Mine! No, This One is Mine!

August 25, 2013

Mine! No, This One is Mine!

August 25, 2013

GT clashFor teams competing in the GT category here at the Grand Prix of Baltimore, there are two races taking place simultaneously; the race itself through the streets of downtown and the race to develop their cars as the 2013 ALMS season heads into the homestretch.

Want to know how much difference a year of development can make? In the case of the SRT Vipers, the answer is a staggering 5.146 seconds in qualifying at Road America. And then, there was the race.

In 2012, the Vipers, in just the second race since returning to ALMS GT competition after a decade long hiatus, qualified 11th and 12th at Road America with a best lap of 2:08.556.

Fast forward 52 weeks and Jonathan Bomarito took the GT class pole at Road America with a lap of 2:03.410.  That is a 5.146 second gain for the SRT Viper. Then co-driver Kuno Wittmer posted the fastest GT lap of the race.

The SRT Vipers arrive in Baltimore on a roll, having claimed three poles in the first six races this season as they find themselves in the thick of the ALMS GT title fight with Corvette Racing and BMW Team RLL.

Starting at Road America, the Viper boxes for poles, races led and podium finishes had all been checked at least three times. What remained was putting the Viper back in the winner’s circle and that too was achieved in a hard fought race. Taking a first victory at Road America literally one year since the team’s return to ALMS competition, the SRT Viper team arrives here in Baltimore with confidence and momentum.

The ALMS GT street fight with Corvette, BMW, Ferrari, Porsche and SRT Viper is expected to be especially tight here on the 2.02-mile circuit.

The defending series champion Corvette Racing leads the 2013 GT championships with three victories, while BMW Team RLL has a pair of wins including a 1-2 on the streets of Long Beach.

The Ferrari and Porsche camps are understandably anxious to score their first wins of the season.

Longtime Ferrari favorite Risi Competizione has experienced a string of frustrations in its return to ALMS competition after coming within minutes of victory at the season opening Twelve Hours of Sebring. Led by Giuseppe Risi, the Houston-based team appears overdue for a win.

Joining Risi in the Ferrari camp is a new Florida-based collaboration between Alex Job and West Racing that has been on the pace all season.

On the Porsche front, it is a tale of three teams; the two-time defending Baltimore GT race champion Falken Porsche, the rising Paul Miller Racing squad and the newly expanded CORE autosport team which has added a GT program to its ultra-successful PC class effort.

Each of the three features a Porsche factory driver; Wolf Henzler, Marco Holzer and Patrick Long respectively.

While they await the 2014 arrival of the 24 Hours of Le Mans GT-winning new Porsche 911 RSR, the Porsche teams hope that the bumpy track surface here at Baltimore plays to their advantage as the rear engine cars put power down and accelerate out of the circuit’s tight corners especially well.

BMW, Corvette, Ferrari, Porsche and Viper – five top vehicle manufacturers. Eight top teams – twenty-two top drivers. Dozens of engineers, crews and strategists. Baltimore – this should be exciting.

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