Re TuRn of The Snake
The rain returned for significant portions
of practice and qualifying, and would
appear for portions of the race, too.
Any hope of setting off into the Viper’s
biggest challenge with feelings of being
fully prepared and well studied were
abandoned, leading the team to aim for a
decent finish, and the priceless experience
and data that would accompany it, instead
of dreaming of a debut podium.
Running as No. 53 (instead of the usual
No. 91) and No. 93, the GTS-Rs qualified
10th and 11th, respectively, in the GTE
Pro category. Ahead lay a grueling,
24-hour journey into the unknown.
“The drivers have to be safe with the
cars,” noted Bejnarowicz. “We are going
to have to stay pretty sharp with traffic,
stay out of trouble and stay on track.
There are a couple of areas where you
can use a lot of curbing, so we have to
make sure to not abuse the car too much,
especially in those areas on the track.”
(LEFT) In a
change, the SRT crew
installs the V10 that
the No. 93 Viper will
qualify and race with.
(TOP) So much for
a French summer...
Heavy rain and
disrupted much of
the precious practice
and qualifying time.
(ABOVE) The No. 93
Viper pulls into its pit
box as night falls.
PaCking foR The Road TRiP
LE mANS LOgISTIcS
Riley Technologies vice president Bill Riley on the challenge of shipping
everything the SRT Viper team might need to race at Le Mans while the
ALMS season is still in full swing. Hey, nobody said it would be easy...
The first thing to know is that
sea freight is about 10 times
cheaper to send than air freight,
so we used a 40ft container to
send everything that we could
live without at the May 11th
Laguna Seca race, the last
American Le Mans Series event
before the 24 Hours of Le Mans.
Once the container left the dock
in Florida, it took a few weeks
to arrive, but we’d accounted
for that in our planning.
It meant we raced at Laguna
Seca with only one set of spare
bodywork, rather than two, and
fewer wheels than we normally
take to a race, just so that we
could be smart with our budget
and send some heavy stuff
ahead. That extended to things
like some of the floor tiles for
the garage and some of our
wheel carts. We also sent spare
chassis parts, just in case we
had a wreck at the test day or
during the race weekend.
The sea freight container
left May 6th, and then the air
shipment with essentially
everything else that we
unloaded and raced with at
Laguna flew from Orlando, Fla.,
May 23rd, a week after we got
back from California.
Prepping everything to fly
was also an adventure – around
10 tons of air freight in total.
Of course, the racecars are part
of that, but we were also pretty
flush with spares. We had spare
suspension for each car, a
spare gearbox for each car, and
three sets of extra bodywork –
making five car sets of
bodywork in total.
Imagine packing a four-bedroom house just to unpack,
set up and live at Le Mans for a
couple weeks, and then pack it
all up again, send it home,
unpack and resume your
normal life. That’s kind of what
it’s like from the logistics end.
The team flew over June 2nd
for the official pre-race test day
on June 9th, and we were there
until the Tuesday after the race
[June 25th], staying at a hotel
about a half-mile from the Tertre
Rouge corner. Come race day, as
far as working people, we were
probably in the 50-person
range, with 15 of those being
engineers. We’re pretty darn
serious about these things...
“We used a 40ft
sea container to send
everything we could
Putting two racecars on an
airplane is just a small part
of the logistics of Le mans.