Podium finishers in four of the last five races, Kuno Wittmer was optimistic for another good result this weekend at Circuit of the Americas, in Austin. At the wheel of the #93 GT Le Mans class Dodge Viper GTS-R, he experienced a methodical progression throughout the practice session. His teammate Bomarito later set the second fastest time in qualifying, which then became the fastest time when the leading Porsche was excluded from the results for technical irregularities.
"We started the race in front, exactly the position we wanted. But we had to keep the same set of tires that we had used during qualifying, which made for a pretty stressful stint for me," explained Kuno Wittmer.
"I gave it my all, corner after corner and lap after lap in order to stay in the lead," he added.
With the intense traffic of 50 cars on the track all together and the tires getting more and more used, Kuno eventually lost a position but kept the loss of time to a minimum and brought the car back in a good position when he surrendered the wheel to Bomarito, who left with new tires for the second half of the race.
"From the exterior, it no doubt looked like an easy victory because the Viper was really incredible, very stable on the track. But to the contrary, nothing was easy and we really had to push to the maximum all the time. Thankfully, the SRT Motorsports team did a fantastic job during my pit stop, allowing Jonathan to get back on the track right under the nose of our direct rivals," added Kuno, who happily became a father this past September 4.
Sitting in second place with 45 minutes remaining in the race, the Bomarito/Wittmer duo could have contented with this position in order to earn the helm of the championship but a mechanical issue with the lead car enabled Bomarito to take top spot and with it, another victory this season.
Kuno Wittmer and his teammate now lead the drivers' championship by seven points over Spaniard Antonio Garcia (Corvette) heading into the final event of the season, which will take place at the Road Atlanta track on Saturday, October 4th, as part of the prestigious Petit Le Mans, with a race distance of a thousand miles.
The second Viper entered by SRT Motorsports in GT Le Mans class, the #91 driven by Belgian Marc Goossens and German Dominik Farnbacher, finished second in Austin, giving SRT Motorsports team a one-two finish.
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Kuno Wittmer: Born into a racing family, Kuno inherited the racing bug from his grandfather Kuno and his father Patrick. After establishing a good base in Karting, Kuno graduated from The Jim Russell Racing Scholo in 1998, was named Rookie of the Year in the 1999 Canadian Formula Ford Championship and won his first race in the North American Street Stock Championship, a professional series, at age 16.
From 2000 to 2008, he competed in Formula Atlantic and in gradually more senior stock-based Pro series, where he always raced at the front of the pack and won races, awards and championships every season. He also taught advanced driving courses to all levels of racers over that period.
The Montreal driver joined the Chrysler racing program in 2009 as both a race and car development driver. Since then, he has competed and won in races and series in North America and in Europe, before becoming a key member of SRT Motorsports team competing in the 2013 American Le Mans Series (ALMS) and now in the new TUDOR United SportsCar Championship in 2014.
The team also ran in the 2013 "Les 24 Heures du Mans", the premier sports car endurance race in the world. Kuno immediately felt at home on the 8-mile high speed track and drove for just under 12 hours during the race.
SRT Motorsports: Technical support for the Chrysler Group's various racing programs is provided by the engineers at SRT Motorsports, where lessons learned on the race track directly translate to improved vehicles for the company's customers. Virtually all of the technology developed for the factory GTS-R for engine, chassis, suspension, electronics and aerodynamics is infused into every new Viper made.
On the racing side, SRT Motorsports has partnered with Riley Technologies, based in Mooresville, N.C., on the design-and-build of the SRT Viper GTS-R race cars. Two identical SRT Viper GTS-Rs will compete in the production-based GT Le Mans (GTLM) class in the new TUDOR United SportsCar Championship.
2014 Viper GTS-R: This year's Dodge Viper GTS-R is the direct evolution of the high performance Viper racers campaigned by SRT Motorsports in the 2013 24 Hours of Le Mans and the American Le Mans Series.
The chassis features a full roll cage and a highly efficient aerodynamic package to optimize safety and handling. Further racing enhancements include an Xtrac six-speed sequential transmission with paddle shifters, six-piston front brake calipers with four-piston rears, a fully adjustable suspension, lightweight wheels and a multi-disc race clutch to help extract maximum performance from the engine.
The 8383cc 90-degree V-10 uses advanced electronics to control ignition and fuel injection, delivering all the torque and power allowed by the rules. Rule makers equalize the performance of all brands competing in a given class, forcing SRT Motorsports engineers to optimize performance and efficiency within those criteria. With over 500hp in race trim and weighing only 1295 kg, the GT3-R Viper will certainly continue to run at the front of its class.
2014 TUDOR United Sportscar Championship: The TUDOR United SportsCar Championship (USC) is a sports car racing series based in the United States and Canada and sanctioned by the International Motor Sports Association (IMSA). It came about as a result of the merger of two existing North American sports car racing series, the American Le Mans Series and the Rolex Sports Car Series.
The SRT Motorsports Viper GTS-R will race in the GT Le Mans class of the TUDOR series, for fully race-prepared production-based GT cars. Three other classes run in most of the races: the Prototype cars, the Prototype Challenge spec-class, and the GT Daytona class for slightly slower GT cars.