The legendary Viper marque returned to the Rolex 24 at Daytona this year for the first time in more than a dozen years, and the new SRT Motorsports Riley-built SRT Viper GTS-R (pictured right, passing a PC class car during the night) brought home a solid third place finish in the GT Le Mans class.
It was a good spot for Viper to actually be disappointed with third place, as the polesitting No. 91 car driven by Dominik Farnbacher, Marc Goossens and Ryan Hunter-Reay was a class-winning contender before various issues including a power steering line failure cost it 10 laps.
When the Viper finished the Rolex 24, it featured glorious battle scars from racing. The dirt, grime and unkempt look of a car after 24 hours of pure, hard racing is something to treasure. And it looked like this, as I walked through the garage at the end of the race.
But to some people, art and the fact this is an actual race car, means nothing. What has happened this week at the Chicago Auto Show is nothing short of a disgrace, and makes you sick to see.
Here’s what has happened to the car at various points this week, via sports car and former Formula Atlantic driver Ryan Lewis, who was at the auto show.
This really bothers me. Dick heads disrespecting others efforts. Going to post up here rest of the week. pic.twitter.com/6gBM7v6di3
MotorSportsTalk continues its review of the Verizon IndyCar Series field, driver-by-driver, with a look at Ryan Briscoe. Despite not having a ride to start the year, Briscoe ended strongly courtesy of a series of strong runs at Schmidt Peterson Motorsports.
Ryan Briscoe, No. 5 Schmidt Peterson Motorsports Honda
2014: 11th Place, Best Finish 4th, Best Start 4th, 1 Top-5, 11 Top-10, 5 Laps Led, 12.8 Avg. Start, 10.6 Avg. Finish
2015: 18th Place (8 starts), Best Finish 5th, Best Start 2nd, 1 Top-5, 4 Top-10, 10 Laps Led, 17.8 Avg. Start, 12.0 Avg. Finish
For those who slag on Briscoe as being undeserving of top level equipment, his 2015 second half provided a friendly reminder of his overall ability level in what might be less than the best machinery.
Briscoe was thrust into the No. 5 car under trying circumstances to begin with, getting all of an hour’s worth practice replacing the injured James Hinchcliffe ahead of the Indianapolis 500. But subsequent drives on the ovals there, Texas, Fontana, Milwaukee and Iowa – even if the results were less than ideal – showcased a driver determined to show to the paddock he still had it, and then some. His defense against Juan Pablo Montoya in Sonoma was nothing short of brilliant, and courtesy of double points he actually finished ahead of full-season driver Stefano Coletti.
The Australian immediately gelled with the SPM team, engineer Allen McDonald and race strategist Robert Gue. He continues to prove he’s an asset, as he has enjoyed multiple opportunities to extend his career in various arenas of motorsport in both open-wheel and sports cars, the latter of which he won at both the Rolex 24 at Daytona and the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring with Corvette Racing this year.