According to team principal Bill Riley, there’s definitely some disappointment at the moment, but there are no hard feelings between Riley Technologies and SRT Motorsports after Dodge announced its departure from the TUDOR United SportsCar Championship on Monday.
Two-and-a-half seasons together produced multiple wins along with the 2014 TUDOR Championship Teams’ and Drivers’ championship with the Riley-built Viper GTS-R and second in the Manufacturers’ standings for the American company. Dodge’s exit wasn’t a complete surprise, and with a small army of mechanics, engineers and fabricators mobilized to support a factory program, Riley tells RACER he and his father Bob are courting new clients to keep the storied outfit marching forward.
“We’re working pretty hard on the next chapter right now, and we’re obviously really proud of what we achieved together with Dodge to win championships for them in only two full seasons together,” he said. “They did everything they said they’d do, honored their side 100 percent, and we’re proud to have delivered for them. It was a great relationship and we’re all sad to see it end, but these things happen and you move on to whatever’s next.
“One of the programs we’re working on for next year has not made a formal announcement yet, so we’re waiting on that, and we have quite a few irons in the fire for 2015. One thing I’d like to do is get back and realigned with a manufacturer, a manufacturer-based program, because I feel that’s one of our company’s strongest capabilities. We can design, build and run something from the ground up, and there aren’t many these days who can offer that kind of solution in the U.S.”
Identifying and launching a manufacturer program can take time, leading Riley to seek more customers like Ben Keating who won two races in the GT Daytona class with one of Riley’s GT3-spec Vipers, at Mosport and Circuit of The Americas. With the team’s roots in both prototypes and GT racing, Riley says he’s prepared to field all inquiries, and can continue running privately-owned programs alongside a Manufacturer effort.
“All of the workforce is in place and we want to keep that; if a manufacturer called me today about doing something, we’d have it ready and looking just as big and professional as the SRT Viper program looked,” he added. “We’re talking along those customer lines with GTD, DP, P2, and even World Challenge. We were already looking in those areas anyways, but the necessity has been turned up quite a bit.”
Riley’s Daytona Prototype chassis is the most successful model in the category’s history, and with a rich history in IMSA with its Intrepid (BELOW) and WSC designs, it’s great to hear the North Carolina-based constructor is also preparing a new car for an emerging market.
“We’re working hard on an LMP3 program in about a month and should have some announcements there,” Riley mentioned. “Bob is working on that car as we speak. We’re definitely not resting. IMSA will figure out what they want to do with LMP3, and we hope the car fits into IMSA’s future. It’s such a great concept, and I think it will be a success. If it becomes a professional class here in the U.S., I really think it could take off.”