Bomarito, Conway Earn First Career Poles; Guasch Inherits Top Spot In PC On Points
Klaus Graf and Muscle Milk Pickett Racing were fastest in American Le Mans Series presented by Tequila Patrón qualifying for the Mobil 1 SportsCar Grand Prix at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park, but a pair of first-time polesitters were the story.
Graf earned his first pole of the season – and the second consecutive for the team – driving the No. 6 Muscle Milk HPD ARX-03c to a lap of 1:05.871 (134.390 mph). He was 3.693 seconds ahead of Tony Burgess, 1:09.564, in the No. 16 Mazda/Thetford/Norcold Lola B12/60 for Dyson Racing. Andy Meyrick qualified third in P1 in the No. 0 DeltaWing LM12 he co-drives with Katherine Legge with a lap of 1:10.521.
“You want to stay sharp, especially at this track,” said Graf, who acknowledges his team is the favorite this weekend. “We just want to make sure we do what we always do.”
SRT Motorsports got an impressive qualifying effort from Jonathan Bomarito who scored his first career GT pole in the No. 93 Pennzoil Ultra SRT Viper GTS-R. Bomarito’s lap of 1:15.462 (117.309 mph) was 0.139 seconds ahead of Corvette Racing’s Jan Magnussen. Magnussen qualified second in the No. 3 Compuware Corvette C6 ZR1 he shares with Antonio Garcia with a lap of 1:15.601, while Marc Goossens rounded out the top three in the No. 91 SRT Viper GTS-R at 1:15.635.
“The track is WOW… you know it just takes your breath away in numerous corners,” said Bomarito, who made his first appearance at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park this weekend. “I don’t know that I took more than one or two breaths that whole lap. From turn 2 to turn 3 to turn 4, it has awesome flow. It’s just a really, really knife edge of a track. You have to be spot on, really work on balancing the car and just trusting the grip levels because it’s really, really fast.”
Mike Conway wasted no time getting up to speed this weekend, leading all but one practice session and earning the P2 pole in his first career attempt driving the No. 552 Siemens/Alpina Watches/Ohiya Casino Resort HPD ARX-03b for Level 5 Motorsports.
Conway is subbing for the injured Ryan Briscoe who fractured his wrist in the IndyCar race at Detroit. His lap of 1:08.785 (128.697 mph) was 0.246 seconds ahead of teammate Marino Franchitti, 1:09.031, in the No. 551 Level 5 entry. Johannes van Overbeek qualified third in the No. 02 Tequila Patrón HPD ARX-03b entry for Extreme Speed Motorsports at 1:09.740.
“I wanted to do more laps to be honest,” said Conway. “I thought we could have been ever quicker to be honest.”
Prototype Challenge presented by Continental Tire (PC)
Prototype Challenge presented by Continental Tire (PC) qualifying was cut short after an incident involving points leader Mike Guasch in the No. 52 Molecule ORECA FLM09 for PR1 Mathiasen Motorsports. Although Colin Braun posted the quickest time in the session, Guasch will start from the top spot in class based off of points as the session did not meet the minimum 10-minute requirement. The No. 05 Composite Resources ORECA team of Colin Braun and Jonathan Bennett will start second, while the No. 9 RSR Racing ORECA driven by Bruno Junqueira and Duncan Ende will start third.
Jeroen Bleekemolen earned his third pole of the season in the GTC class with a lap of 1:21.310 (108.872 mph) in the No. 22 WeatherTech Porsche 911 GT3 Cup. Sean Edwards qualified second in the No. 30 MOMO Porsche 911 GT3 Cup with a lap of 1:21.540, with Spencer Pumpelly posting the third quickest time in the No. 45 Venezuela/eSilicon Porsche 911 GT3 Cup for Flying Lizard Motorsports at 1:21.924.
The Mobil 1 SportsCar Grand Prix begins at noon ET with live coverage on ESPN2 and ESPN3.
SRT Motorsports – Viper GTS-R Takes ALMS GT Class Pole at CTMP – Post-Qualifying Quotes
Jonathan Bomarito in the No. 93 Pennzoil Ultra SRT Viper GTS-R won the GT pole during qualifying Saturday at Canadian Tire Motorsports Park. It was the second for SRT Motorsports in 2013 (Dominik Farnbacher grabbed the top starting spot at Long Beach). Marc Goossens posted the third-best overall time, giving SRT Motorsports two of the top three starting positions for tomorrow’s race.
Jonathan Bomarito – No. 93 Pennzoil Ultra SRT Viper GTS-R (Pole Winner)
“It feels awesome. Our Viper GTS-R is running great this weekend. Everybody with Riley Technologies has been working their tails off, countless hours to get us to this point. More importantly than the pole, we have a really good race car for tomorrow. My teammate Kuno (Wittmer) has been awesome here. He knows this track. We’re looking for big things tomorrow.”
AT WHAT POINT DID YOU THINK YOU HAD A CAR THAT WOULD WIN THE POLE? “Well, we knew from the practices we’ve been very competitive all weekend. We knew we had a good car for the pole. But this class is so competitive you don’t know who is going to pull what out of their hats for qualifying. You just have to put your head down and literally wring out every single ounce. And around this place, it’s holding your breath the whole time, really fast, exciting circuit.”
WHAT DOES THIS PLACE MEAN TO YOU AS A DRIVER? “It is a very special track. This is my first time ever racing here. I’ve been doing this for a while and it seems like every year we don’t come here but finally I’m here and I’m getting to experience what this place has to offer. It really is special.
“This is an awesome day for myself, for the team, for SRT Motorsports. We’re first and third starting tomorrow’s race. We have two amazing shots, amazing race cars to be there at the end tomorrow. That’s what’s truly important.”
THIS LOOKS LIKE A VIPER TRACK. “It is, I mean, this track does suit our car. Every track we’ve been to, we’re right there. We’re making small changes. This class is so competitive, all you can do is make little progress, chip away every weekend. We’re definitely here and hopefully we’re here up front for the rest of the year.”
HOW BIG IS WINNING THE POLE TODAY FOR YOU AND THE TEAM? “This is huge for the whole team, for SRT Motorsports, for myself, for Kuno. You know the 93 car, we’ve had our share of bad luck but things turned around for us at Lime Rock and we’re still riding that wave of success. You know it’s not for lack of effort. Everybody is trying so hard. Now we’re there. We just need to keep chipping away at it.”
IS THIS SOMETHING THAT CAN TURN YOUR SEASON AROUND? “No, not really. It is huge to be on the pole but tomorrow is the important day. I think we have a really good race car. We just need to keep focused on what we’re doing. We have one more night to sit down, look at things and make it even better for the race.”
Marc Goossens – No. 91 SRT Viper GTS-R (Qualified 3rd)
“It was a good run. We rolled off the trailer pretty well and we’ve been improving the car quite a bit. It looks like this track suits the GTS-R. My lap was good. I just left a little bit in one of the slow corners which was probably just over half a tenth. That might have been enough to grab that pole. Jonathan has been strong all weekend. I think he did a great job. What can I say? There’s two Vipers in the top three – what else can we ask for? Sounds like if they do something to the 3 car for causing the red flag, it might be a one-two front row for the Vipers. I can’t say enough how young the program is and where we’re at right now. I think everybody did a great job. It’s pretty tight up front, so you can’t leave half a tenth like I did. I’m pretty happy that it is my teammate that beat us. It’s going to be an interesting day tomorrow.”
Russ Ruedisueli – Head of Engineering, SRT Brand and Motorsports
“It was fantastic; P1 and P3 is really quite an accomplishment. Gary (Johnson, SRT Motorsports Racing Manager) commented that this place is all about confidence and the drivers feeling comfortable in the car. They’ve been working real hard on that and the qualifying today showed. We hoped the way this course is laid out with the hairpin at the bottom and the long ride up that the torque of the V10 would help us a little bit.”
IS THIS A VIPER-TYPE RACE TRACK? “Well we were hoping so but sometimes we get surprised. We’re really, really happy with the result. It looks like the car is going to work really well here this weekend.”
DOES THAT MEAN A LOT OF HORSEPOWER? “The way the ALMS program is set up, the equalization of horsepower is pretty consistent. I think the torque is a little bit of an advantage here for us and how hard the team worked to get the car to handle and make the drivers comfortable.”
Gary Johnson – SRT Motorsports Racing Manager
“The team did a great job putting the car together and JB (Bomarito) put it to full use. He had the car hung out for the whole lap and it all paid off. I’m very proud of them and JB. He hasn’t raced here before but we brought him here a little while ago and put him in one of our old cars. He got very familiar with the track and I think that really helped him. He came here really focused on going fast rather than learning the track.”
Beth Paretta – Director of Marketing and Operations, SRT Brand and Motorsports
“Canada is very important to us and an important market for the whole Chrysler Group. In fact, Dodge is the number one brand in Canada. One thing that is amazing about Canadian race fans is that they’re so enthusiastic. Having a Canadian driver on our team, Kuno Wittmer from Montreal, they’re following him closely. We’re happy to be in his home country and hopefully have a good result tomorrow. SRT is slowly growing among the Canadian dealers and hopefully we’ll be growing in the coming years. Running well on the race track, especially for the people that buy performance vehicles which we sell, they definitely have a closer eye on racetracks.”
POST QUALIFYING PRESS CONFERENCE
Jonathan Bomarito – No. 93 Pennzoil Ultra SRT Viper GTS-R (Pole Winner)
“This is a huge day for everybody with SRT Motorsports, myself, Kuno. We’ve been working really, really hard this year to get where we are and the whole team has been as well. My first pole position in American Le Mans Series in the GT class and I’m over the moon. I’m enjoying this for now but as soon as we leave here, we have to get focused for the race tomorrow. That’s really what we’re here for — to win tomorrow.”
Kuno Wittmer – No. 93 Pennzoil Ultra SRT Viper GTS-R
WHAT IS LIKE FOR YOU TO BE IN THIS POSITION? “This is definitely a dream come true right now. You know working with a guy like Jonathan, he put one heck of a lap together and everybody knows that going around this track is not easy. This is also his first time here. Even if you have 15 years of experience and he comes here for the first time, it’s quite impressive what he did out there in the Viper.
“Having the support here with the Canadian spectators and cooking out – some burgers and hot dogs – is definitely very, very pleasant. It’s very nice and I think if we could give them a good run, a good show tomorrow would be really nice. Right now, the cars are clean, they’re good. We have a very strong race car for tomorrow.”
YOU’VE RACED HERE SINCE YOU WERE 16 YEARS OLD. WHAT EXPERIENCE COULD YOU PASS ON TO JONATHAN? “I mean Jonathan is a super-talented driver, very quick, very fast and a very fast learner. What I handed off to him were just some notes and keynotes, everything that I could dig from my pocket of experience and hand off to him that would benefit the two of us. He took it and just made it better. He went out and drove a heck of a lap.”
Bomarito: WHAT ARE YOUR IMPRESSIONS OF THE TRACK? “First of all, Kuno is being modest. He was instrumental in our success today with track notes for the engineers, giving them more insight into what we need to make the car go quick. We showed up yesterday with a very quick car right out of the gate. It’s more than just driving notes. He’s done an awesome job, been super quick in the car as well, so I can’t think of a better guy to hand the car off to tomorrow.
“The track is, wow, it just takes your breath away in numerous corners. I don’t know that I took more than one or two breaths that whole lap. Turn 2 to Turn 3 to Turn 4 has awesome flow and is just really, really knife-edge of a track. You have to be spot-on, really work on balancing the car, and just trusting the grip levels because it’s really, really fast.”