Next Generation Viper to Race in Le Mans
by Patrick Rall
Throughout its history, the Dodge Viper has been a major player in the world performance market, but in the 1990s, the mighty Viper was one of the most successful models on the world racing scene. Dodge hopes the next generation Viper will repeat such success.
The Dodge Viper GTS-R (or Chrysler Viper, as it was sold in Europe) took
home overall victories at the 24 Hours of Nürburgring and the Rolex 24
at Daytona, along with back to back to back class wins in the 24 Hours
of Le Mans in 1998, 1999 and 2000. The early Viper race cars also
claimed titles in the American Le Mans Series and the FIA GT
Championship before seemingly moving away from the endurance racing
The Viper continued to be an American automotive juggernaut when the SRT
generation of the Viper was ushered in, but the factory race program
faded, even though the Viper continued to set records at tracks around
the world including Mazda’s Laguna Seca raceway and the Nürburgring — a
record which has recently been broken by the Chevrolet Corvette ZR1.
is no secret that Dodge plans to begin reclaiming its records around the
world when the next Viper is unveiled next year, but according to
reports from Autosport, Dodge may be planning to tackle the Le Mans ranks
with the next Mopar supercar, as the company has requested that Riley
Technologies assess the new Viper for its potential in the endurance
Should the 2013 Dodge Viper offer some sort of “R” version intended only
for racing, with an emphasis on the same endurance races that the Viper
GTS-R of the 1990s dominated, it would be stepping into the ring against
the likes of the Chevrolet Corvette C6R and the BMW M3 GT2, along with
its new-found cousin — the Ferrari 458 GTC.
Dodge has continued on with the Dodge Viper Cup, even though the Viper is
no longer in production. Throughout the 2011 calendar year, the
Viper has continued to set records at tracks like Miller Motorsports Park — proving that while it might be out of production, it is still one of
the best all-around performance cars in the world.
While Dodge has been careful to not let any information on the next
Viper slip from behind closed doors at the Auburn Hills Headquarters,
the company has explained that the new Viper will offer “driver aides”
previous unavailable on the Viper. While Dodge hasn’t offered things
like stability and traction control on the Viper, the Chevrolet Corvette
Z06 and ZR1 both come with an advanced electronic suspension that has
made them among the best-performing cars in the world — a claim that has
been backed up by the ZR1 setting the new American record for the
Nürburgring and the less expensive Z06 coming just a half second shy of
the far pricier Viper SRT10 ACR around the famous German race course.
The goal with the next Dodge Viper is to make it more comfortable to the
driver and passenger while also improving the performance capabilities
to keep abreast with competition like the Corvette ZR1. We can expect
the next Viper to feature more interior luxury to justify the hefty
price tag, but at the same time, you can bet that Chrysler’s SRT group
will make sure that it is capable of taking back some of those racing
titles — perhaps with the return of the likes of the older Viper GTS-R.