27 January, 2014
Lancashire based sportscar driver, Rob Bell, crossed the finish line in sixth place in the GTLM class at the famed Daytona 24 Hours race in Florida. Driving with Jonathon Bomarito and Kuno Wittmer in the factory SRT Motorsports Viper GTS-R team, Bell was behind the wheel of the team’s No.93 Viper GT car.
Bell, a McLaren factory driver, was making his second appearance at the Rolex 24 at Daytona, and his first time with SRT Motorsports team. Bell has extensive experience of endurance racing, with over seven years’ of racing in sportscars and a regular in the premier events – Le Mans, Petit Le Mans, Sebring amongst others.
After a strong qualifying, the team were set for a highly competitive race and were on the pace right from the start with the No.93 car taking the class lead right from the start and then battling with the sister car in the early stages, until pit stops put the cars out of sync with their rivals. Rob and his team mates all led during their stints, demonstrating the pace of the Viper GTS-R. After eight hours of running the team were running strong, however a contact incident forced the No.93 to have to pit for repairs to the front-end of the car. It rejoined the race several laps down on the leader and the three drivers all pushed hard to fight back, moving back into the top five by mid-morning on Sunday.
The No.93 then suffered mechanical problems with a driveshaft flange issue resulting in garage repairs which put paid to any hopes of podium finish for the car. Meanwhile the sister car was making good progress, finally taking third place at the end of a gruelling 24 hours, with the No.93 car coming home in sixth place.
Bell said after the race, “It was great to be racing in Daytona with the SRT Motorsports team. The car had really good pace in the early stages, with myself, Jonathon and Kuno all enjoying being in the lead during our early stints. It was a solid start to the USCC season; the car has so much potential, I’m really looking forward to being back with the team and the Viper in Sebring.”
Rob is 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.