SRT Sending Pair Of Vipers Back To Le Mans In 2013
By Jim Pedley | Managing Editor
Dodge Vipers will make a return to the most prestigious endurance road race in the world this year as they have received an invitation to compete at the 24-hour race at Le Mans.
Two Vipers GTS-Rs, backed by Chrysler’s SRT Motorsports wing, will make the trip. They will compete in the LM GTE Pro class at Le Mans, which is scheduled for June 22-23.
The announcement that SRT had accepted an invitation from the Automobie Club de l’Ouest – the Le Mans event’s organizer – was made during a teleconference with the media on Friday. Making the announcement was Ralph Gilles, president and CEO of the SRT brand and motorsports.
“Racing is truly a part of the illustrious history of Viper and a proving ground for the SRT brand,” Gilles said. “Historically the Viper GTS-R has enjoyed great success at Le Mans, so we couldn’t be more excited and proud to accept the challenge to return to France and continue composing the next chapter in the history of Viper racing at such an historic venue.”
Aiding the effort at Le Mans will be Riley Technologies, the longtime and highly successful sports car racing operation which aided in design and constructed the new SRT GTS-R.
Included in the driver lineup are Tommy Kendall, Marc Goossens, Kuno Wittmer, Dominik Farnbacher and Jonathan Bomarito. One more driver is expected to be added to that lineup.
In the 1990s, Vipers were major players in international endurance racing. Starting in 1998, GTS-Rs won three straight Le Mans GTS championships at Le Mans.
After a multi-year absence from the sport, factory-backed Vipers returned to racing last summer when SRT entered cars in the American Le Mans Series event at Mid-Ohio. From there, Vipers competed at other ALMS events.
The plan is to compete in all ALMS races in 2013, beginning with next month’s 12-hour race at Sebring.
During Friday’s press conference, Gilles said that the Le Mans effort will not include any superstar drivers. He was obviously excluding Kendall.
Kendall began his career competing in the IMSA Camel GT Series in the early 1980s and won titles in 1986 and 1987. But he is perhaps most recognized for dominating the SCCA Trans-Am Series during the 1990s. Kendall won four championships during his decade of dominance.
His best season behind the wheel came in 1997 when he won 11 consecutive races (of a 13-race schedule) and 11 consecutive poles to win the series title in a Ford Mustang fielded by Jack Roush. In 1995 Kendall teamed with actor Paul Newman and NASCAR driver Mark Martin to win the 24 Hours of Daytona. Kendall also represented the series in the International Race of Champions (IROC) in six seasons (1991, 1994-1998).
Kendall also made 14 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series starts over a 10-year span from 1987-1998 as a road course specialist.
Kendall came out of retirement at age 45 to drive a Viper last year.
(This story will be updated shortly)
2013 Le Mans 24 Hours entry list, with team, car and one of its driver:
1. Audi Sport Team Joest/Audi/Andre Lotterer
2. Audi Sport Team Joest /Audi/ Tom Kristensen
3. Audi Sport Team Joest/Audi/ Marc Gene
7. Toyota Racing/Toyota/Alex Wurz
8. Toyota Racing/Toyota/Anthony Davidson
12. Rebellion Racing/Lola-Toyota/Nicolas Prost
13. Rebellion Racing/Lola-Toyota/Neel Jani
21. Strakka Racing/HPD-Honda/Nick Leventis
24. OAK Racing/Morgan-Nissan/Jacques Nicolet
25. Delta-ADR/ORECA-Nissan/John Martin
26. G-Drive Racing/ORECA-Nissan/Roman Rusinov
27. Sebastien Loeb Racing/ORECA-Nissan/Franck Montagny
28. Gulf Racing Middle East/Lola-Nissan/Fabien Giroix
29. Gulf Racing Middle East/Lola-Nissan/Frederic Fatien
30. HVM Status GP/Lola-Judd/Jonathan Kennard
31. Lotus/Lotus/Kevin Weeda
32. Lotus/Lotus/Thomas Holzer
33. Level 5 Motorsports/HPD-Honda/Scott Tucker
35. OAK Racing/Morgan-Nissan/Olivier Pla
36. Signatech/ORECA-NIssan/Franck Maillieux
38. Jota Sport/Zytek-Nissan/Simon Dolan
40. Boutsen Ginion Racing/ORECA-Nissan/Koen Wauters
41. Greaves Motorsport/Zytek-Nissan/Christian Zugel
42. Greaves Motorsport/Zytek-Nissan/Tom Kimber-Smith
44. Starworks Motorsport/HPD-Honda/Alex Popow
45. OAK Racing/Morgan-Nissan/David Heinemeier Hansson
46. Thiriet by TDS/ORECA-Nissan/Piere Thiriet
47. KCMG/Morgan-Nissan/Alexandre Imperatori
48. Murphy Prototypes/ORECA-Nissan/Brendon Hartley
51. AF Corse/Ferrari/Gianmaria Bruni
66. JMW Motorsport/Ferrari/Tim Sugden
71. AF Corse/Ferrari/Olivier Beretta
73. Corvette Racing/Corvette/Antonio Garcia
74. Corvette Racing/Corvette/Oliver Gavin
91. Porsche AG Team Manthey/Porsche/Marc Lieb
92. Porsche AG Team Manthey/Porsche/Jorg Bergmeister
93. SRT Motorsports/Viper/Marco Goossens
94. SRT Motorsports/Viper/Dominik Farnbacher
97. Aston Martin Racing/Aston Martin/Darren Turner
99. Aston Martin Racing/Aston Martin/Stefan Mucke
50. Larbre Competition/Corvette/Patrick Bornhauser
54. AF Corse/Ferrari/Yannick Mallegol
55. AF Corse/Ferrari/Piergiuseppe Perazzini
57. Krohn Racing/Ferrari/Tracy Krohn
61. AF Corse/Ferrari/Jack Gerber
67. Imsa Performance/Porsche/Pascal Gibon
70. Larbre Competition/Corvette/Pedro Lamy
76. Imsa Performance/Porsche/Raymond Narac
77. Dempsey Proton/Porsche/Patrick Dempsey
80. Extreme Speed Motorsports/Ferrari/Scott Sharp
81. 8Star Motorsports/Ferrari/Enzo Potolicchio
88. Proton Competition/Porsche/Christian Ried
95. Aston Martin Racing/Aston Martin/Allan Simonsen
96. Aston Martin Racing/Aston Martin/Roald Goethe
56. Green GT Green GT Christian Pescatori
Reserves (in order of priority)
34. Race Performance/ORECA-Judd/Michel Frey
43. Morand Racing/Morgan-Judd/Natacha Gachnang
39. DKR Engineering/Lola-Judd/Olivier Porta
37. Signatech/ORECA-Nissa/Pierre Ragues
23. Delta-ADR/ORECA-Nissan/Shinji Nakano
20. HVM Status GP/Lola-Judd/Warren Hughes
98. Aston Martin Racing/Aston Martin/Stuart Hall (Am)
75. ProSpeed Competition/Porsche/Abdulaziz Al Faisal (Am)
52. Ram Racing/Ferrari/Johnny Mowlem (Pro)
90. TRG AMR North America/Aston Martin/Kevin Buckler (Am)
** Will run outside general classification.No Comment