Viper withdraws from GTLM; Chrysler’s decision

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New TUDOR United SportsCar Championship GT Le Mans class champions SRT Motorsports will not be back to defend their title in 2015.

The team has announced a withdrawal, effective immediately, from the series to instead focus on the Dodge brand.

A statement released Monday reads:

Chrysler Group LLC announced today that it is discontinuing the factory-backed SRT® (Street and Racing Technology) Motorsports racing program in IMSA (International Motor Sports Association) with the conclusion of the 2014 season. This decision affects participation in the IMSA TUDOR United SportsCar Championship with the Dodge Viper SRT GTS-R GTLM-class team. The Dodge brand will redirect its focus and efforts on the brand’s product lineup.

“Our company has made a business decision to discontinue the SRT Motorsports Dodge Viper GTS-R racing program,” said Ralph Gilles, Senior Vice President of Product Design, Chrysler Group LLC. “We are very proud of the amazing achievements our fantastic teams, drivers and partners have achieved on track the last few seasons. We thank them for their hard work, effort and commitment to SRT Motorsports. It’s been an honor to be a part of the inaugural IMSA TUDOR United SportsCar Championship season and we wish them every success in the future.”

IMSA has released a statement as well, via President and COO Scott Atherton:

“Since returning to a factory-backed sports car program midseason in 2012, the Chrysler Group was an ardent supporter of IMSA with a two-car team that competed most recently in the TUDOR United SportsCar Championship GT Le Mans category alongside a robust off-track marketing program. They have made a business decision to redirect focus to other areas of their core business.

“On behalf of IMSA, I’d like to congratulate the SRT Motorsports team and drivers – including 2014 GTLM champion Kuno Wittmer – and everybody involved with building a winning Dodge Viper SRT GTS-R program. We look forward to celebrating their accomplishments together next Monday at our TUDOR Night of Champions in New York. Our door always will remain open should they wish to return to top-level sports car racing in the future.”

Ken Roczen signs with HEP Progressive Ecstar Suzuki for 2023

Roczen Progressive Ecstar Suzuki
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ANAHEIM, California – Ken Roczen will make the move from HRC Honda to H.E.P. Motorsports with the Progressive Ecstar Suzuki team, ending a long and eventful offseason that saw his split from his longstanding team after he committed to running World Supercross (WSX).

“H.E.P. Motorsports is thrilled to announce that the team has signed Ken Roczen as its premier rider for the 2023 season,” the team announced on Instagram. “Former AMA Motocross champion Roczen will be aboard a Suzuki RM-Z450. Roczen, who won his most recent championship on a Suzuki, will be reunited with the brand and bring his exciting style, determination, and grit back to the RM Army.

“Ken Roczen will compete in the upcoming 2023 Supercross and Motocross Championship series which is set to start on January 7 at Anaheim Stadium in Southern California.”

For Roczen, it is a return to the bike of his youth and on which he had some of his greatest professional success.

“This thing has been going on for weeks and weeks and weeks in the making, but there was so much uncertainty,” Roczen told NBC Sports during Monster Energy Supercross Media Sessions. “It was a very unique situation. I just finally signed two nights ago, so it’s really only legit once the ink hits the paper. It’s been in the works for a long time, but there were just a lot of questions and a lot of input from a lot of other teams too.

“Good things take time, and I’m okay with that. I grew up riding Suzuki. Ot’s like a homecoming. It’s a special feeling”

Roczen won the 2016 Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship on a Suzuki before making the move to Honda. That year he won nine of 12 Nationals and finished no worse than second as he easily outpaced Eli Tomac by 86 points. He finished third in his next Pro Motocross outing in 2018 after sitting out the outdoor season in 2017.

“I am beyond excited to reconnect with Suzuki for the 3rd time in my career. We’ve had a lot of success in the past and I’m looking forward to seeing what we can accomplish together in our future.” Roczen said in the Instagram post.