No. 33 Viper GT3-R stays on pace in Friday’s final practice for The Rolex 24

Seventh fastest GTD time in final Friday practice has team and drivers optimistic for race

No. 33 Viper GT3-R stays on pace in Friday’s final practice for The Rolex 24

The No. 33 ViperExchange.com Viper GT3-R team, and drivers Ben Keating, Jeroen Bleekemolen, Emmanuel Collard and Sebastiaan Bleekemolen, continued their top-10 pace Friday in final practice for this weekend’s Rolex 24 At Daytona.

The No. 33 was seventh fastest in the GTD class with a top time of 1:48.584 (118.028 mph) in the final chance for teams to practice for the day-long Daytona classic. Later on Friday and early into this evening, the team and drivers quickly shifted focus to final race preparation and planning, for both man and machine.

#33 Riley Motorsports SRT Viper GT3-R: Ben Keating, Jeroen Bleekemolen, Sebastiaan Bleekemolen, Emmanuel Collard
#33 Riley Motorsports SRT Viper GT3-R: Ben Keating, Jeroen Bleekemolen, Sebastiaan Bleekemolen, Emmanuel Collard

Photo by: Trevor Horn

“I make sure that I get well hydrated and plenty of rest,” Keating said. “My goal is to eat early and go to sleep early. I always have a tough time sleeping the night before a race but I also always wish I had slept a little more. I am just going to take it as easy as possible. We have a lot of guests here and people who want to get a piece of my time, but I want to try to take it easy.”

Sebastiaan Bleekemolen, older brother of Keating’s full-season driver Jeroen Bleekemolen, played a part in putting the No. 33 through its final paces on Friday.

“The car is OK, I was out on old tires, bedding in brakes basically,” Sebastiaan Bleekemolen said. “I didn’t have too much time this week in the car, but based on my experience from the Roar and the test days in December, I think we can be quite fast. The car feels quite reliable.”

Collard was part of the overall race-winning team in 2005 and is a veteran sports car endurance racing driver.

“I will just try to be relaxed for tomorrow,” Collard said. “Try to get a good night’s sleep tonight to be ready for the race. I have been doing this for so long that I don’t really get worried about a race, I am just used to it and will be relaxed and ready.”

Still, the challenge of a day-long race is always a steep challenge for teams and drivers.

“It always amazes me how long a 24-hour race is,” Keating said. “I always wish I had been a little more conservative. I always like to think I am getting older, wiser and more experienced and maybe this is the year I pull it off.”

ViperExchange

shares
comments
Scott Tucker earns 100th career race win at Daytona

Previous article

Scott Tucker earns 100th career race win at Daytona

Next article

BMW drivers begin the 2014 CTSCC season with victory in the BMW Performance 200

BMW drivers begin the 2014 CTSCC season with victory in the BMW Performance 200
Load comments
The significance of the next step in WEC/IMSA convergence Prime

The significance of the next step in WEC/IMSA convergence

Following the latest convergence connection permitting Le Mans Hypercars from the FIA World Endurance Championship to compete against LMDh entries in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship from 2023, it could open up enticing options not only to manufacturers but also for the calendar and race formats

WEC
Jul 13, 2021
Why a Mazda IMSA Prototype title would bring bitter joy Prime

Why a Mazda IMSA Prototype title would bring bitter joy

Can Mazda win this year’s IMSA Prototype championship? Undoubtedly. But it will be the culmination of an achingly hard struggle, after which the brand has decided to quit. David Malsher-Lopez tells the story of a bizarre blend of heartache and positivity.

IMSA
Apr 6, 2021
The GTE dilemma that IMSA has created for the WEC Prime

The GTE dilemma that IMSA has created for the WEC

The IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship’s decision to scrap its GT Le Mans class for 2022 raises the question of whether the FIA World Endurance Championship should phase out GTE cars. But it's a much harder decision than it appears on the surface.

WEC
Feb 3, 2021
Nine things to watch at the 2021 Rolex 24 Hours at Daytona Prime

Nine things to watch at the 2021 Rolex 24 Hours at Daytona

After a 100-minute sprint race to whet the appetite, the 2021 IMSA SportsCar Championship gets underway properly this weekend. With plenty of significant changes during the winter, here are the key points you need to keep an eye on

IMSA
Jan 29, 2021
Why Magnussen is relishing a fresh start in sportscars Prime

Why Magnussen is relishing a fresh start in sportscars

Having gone over seven years without a race win through spells with McLaren, Renault and Haas, Kevin Magnussen's departure from Formula 1 for IMSA with big-hitters Chip Ganassi Racing could give him what he craves most - a chance of success

IMSA
Jan 29, 2021
Oliver Gavin's Corvette Racing highlights Prime

Oliver Gavin's Corvette Racing highlights

Oliver Gavin has stepped down from the full-time Corvette Racing line-up after a stellar career with the team spanning nearly 20 years. He looks back on a stint that encompassed, among other successes, five Le Mans 24 Hours victories.

Le Mans
Jan 28, 2021
How Tandy joined an exclusive club of endurance legends Prime

How Tandy joined an exclusive club of endurance legends

Victory at last year's Spa 24 Hours meant Nick Tandy had completed the unofficial sextuple crown of the world's six biggest endurance races, becoming the first Briton to do so. Ahead of his fresh start with Corvette Racing, he explains how he did it…

Le Mans
Jan 24, 2021
The 12 greatest Sebring 12 Hours ranked Prime

The 12 greatest Sebring 12 Hours ranked

The 2020 edition of the Florida sportscar classic is finally taking place this weekend, eight months after its traditional date in March. That meant there was plenty of time for Motorsport.com to pour over its previous 67 races and select the best.

IMSA
Nov 11, 2020