Following a double podium finish in last month’s Sahlen’s Six Hours of The Glen, hopes are high in the SRT Motorsports camp in what could be a breakthrough weekend for the pair of factory Dodge Viper SRT GTS-Rs.
The newly re-liveried GT Le Mans contenders head into the Mobil 1 Sportscar Grand Prix at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park still searching for its first victory of the TUDOR United SportsCar Championship season.
While faced with increased competition in the factory class, along with battling Balance of Performance adjustments imposed on it V10-powered beasts, the tides appear to be turning, following a re-focused effort within the Bill Riley-led operation.
“We opted not to go to Le Mans because we wanted to be quicker in this championship and we proved that at Watkins Glen,” Kuno Wittmer told Sportscar365. “We did our homework and focused on the 6-hour and we got both cars on the podium. Let’s see if we can do something this weekend.”
Wittmer and co-driver Jonathan Bomarito took their No. 93 Viper to a third place finish at The Glen, while teammates Dominik Farnbacher and Marc Goossens notched a season-best second in the No. 91 machine.
It came following a BoP adjustment prior to The Glen that saw the Vipers shed 15 kgs and benefit from a 0.3 mm larger air restrictor to put the ars back in the same specification that was run at the season-opening Rolex 24 at Daytona.
“When we had those BoP adjustments handed to us after Daytona, we had a really big struggle getting qualifying times in,” Wittmer said. “As you know, if you qualify in the back, it’s just that much tougher to get back to the front.
“That little BoP adjustment gives us a little bit of an edge in qualifying, so we can qualify up front and dice with the guys.
“To be honest, in the race, we were dead equal in straightaways and dead equal in cornering. We’re so much more equal with the other guys and we can actually make a draft and pass.”
Wittmer has praised IMSA for what he feels has been a fair BoP process in the class, which features a diverse group of machinery.
“I think the series is doing a really great job,” he said. “They are cracking down on making the cars really equal between the manufacturers.
“You look at the engine layouts on some of these cars… We’re all different: rear, front, mid [engined]. And the fact that we’re running, on our best lap times within three or four tenths, you can’t ask for anything better than that.
“It’s really good. I think the series, at least for the GTLM class, is really taking shape and is moving forward.”
Sunday’s sixth round of the season marks a homecoming of sorts for the 31-year-old Montreal native, who grew up going to the 2.459-mile, 10-turn circuit as a fan and then a driver.
“Personally, for myself, if I’d be able to get a win here, it would be a dream come true that I’ve had for 15 years of my career,” Wittmer said. “To do it with these guys would be amazing. We all want to win now and we’re all due to have a win.
“I was 15 years old when I first drove here in 1999 in a little Formula Ford car. I remember looking at the American Le Mans Series back then saying, ‘Oh man, I have to be in that series one day.’ And now here we are.”
While having made his ALMS debut at CTMP last year, Wittmer feels this weekend’s round could be his best chance yet for his first top-level IMSA victory.
And with arch-rival Corvette Racing on the heels of three consecutive victories, the Canadian is even more determined to put his Viper in victory lane on Sunday.
“It puts a target on [Corvette’s] back,” he said. “It’s time for us to push them out of the spot. I wouldn’t want them to win on my home turf.”