Viper GT3-R On Track For Rolex 24 Debut
Keating looks forward in being the next in line to reach victory lane driving the snake.
“I don’t have the time to invest to be a professional sports car driver,” said Keating, who operates the highest volume Viper dealership in the nation in Tomball, Texas. “However, I am passionate about racing and I’ve been successful in a Viper. I feel I can measure up extremely well compared to other amateur drivers, especially driving a Viper.”
“I’m passionate about the car. I’ve had lots of success in the car and as soon as I heard there was going to be a GT3 Viper race car developed, I was the first person in line to jump on it. I feel like I’ve got the best car, the best class structure and the best co-driver. Everything is fitting together perfectly for success.”
Bleekemolen, a native of the Netherlands, won the 12 Hours of Sebring earlier this year and was on the winning team the past two years in the GT3 Class at the 24 Hours of Dubai. He claimed the GTC championship in the American Le Mans Series in 2010. His roots are deep with Viper as he was the 2001 FIA GT1 co-champion driving a Viper.Like Keating, Bleekemolen is eager for the 2014 season to begin.
“I think the Viper is going to be one of the best cars in the GT Daytona Class,” said Bleekemolen. “That’s one of the main reasons I’m pleased to join this team. The team is very strong and the Viper is one of the best cars out there. I raced the Oreca Viper back in 2001 for the GT1 championship, so I have some experience with the Viper.”
Current development timelines have the GT3-R’s first on-track testing set for next month as the team prepares for the first official USCR test in November.
“The first time that we will put the car on a track will be mid-October,” said Keating. “We want to shake it down and develop it as much as we can in that test. We expect to publicly debut the car at the USCR official test in November.”
Riley is looking to build several Viper GT3-Rs over the next several months but right now the focus is on the first unit which is getting a final check for next month’s test.
“The Viper GT3-R is a good progression from a customer-based Viper,” said Riley. “The parts are now available worldwide. We’re talking to a lot of different customers here in the U.S. and worldwide about 2014. “I’m excited about having Ben in our camp. Being involved in sports car racing is what we do. I think we can have a very, very strong run next year in the GT Daytona Class.”