SEBRING - The No. 93 Street and Racing Technology (SRT) Motorsports Viper GTS-R team, and drivers Jonathan Bomarito, Kuno Wittmer and Rob Bell, put together a perfect race in Saturday's 62nd Annual Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring Fueled by Fresh from Florida to score a second-place finish that was just one unlucky break away from a victory.
That was a brutal, really tough race," Bomarito said. "But Kuno and Rob had amazing, amazing drives. The crew, I can't say enough for all of their efforts today. Our pit stops were flawless as were Matt and Jim on the pit box and with the engineering. We didn't have a very fast car when we started this race in the heat of the day.
"Every single pit stop we made a change to the race car. Whether it be a sway bar, rear wing, tire pressure, we just kept pushing forward all day long and we had one of the best race cars at the end. If it wasn't for that yellow it's a shame because I really would have wanted to truly have a fight for it at the end. But I'm incredibly pleased by the effort and satisfied, but I feel like we had it, but we just missed it by a little bit."
The No. 93 joined the sister SRT Motorsports No. 91 Viper GTS-R team in taking turns leading the GTLM class in the half-day race on the classic 3.74-mile road course. Dominik Farnbacher, who teamed with fulltime co-driver Marc Goossens and IndyCar Champion Ryan Hunter-Reay, twice led in the No. 91 and joined his co-drivers for a seventh-place finish. All three No. 93 drivers led at various points in the race, including Bomarito in the race's final hour.
"The plan was going as we established at the beginning of the race," Wittmer said. "We weren't the quickest car out there, but the team was working so hard not to make any mistakes on pit lane, and as drivers we were doing everything we could not to put a scratch on the car. That's how you win a long distance race and we almost did. When I was out there, I was just running with a big grin on my face the entire time, having fun doing literally qualifying laps back to back to back to back. When we came into pit lane we kept doing small little chassis adjustments for the better and that's legal, so it's only fair game."
It appeared Bomarito had the pace to hold off the competition but the 11th and final caution of the race 50 minutes from the finish sent the No. 93 and most of the competition to the pits for the last time. That gave the edge to the No. 912 Porsche that had been running second to the No. 93 only to pit under green just before the yellow flag flew. When the race went green again, the Porsche's lucky break gave it enough track position to hold off a fast closing Bomarito. Despite knocking off almost a second a lap on the gap to the Porsche, not enough time remained on the clock for Team SRT to get back to the front.
The runner-up result was the best of the year for SRT Motorsports in the two-race old 2014 IMSA TUDOR United SportsCar Championship season. Goossens, Farnbacher and Hunter-Reay also visited the podium in the No. 91 in the season-opening Rolex 24 At Daytona in January with a third-place showing.
The No. 91 matched the pace of the No. 93 at Sebring but Hunter-Reay spun in Turn 17 early in the second half of the race and backed into the tire wall. The SRT Motorsports crew repaired the Viper and got it back in the race but the team and drivers only had enough time left to recover two of the four laps lost in the delay.
The No. 91 did have reason to celebrate at the end of the race's fourth hour, however, when the team led the first of the race's three segments in the IMSA Tequila Patrón North American Endurance Cup GTLM standings. With Farnbacher at the wheel, the No. 91 was leading at the four-hour mark and earned some valuable points in the first Patrón Endurance Cup segment.
FOX Sports 1 will televise a three-hour IMSA TUDOR Championship full-race highlight show from Sebring beginning at 8:30 a.m. EDT tomorrow, Sunday, March 16.