08 January, 2014
Rob Bell kicked off his 2014 racing season with a trip stateside for the official Rolex 24 at Daytona pre-event test this weekend. Rob is driving for the SRT Motorsports team, sharing a Viper GTS-R sportscar with Jonathan Bomarito and Kuno Wittmer.
The Daytona test was the Lancashire based driver’s first outing with SRT Motorsports and a chance for him to get to know the team, drive the car for the first time and prepare for his second appearance at the Daytona 24 hour race later this month.
Rob, a McLaren GT factory driver, has been fortunate to race a wide variety of cars during his sportscar career aside from his regular commitments working with McLaren to develop the race versions of their revered road cars and racing with their customer teams in selected race programmes.
The Daytona test was the first time that Rob had driven the Chrysler Viper and he was impressed with its performance, saying, “It was a very competitive few days of running and the Viper stood up well to the opposition. The reliability of the car was excellent which should stand us in good stead for the race when durability is so important.”
Rob adds, “I hadn’t worked with SRT Motorsports before so it was great to have this pre-Daytona test to get to know everyone in the crew and my team mates, as I hadn’t driven with either of the guys prior to the weekend. The team were very welcoming and it didn’t take long for me to feel very comfortable, they’re a great bunch of people.”
“I didn’t have the luxury of pre-Daytona testing last time out,” says Rob, “so it was a real bonus to be able to have some time in the car before the race itself. We worked on developing the car set up for the race and getting the pace in the car and accomplished a busy programme, so it was very useful.”
Rob will be back to the USA for his first race of 2014 at the Rolex 24 at Daytona. He looks ahead saying, “It’s the first big race of the year so it’s great to be racing there with SRT Motorsports. The Viper GTS-R has the pace and the reliability needed for this type of long-distance race, so I’m very excited about the prospects for the race and look forward to getting out on track to race in earnest. There is plenty of competition from the other manufacturers and a large field of cars, so I’m anticipating a very hard-fought 24 hours of racing.”
Rob will be competing in the three blue-riband US endurance races in 2014 with the factory two-car team, SRT Motorsports. He will contest three rounds of the IMSA TUDOR United SportsCar Championship - the Rolex 24 at Daytona, the 12 Hours of Sebring and Petit Le Mans.
SRT Motorsports has partnered with Riley Technologies on the design-and-build of the SRT Viper GTS-R race cars. Two identical SRT Viper GTS-Rs will compete in the production-based GT Le Mans (GTLM) class in the new TUDOR United SportsCar Championship. The SRT Viper GTS-Rs will be competing against the Aston Martin Vantage, BMW Z4 GTE, Corvette C7.R, Ferrari F458 Italia, and Porsche 911 GT3 RSR.