrated a Viper class win each of those years. While a lot of his work will have been completed by the time the green flag flies, Winkles doesn’t plan on resting or relaxing until the checkered flag waves.
“You are always on pins and needles when the cars are out there,” Winkles noted. “As much as you’d like to get some shut-eye, you probably couldn’t because of how amped up you are. We are always watching the screens and everything else and don’t really relax until well after the race. Hopefully we’ll do well enough that we’ll all be pretty excited after the race as well.”
 

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Chrysler Group's SRT Brand Builds Awareness Through Racing at Le Mans
Developing the SRT Brand One Race at a Time


With its heritage deeply rooted into the fabric of domestic and international road racing’s rich history, the highly anticipated return of Viper to the 24 Hours of Le Mans stirs the souls of those who have shared in its recent rebirth and return to the ultimate test in sports car competition.

From concept to completion, the impact of racing in the 24 Hours of Le Mans is the shared passion for the SRT (Street and Racing Technology) brand, its performance vehicles and legacy of one special American built supercar – Viper.

And with a world stage of racing before them eager to see the return of a North American racing icon, the two identically prepared SRT Viper GTS-Rs from SRT Motorsports begin a new journey that encompasses its gloried past with unmistakable character that makes it undeniably Viper.

“For me, it’s the competition you’re racing against – there are some fantastic global performance brands racing in the sport and mixing it up with those brands sets the scene for what happens in the showroom,” said Ralph Gilles, President and CEO, SRT Brand and Motorsports, Chrysler Group LLC. “The correlation is perfect for SRT. This is validation for our performance brand because it’s in our namesake and it’s who we are.”

Unveiled to the public as a concept car at the 1989 North American International Auto Show in Detroit under the Dodge banner, the public’s love affair with Viper was instantaneous as car enthusiasts and race fans oozed at the idea that a hand-built North American, 8.0-liter V-10 supercar would challenge for international road racing superiority.


Debuting in 1996 under a partnership with the French race and engineering firm Oreca, the original Viper GTS-R struck early in sports car competition winning five international GT championships and the 1997 to 1999 FIA GT championships in addition to three consecutive one-two finishes at the 24 Hours of Le Mans (1998-2000) in the GTS class.

The 2000 race at Le Mans would mark the end the factory-backed Vipers racing history, most notably it would also prove to be Viper’s last race contested at Le Mans as Chrysler’s official factory-backed Viper racing program would end in 2001.

For the next decade privateer racers would carry the Viper banner in various FIA GT races around the world while race ready-made Dodge Viper Competition Coupes would be sold specifically to customers for FIA GT3 for competition internationally and SCCA Speed World Challenge racing competition in the United States.

A New Era Begins

With the formal introduction of the fifth generation SRT Viper at the 2012 New York International Auto Show, the all-new 2013 SRT Viper GTS was greeted with much speculation that a race version would soon follow. No one knew how soon, as minutes after the Stryker Red road version made its way on stage, the new SRT Viper GTS-R roared to life as part of the surprise announcement to the world that the factory-backed venom of Viper was back for competition in the American Le Mans Series (ALMS) with, at the time, sights set on the possible future return to Le Mans.

“We sell SRT vehicles all over the world and racing in the 24 Hours of Le Mans reminds car enthusiasts who we are and how we appreciate world class motorsports,” Gilles added.

With the all-new SRT Viper GTS announced to the world, SRT Motorsports engineers and Riley Technologies were collaborating behind the scenes developing and designing the SRT Viper GTS-R race car that would make its much anticipated return to competitive motorsports four months later at Round Six of the ALMS in Lexington, Ohio. Following a planned four-race partial schedule to finish out the 2012 season, the foundation was set for a full 2013 ALMS campaign.

In February, before the new ALMS season began, the Automobile Club de l'Ouest (ACO) extended an invitation to SRT Motorsports to compete in this year’s 24 Hours of Le Mans marking the return of Viper to one of the most hallowed grounds of all racing – Circuit de la Sarthe.

“I still remember the excitement and euphoria and spill-off effect of having been successful at Le Mans in the past,” Gilles said. “We had a fantastic platform for the car and while our number one goal was to get back into ALMS racing, a return to compete at Le Mans again was also certainly on our radar too.”

Showing the World the SRT Brand

Its racing heritage has been branded Dodge in North American and Chrysler in international competition, but there will be no denying that when two racing Viper GTS-Rs are unloaded next week in the heart of France that their livery is clear; SRT Motorsports.

Although the behind the scenes planning has gone on for over two years while it’s on-track competition is just seven races old, Beth Paretta, Director of Marketing and Operations, SRT Brand and Motorsports has kept herself and the team laser focused on one date – Saturday, June 22, 2013.

“We know the people who attend the 24 Hours of Le Mans are not only motorsports enthusiasts, they’re also car people to the core,” said Paretta. “They love performance automobiles and know what they like. To be competing on this historic racetrack against the numerous premier automotive brands from around the world is amazing.”

As she pours over detailed plans surrounding Viper’s return to Le Mans for the first time as a factory-supported SRT effort (first for Chrysler Group LLC since 2001) the multi-year planning process will culminate when the green flag drops for the 90th anniversary of the world’s greatest automotive endurance race.

Turning the SRT brand into an international nameplate is no easy task as SRT cross-pollinates into individual Chrysler, Jeep, Dodge and Viper product lines. Nearly two years as a separate company brand at Chrysler Group, the SRT team maintains its successful formula to design, engineer and build benchmark American high-performance vehicles led by its ‘flagship’ car – the 2013 Viper.


Balancing the rich history of Viper while introducing the new SRT brand requires a targeted approach that combines reflection on past racing successes.

Competing at Le Mans provides the new SRT Viper GTS-R and the SRT Motorsports team the opportunity to compete against the absolute best sports car teams from around the world.

From the strength of its various Viper owners clubs that currently encompass 35 regions across the United States and four international clubs around the world, passion and brand loyalty for the Viper was established in its DNA when the first car rolled off the assembly line in 1992 in Detroit. The world now awaits the newly badged SRT Viper GTS-Rs return to historic Le Mans.

“SRT is still working to be recognized by the public as a separate brand within Chrysler Group – and although we’ve been around for a while, we’re still educating people what the three letters SRT (Street and Racing Technology) mean to the company and the performance vehicle world,” she added. “So it’s a great opportunity to be in front of people who will help us tell our story.”

With the global sports car stage watching later this month in Le Mans, just southwest of Paris, the SRT Motorsports team will be in full force leveraging their participation in the 24 hour race by activating onsite which includes the extremely popular 2014 Jeep® Grand Cherokee SRT which is sold in Europe.

“This is the first international motor sports event that we’ve competed in as SRT Motorsports and it’s quite the honor to show the world what the new Street and Racing Technology brand is all about,” Paretta said. “Our involvement over the last year in the American Le Mans Series has given us an incredible amount of visibility and we’re just thrilled to have the opportunity to show the international community the SRT brand on every lap and every race that we compete in around the world.”
Courtesy of Chrysler Media
 

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As we look forward to this weekend, let's take a look back at the first three races of the 2013 ALMS season with the latest edition of SRT's Beyond the Checkered Flag...

[media]https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=ervxYZw4O-8[/media]
 

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Discussion Starter #17
fenderbass said:
Good stuff guys! I'm definitely following this. Thanks
Come back for more LIVE coverage along with the race & please bring some friends with you!
 

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I can happily report that the so-called scrutineering has been completed and both Vipers passed without any incident. All drivers were approved with the exception of Ryan Dalziel, who was racing at Mid-Ohio on Sunday. At the time of this typing (and as we see from some of MoparBob's image posts), he has already made the trek to France and should be in process of getting approved - if it hasn't happened already.
 

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SRT teams are looking good. How about the factory Ferrari teams?
 

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Discussion Starter #20
Jeepnut said:
SRT teams are looking good. How about the factory Ferrari teams?
Working on those also, but that is mainly Skyblade's department. He may need help since there are so many teams to cover. If you look up to the start of the thread I did do an introduction to 8 Star Motorsports!

If you would like to pitch in & help out, we really could use it!
 
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