Hunter-Reay in the thick of GT battle

January 5, 2014

Hunter-Reay in the thick of GT battle

January 5, 2014

2014-01-04 at 19-50-42While it has been two years since IndyCar ace Ryan Hunter-Reay sat in the SRT Viper, it didn’t take him long to get back up to speed in the Roar before the 24.

Hunter-Reay set the pace in night practice at the Roar before the 24 at Daytona International Speedway – stopping the clocks at 1:46.695.

The Andretti Autosport driver will share the No.91 Viper in the endurance races this year with SRT regulars Dominik Farnbacher and Marc Goossens in 2013.

The battle between Viper, Corvette, Ferrari, Porsche, Aston Martin and BMW is expected to be a highlight of the 2014 TUDOR United SportsCar Championship.

magnussen_laguna_012Jan Magnussen (pictured right) led competitors in the GT Le Mans (GTLM) class during the daytime sessions yesterday, running a lap of 1:46.010 in the No. 3 Chevrolet Corvette C7.R.

Antonio Garcia, the 2009 Rolex 24 winner will co-drive that car along with Ryan Briscoe.

“It’s not only Corvette and Viper,” Garcia said.

“I think everybody else will be there – with BMW, Porsche, Ferrari and Aston Martin. We can’t forget about any of the factories here. We are all very strong, as we showed last year in the ALMS. I think the completion will be real hard this year in the TUDOR Championship.”

The No. 97 Aston Martin Vantage shared by Stefan Mucke, Darren Turner, Pedro Lamy, Richie Stanaway and Paul Dalla Lana was second, 1:46.157, followed by the No. 4 Corvette of Oliver Gavin, Tommy Milner and Robin Liddell.

“What we do in the Roar is very important towards the race,” Garcia said.

“So far, we’re running according to plan, to get as much information that we can to be prepared for the race.”

The Corvette and Viper teams last faced each other in the Rolex 24 in 2000, when an SRT Viper fielded by the French ORECA team took the overall victory by 30.879 seconds over Corvette – the closest finish in event history at that time. Corvette Racing won overall in 2001, its last factory appearance in the event.

“It’s going to be a great show,” said Jonathan Bomarito, who co-drives the No. 93 SRT Viper GTS-R with Kuno Wittmer and Rob Bell.

“We’re still trying to get used to the differences in the cars and classes. I’ve won here before, but this is the first time here for SRT as a team with the Viper GTS-R. I know this class will be a good battle again, and we’ve got as good a shot as anyone.  The guys are doing a great job, and we’re going to go for it.”

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