Viper rises out of the ashes

January 25, 2015

Viper rises out of the ashes

January 25, 2015

viper_wins_rolexAt the end of last year’s TUDOR United SportsCar Championship Dominik Farnbacher and GTLM champion Kuno Wittmer went from the highs of championship success to the unemployment line.

Dodge pulled the pin on the Bill Riley-run GTLM program even before Wittmer could pick up his championship trophy the following week.
Four months later the roller coaster ride of motorsport turned their lives back around with the duo joining Ben Keating, Al Carter and Cameron Lawrence as owners of a new Rolex watch.

The five drivers took the GT Daytona victory in the Rolex 24 at Daytona – a memorable occasion for the Texas car dealer Keating who is the number one volume Viper dealer in the world. The result was a remarkable turnaround too for Keating after seeing his car virtually burn to the ground in a dramatic fire at Sebring last year.

“Last year we were strong, but we finished third in a strong car,” Farnbacher said about the GTLM Viper Daytona assault from 2014.

viper_wins_rolex_2“This year with Ben Keating and TI automotive made it possible to compete again, in a different class. This year we were lucky enough to win. We are all very emotional in the moment. It’s a great achievement, it was sad for all of us when the program was pulled at the end of last year, so its a great feeling today to get this win.”

Keating was emotional at the post-race press conference as the realization of what he had achieved sunk in.

“The joy of winning the Rolex 24 in a Viper is pretty emotional,” Keating said.

“We brought on a new sponsor this year with TI automotive which is much more of a partnership with fueling, and braking, and making our AC more efficient in the car.

“With SRT and Dodge deciding to spend their money in other ways, all those incredible things that won Kuno the championship in GTLM last year, trickles down into our organization today.”

The result marked a big day for the Riley Motorsport organization which also designed and built many of the Daytona Prototype entries including the winning No.02 Ganassi machine.

“I think we could all see the emotions on Ben’s face,” Wittmer said.

“That sums up everything we’ve done and gotten to. We’re not just weekend warriors, or weekend hires, we’re family.

“Unfortunately our program was pulled, but the new cooperation was able to keep the family going. And Viper and TI automotive to keep the group going, and to get a great car on the grid, and we were the fastest car on the grid, we were the smartest team, it was smart enough to get the win.”

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