Riley Technologies - the main striking force of the American sports car racing
Riley Technologies is an American race car constructor and team which participates in different American sportscar racing series since the foundation in 2001 and is the most successful chassis builder in the Daytona Prototype era, with ten Daytona 24h victories (between 2005 and 2015) and nine consecutive championship titles in the Rolex Sports Car Series from 2004 to 2012. The team also took championship title in the GTLM class of the 2014 IMSA United SportsCar Championship with SRT Viper GT car.
In 2017, Riley Technologies starts the new era of DPi prototypes with two different cars for Mazda Motorsports and Visit Florida Racing. In the GT racing, Riley Motorsports switches to Mercedes-AMG GT3 car.
Bob Riley continued a job of Riley & Scott company
Riley Technologies was formed in 2001 by Bob Riley and his son Bill. They continued the job of the Riley & Scott company which Bob Riley and Mark Scott founded in 1990. When Riley & Scott declared bankruptcy, Riley Technologies continued to produce and maintain their successful Riley & Scott Mark III prototype. The company is based in Mooresville, North Carolina.
In 2001 and 2002, the car was participating in the Rolex Sports Car Series and American Le Mans Series used by several teams. The Riley Racing went to Le Mans in June 2002, with Marc Goossens, Didier Theys and Jim Matthews in their #4 car, but they retired after 13 hours of racing due to engine failure.
Developing new Daytona Prototype
New regulations for the Rolex Sports Car Series were announced during 2002 which made the Mk III ineligible to compete from 2003 onwards, so Riley Technologies concentrated on their new Daytona Prototype. During the 2003 season, Riley’s old Mark III prototypes were still in use in the American Le Mans Series while the company was developing new Riley Mark XI prototype.
The Grand American Road Racing Association (GARRA) replaced their two premier open cockpit classes, known as SRP-I and SRP-II, with closed cockpit chassis made out of tube frames, instead of high-cost fiber composites. To reduce costs, GARRA didn’t allow major manufacturers to run Daytona Prototype teams and seven manufacturers have been chosen to built DP chassis: Chase, Crawford, Doran, Fabcar, Multimatic, Picchio and Riley. The GARRA was also regulating who would provide engines.
Riley Mk XI debuted in 2004
In 2003 Rolex Sports Car Series, only six Daytona Prototypes were running, without Rileys in the competition. In 2004, when SRP class was finally banned, the number of DP cars increased to 17 at the season opener at Daytona.
Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates was running two Riley Mk XI prototypes (numbers 01 and 02) with Lexus engine, SunTrust Racing was using a #10 Pontiac-powered car.
Pruett, Papis took the first championship title for Riley
SunTrust Racing’s Wayne Taylor and Max Angelelli scored the first victory win in Phoenix in April. After that, their #10 car was victorious three more times, the #01 car added four wins, driven by Scott Pruett and Max Papis. Pruett and Papis became the champions, the first time on the long list of championship titles captured by Riley prototypes.
2005 – first Daytona win for Riley Mk XI
Other teams using Riley Mk XI were Chip Ganassi Racing (three cars), Krohn Racing/TRG (two cars), Robinson Racing, Ten Motorsports, Michael Shank Racing and Orbit Racing. At the end of the season, Max Angelelli and Wayne Taylor were the champions, ahead of CGR’s Scott Pruett and Luis Diaz.
Bergmeister was the third champion with Riley
In 2006, one more Daytona 24h victory followed, together with third in a row championship title for Riley Mk XI. The winners at Daytona International Speedway were Scott Dixon, Casey Mears and Dan Wheldon in the #02 Chip Ganassi Racing’s Riley-Lexus.
Fourteen Riley participated at 2006 Daytona race. One of the drivers of the #75 Krohn Racing’s car was Jorg Bergmeister. Later in the season he moved into the Ford-powered #76 car and became the champion. As he was changing several co-drivers during the season at the end he was a sole champion, ahead of four more drivers who were using Rileys.
The fourth team continued Riley’s championship streak
In 2007, the fourth team and the fourth drivers’ combination won the championship with Riley Mk XI prototype. The champions were Jon Fogarty and Alex Gurney in the #99 Riley-Pontiac of Bob Stallings Racing. They retired at Daytona but later scored enough points to take the title ahead of Scott Pruett.
Pruett was the winner of 2007 Rolex 24 at Daytona, together with Salvador Duran and Juan Pablo Montoya in the #01 Chip Ganassi Racing’s Riley-Lexus. In that race, nineteen Rileys were present on the grid, with six of them capturing first six positions at the end.
Riley Mk XX debuted in 2008
The season of 2007 was the last season for the Riley Mk XI and the new generation of Daytona Prototypes was prepared for 2008. Riley Technologies was among six chassis builders, the others were Crawford, Coyote, Dallara, Proto-Auto Lola and Sabre. Riley’s new model was named Mk XX.
The Riley Mk XX continued the successful story of its predecessor, winning both the Daytona 24h and the championship title. Daytona winners in the #01 CGR car were Scott Pruett, Memo Rojas, Juan Pablo Montoya and Dario Franchitti. Pruett and Rojas collected five more wins, taking their first joint title. Until 2012, they won the championship three more times.
Victorious step into GT class
In 2008, Riley Technologies expanded its activities in the GT class for the first time. The company developed Mazda RX-8 for SpeedSource that took the GT class victory at 2008 Daytona 24h.
Three more teams were using that car during the season. Other GT projects were BMW M6 GT car and Chevrolet Corvette GT2 for the American Le Mans Series.
2009 – Fogarty and Gurney were champions again
In the 2009 Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series, Jon Fogarty and Alex Gurney took their second championship title together. They were driving the #99 Riley Mk XX-Pontiac for Gainsco/Bob Stallings Racing.
Three in a row: Pruett, Rojas in Chip Ganassi Racing’s Riley-BMW
Scott Pruett and Memo Rojas shared the championship trophy in 2010, after spending a full season in the #01 Riley-BMW prototype. At Daytona 24h, they finished second, behind a crew of Action Express Racing in the #9 Riley-Porsche.
In 2011, Pruett and Rojas repeated a championship triumph but also won at Daytona International Speedway. Their partners in the #01 car were Joey Hand and Graham Rahal. The third consecutive title for Pruett/Rojas, and fourth in total, followed in 2012. This time, the victorious car was the third-generation Riley prototype, named Riley Mk XXVI. Another Riley, the #60 of Michael Shank Racing, won at Daytona in 2012.
Riley fielded SRT Viper in the ALMS and 24h Le Mans
The season of 2012 was marked by Riley’s return to GT class of the American Le Mans Series with SRT Viper GTS-R. SRT Motorsports and Riley were running two cars with Kuno Wittmer, Dominik Farnbacher, Marc Goossens and Tommy Kendall as full-time drivers.
In 2013 ALMS season, the team finished 3rd in the GT class, with Jonathan Bomarito replacing Kendall. Farnbacher and Goossens scored one win, at Road America. The car also made its debut at 24 hours of Le Mans, finishing 8th in class and 24th overall. The drivers were Farnbacher, Goossens and Ryan Dalziel.
2013 – winning Daytona, losing the title
2014 – overall win at Sebring, GTLM title for Viper
When the IMSA United SportsCar Championship was created in 2014, Riley continued to supply several teams with DP chassis – Chip Ganassi Racing, GAINSCO/Bob Stallings, Michael Shank Racing and Starworks Motorsports teams.
The #01 Riley-Ford took the victory at 12 hours of Sebring, driven by Scott Pruett, Memo Rojas and Marino Franchitti. With two more wins later in the season, Pruett finished fourth in the points and was the best-placed driver of Rileys.
Riley and SRT Motorsports continued to run SRT Viper GTS-R in the GTLM class of the 2014 IMSA SportsCar Championship. They won the teams’ championship and Kuno Wittmer was the drivers’ champion. Riley Motorsports also fielded the #33 SRT Viper GT3-R in the GTD class.
2015 – farewell victory at Daytona for Riley Mk XXVI
In the 2015 IMSA season, only Chip Ganassi Racing was using one Riley Mk XXVI prototype throughout the season, with another car entering only Daytona 24-hour race. And that car won the race. The drivers in the #02 car were Scott Dixon, Tony Kanaan, Kyle Larson and Jamie McMurray. Full-time drivers in the #01 car were Scott Pruett and Joey Hand. With one victory (Austin), they finished fourth in the points.
In the IMSA GTD class, two Vipers GT3-R competed throughout the season. The #93 car scored class wins at Daytona and later at Watkins Glen. The #33 car was victorious at Road America and Austin. The #3 team finished sixth in the points.
No Riley prototypes on the full-time grid in 2016
The 2016 IMSA season saw no Riley prototypes on the grid as full-season entries. Chip Ganassi fielded two cars at Daytona, Highway to Help was using the car in three endurance events, Alegra Motorsports only at Sebring. The #01 CGR car finished fifth at Daytona.
On the other side, the #33 Viper GT3-R continued to compete full season in GTD class, with Jeroen Bleekemolen and Ben Keating as drivers. With three wins, including Petit Le Mans, they finished second in the final GTD classification.
Big changes for the 2017 IMSA season
Big changes will happen when it comes to 2017 IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship season. In both classes, Riley is participating. According to new rules for the Prototype class, Riley Technologies became one of four chassis manufacturers for DPi (Daytona prototype international) cars. Together with Multimatic, Riley developed RT24-P chassis for Mazda Motorsports, which will run two entries (#55 and #70). Another car could be the #90 Riley Mk.30 with Gibson engine for the Visit Florida Racing.
In the GTD class, Riley will compete with two Mercedes-AMG GT3 cars. The #33 will be branded as Riley Motorsports – Team AMG and driven by Ben Keating and Jeroen Bleekemolen. The full-time drivers in the #50 Riley Motorsports – WeatherTech Racing Mercedes will be Cooper MacNeil and Gunnar Jeannette.