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Decision Pending on Future of SRT Viper Program

Decision on future of SRT Viper GTLM program expected in next 30-60 days…

Photo: John Dagys

Photo: John Dagys

With its factory GT Le Mans effort up for renewal at the end of this year, a decision is pending on the future of the SRT Motorsports program in the TUDOR United SportsCar Championship.

The Detroit automaker, which re-entered top-level IMSA competition in mid-2012, has enjoyed a successful three-year campaign with its pair of Riley Technologies-built and run Viper GTS-Rs, highlighted by two class victories and multiple poles and podium finishes.

While Jonathan Bomarito and Kuno Wittmer currently sit second in the drivers’ championship, and SRT only three points behind in the manufacturer’s title race with two races to go, word has not yet come through on whether the program will continue into 2015 and beyond.

According to SRT Motorsports marketing director Beth Paretta, a decision will likely be made within the next 30 to 60 days.

“All of our decisions, corporately, for every program, come up for review between September and October,” Paretta told Sportscar365. “We of course are evaluating a lot of different things right now but we’re still in that phase of evaluating the ROI of what we’re getting out of the series.

“We’re looking at whatever series we’re involved in, be it NHRA or Trans-Am, which is more of a customer program. We’ve also got customer programs in World Challenge. Where is that going to go?

“Really, we’re looking at everything. That way by the beginning of October, we’ll have all of our ducks in a row and we can make a decision.”

SRT was reabsorbed back under the Dodge umbrella earlier this year, which according to Paretta, shouldn’t make any difference moving forward for its motorsports involvement.

“I think ultimately, SRT is still the pinnacle of the performance products of the group,” she said. “Motorsport is usually how you highlight that and show off what you can do. It also ends up being an incubator.”

In addition to its works involvement in the TUDOR Championship, SRT has also been ramping up customer sales and support of the Dodge Viper SRT GT3-R, which currently competes in Pirelli World Challenge, the Dutch Supercar Challenge, as well as the GTD class of the TUDOR Championship with Ben Keating.

All three customer-based efforts have visited victory lane this season, as well as Wittmer claiming overall honors in a factory-run Viper at the World Challenge round in Toronto.

Paretta said there’s been an increased level customer interest from Europe, Asia and the Middle East, which could also help support its overall motorsports involvement.

“The other way we can perhaps expand the program is to have more customer cars globally,” she said. “Those sort of things are always helpful as this becomes more of a business. Turning it into a business is always favorable to the company.”

While time is not necessarily on their side, with preparations for the 2015 season typically already in the planning stages, Paretta remains upbeat about the program’s future.

“We know that it has value and that the program is strong,. Our intention is to continue,” she said.

And with the team within grasp of the GTLM title, the results on the track could also significantly help steer that decision on the board.

“A championship would be fabulous,” Paretta said. “This is a very hard working group. Every team in the paddock works hard, we know that. But I think it would just help to reinforce everything we’ve done.

“It would be a nice way to end the season and keep that momentum into next year. Because like any true racer, you don’t rest and you’re always looking at the next race.”

John Dagys is the founder and Editor-in-Chief of Sportscar365. Dagys spent eight years as a motorsports correspondent for and SPEED Channel and has contributed to numerous other motorsports publications worldwide. Contact John


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