The calm before the storm... Scrutineering in the historic center
of Le Mans is one of those moments when the SRT Viper team
can take a moment to take it all in. But it’s full-on from now on.
SRT Motorsports flies the Stars ’n’ Stripes at the most famous
endurance race of them all. And with a long and proud 24 Hours
of Le Mans Viper heritage to live up to, America expects.
A 45-minute morning warm-up session
serves as a final systems check and
already the atmosphere is beginning to
build as 200,000 race fans begin to fill
the grandstands and spectator banks.
As the clock ticks toward the 3 p.m.
start, the 55 cars are wheeled out on to
the start-finish straight before heading off
for a formation lap behind the pace car.
Drizzle hits the grid as the green flag
drops. Goossens, the most experienced of
the SRT drivers with 11 previous Le Mans
starts, takes the first stint in the No. 53,
car while Wittmer starts the No. 93.
After only four laps, a serious crash at
Tertre Rouge involving Aston Martin’s Allan
Simonsen (see page 21) brings the field
under yellow for nearly an hour. When the
race goes green, the Vipers are 10th and
11th in class. Deep into the second hour,
they make their first stops without drama.
Both starting drivers stay in for a third
stint as conditions continue to pose a
challenge. Wittmer’s No. 93 comes in to
change to wet tires, while Goossens elects
to keep the No. 53 on slicks. It isn’t long
before the rookie realizes he’s been duped
by Mother Nature: the rain is short-lived
and the car has to pit again for slicks.
First driver swaps come during the
fourth hour – Bomarito into No. 93 and
Farnbacher into 53 – as word reaches the
It may look a lot on paper, but 10 hours of practice and qualifying
goes by in a flash when there’s so much to do. Wet weather and
several session-stopping incidents make it even more frenetic.
Getting ready for the off... It’s a crowd-pleasing display of
all-American muscle as the No. 53 SRT Viper GTS-R lines up
before the race start with Corvette Racing’s pair of C6.Rs.