By Patrick Rall
When the original Dodge Viper GTS-R race program hit the track back in the late 1990s, it was a nearly unstoppable force that displayed success that has become legendary in the racing world. It was that same success that the Street and Racing Technology (SRT) group had hoped to achieve when they launched the new Viper GTS-R race program last year but the 2013 SRT Viper-based racing teams have struggled since day one.
After spending much of the 2012 American LeMans Series at the rear of the field, the two Viper teams planned to have a better outing in a full 2013 ALMS schedule but that has not been the case. This past weekend’s disappointing 25th and 32nd place finishes at the 2013 24 Hours of LeMans came as a brutal reminder to Mopar endurance racing fans that things just aren’t going right for the modern Viper race program. This has led many to question whether more experience for the teams and drivers will eventually lead to some podium finishes or is this rough start just a sign that the new Viper GTS-R just isn’t good enough to win in the hotly contested GT racing world.
There is no question that the class in which the SRT Viper GTS-R competes has gotten a great deal more competitive since the late 1990s with incredible entries including the Corvette C6-R, the Ferrari 458 and a handful of very good Porsche teams. These teams were all caught off guard when the Viper hit the endurance racing scene back in 1998 and all of those manufacturers spent the next few years working to catch up. The Viper raised the bar for the GT class – seemingly so much that the modern Viper GTS-R program is struggling to keep up.
So what do you think? Do you think that the current SRT Viper race program will grow to be as successful as the Team Oreca Vipers of the late 90s and early 2000s? If so, what needs to happen for them to get there? Of not, what is preventing it from happening? Click here to head into the forums to tell us what you think about the current Viper racing program – both in the global seen along with the American LeMans Series.