The past two weeks have been a rollercoaster of emotions for Kuno Wittmer.
Less than 48 hours after winning the GT Le Mans class championship, Wittmer, as well as the rest of the SRT Motorsports team, were notified they were without jobs following Chrysler’s decision to axe its factory TUDOR United SportsCar Championship program.
“We won on Saturday then on Monday morning at 10 a.m., there was a conference call. We were all told about the conference call one hour earlier. We all called in and heard the news. It was heartbreaking,” Wittmer told Sportscar365.
“Initially, the first thing I did not think about was, ‘What am I going to do to in 2015?’ [The news] was more heartbreaking at first and emotional. Then an hour or two later, [it hit me] and realized I had to start looking around.”
Now, the 32-year-old Canadian, along with former teammates Jonathan Bomarito, Dominik Farnbacher and Marc Goossens, are on the job hunt, in a race to secure drives in time for January’s season-opening Rolex 24 at Daytona.
“The issue is that it’s becoming really tough,” Wittmer said. “I’m starting to realize it’s very difficult to find a factory seat, especially coming from a factory team. Most factory teams keep their drivers for a long time. That’s what we anticipated to have with SRT, but unfortunately it didn’t work.
“Now looking for a factory seat in mid-October, and the first test days are in early January, it’s becoming a little unrealistic. So I have to look at privateer teams or something larger, like in the WEC or something in Europe or Asia. That’s what I’m looking at right now.”
Wittmer enjoyed a successful five-year stint with Chrysler, having initially been signed as a factory driver in 2009 for Dodge’s Pirelli World Challenge program, prior to being part of the Riley Technologies-run SRT Motorsports outfit from the start in 2012.
The former open-wheel driver and World Challenge ace enjoyed a breakout 2014 season that included class victories at Indianapolis Motor Speedway and Circuit of The Americas with co-driver Bomarito, en route to the GTLM title.
While a return to the TUDOR Championship remains an objective, Wittmer currently sees more opportunity overseas, particularly in two of the FIA’s world championships
“Le Mans is something that is so special to me and having done it in 2013, I really want to get back there,” he said. “If you look at WEC, it might be a little more realistic because their season [is just ending] and it doesn’t start right away in January.
“I’m also looking at the World Touring Car Championship, which is really interesting stuff as well. And coming from a touring car background, I wouldn’t mind getting back into that.
“I strongly believe that having just won the [TUDOR] Championship, it definitely helps, no doubt about it. It’s one of the first things I mention when talking to teams.
“I think that I can bring something good to teams and they can benefit off of that. It’s just a case of who’s doing what right now.”