The DSC Ed had been trying to find some mutually available time to chat to Bill Riley throughout the Daytona 24 Hours weekend but had failed to do so, and was bemoaning that fact to Mark Howson as we made our way to breakfast on Monday morning.
As we executed a U-Turn to get to the IHOP though there was a familiar figure trudging his no doubt weary way down Ocean Drive, unbelievably it was the man himself.
A quick sprint after him and there was the opportunity for a brief catch-up with the man responsible for building six of the DPs on the 2014 Rolex 24 Hours grid, as well of course as the factory GTLM SRT Vipers and the brand new GTD Viper GT3R too.
First things first, hard luck on missing out on 10 wins in a row Bill:
“All good things come to an end I guess! We’ll be back.”
How do you think the debut for the GTD car went?
“There’s work to do but we were very pleased with it’s initial performance. It’s always a big ask to take on a 24 hour race in a first run and there were some new car issues and just too many problems for the car to stay in full contention.”
There was plenty of interest in the car in the paddock, how about interest in sales?
“There are two other cars already sold, one to a European customer (for a season in the Dutch Supercar Challenge) and another for Pirelli World Challenge. Beyond that there is plenty of interest.”
And will the car be submitted for the FIA/ SRO Balance of Performance test?
“Well I believe that most of that can now be done in a paper based way so we’ll look at what is possible. We don’t plan to have a car at the test this year.”
And are there any plans at present for customer GTLM (GTE) Vipers?
“That’s one for SRT to answer but the answer for now at least is no.”
Will that race be the one that got away, it was clear that the Viper was the fastest GTLM car out there?
(with a rueful smile) “Yes! We thought we were in with a very good shot at that one but it was just bad luck that caught us out, a blown aeroclip on the power steering on the #91 car cost us 12 laps.
“It’s amazing how those kind of things can bite you and do you know what that darn aeroclip cost?”