The Riley Motorsport Dodge Viper GT3-Rs head into the early morning stage of the Rolex 24 Hours of Daytona on the back of a strong start through the first half of the race.
The #33 Riley Motorsport car, driven by Ben Keating and brothers Jeroen and Sebastiaan Bleekemolen, have led early and often during the first half and continue to find themselves in with the lead pack.
In the sister #93 car, the Viper has been in the hands of Dominik Farnbacher and Kuno Wittmer, and they led the first half of the Daytona event.
While the five above showed their guile, the first 12 hours also featured encouraging debut stints by the team’s new additions, Cameron Lawrence and Al Carter.
The former got off to a great start running as high as third on his debut Rolex 24. Like Keating, Carter will share the drives at both #33 and #93 and so far has rarely dropped out of the top five and ran as high as fourth in the #33 Viper.
Marc Goossens also turned in a strong performance, running second in the #33 for the majority of his first stint and trailing only teammate Farnbacher in the #93.
Goossens, Farnbacher and Wittmer, drove for the last three years in the championship winning Dodge Viper GTS-R GTLM program that finished at the end of the 2014 season.
No. 93 was on the Viper that won the 2014 GTLM team championship and that carried Wittmer to two victories and the GTLM driver championship.
“Driving a Viper that has the championship winning 93 is an honor for us and together with the champ Kuno,” Farnbacher said. “Then on the other No. 33 car with Ben and Marc, it’s like all my old teammates are there again. It will not be an easy task but we can achieve success again if we all pull on the same string and we seem to be doing that so far.”
With over half the race down, Jeroen Bleekemolen was content with how their Rolex 24 had panned out so far.
“It is going great, the car is running perfect so hopefully we can keep it like that,” he said. “We have to stay clean, sometimes it’s hard because the racing is heating up, you can feel the competition pushing harder and harder, which is normal. You just have to be cautious not to push too hard yet.”