Ralph Gilles calls out the driver in ZR1-SRT Viper shootout

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2013 red viper on track.jpg

The people at Motor Trend recently conducted a head to head
comparison between the 2013 Chevrolet Corvette ZR1 and the 2013 SRT Viper GTS
and while the two cars were nearly identical in every imaginable performance
measure – the ZR1 was able to turn a significantly faster lap around Laguna
Seca Raceway.  While things like 0-60,
quarter mile times, lateral Gs on the skidpad and stopping distance were all
within a digit or two of each other, the ZR1 was just over 2 seconds faster
around the track where the 2012 Dodge Viper SRT10 ACR set the track record a
few years ago.  The 2013 ZR1 lap time of
1:33.70 not only beat the 2013 SRT Viper GTS but it also beat the old ACR’s
record lap time of 1:33.99.

Shortly after the news of the 2013 SRT Viper GTS being
beaten by the 2013 Chevrolet Corvette ZR1 hit the social media, SRT boss Ralph
Gilles took to the Twitter – posting his very-honest opinion on the whole
situation.  Two particular Tweets
inspired a thumbs up from Mopar fans around the world as Gilles proclaimed that
“There is a lot more left in the car, Randy has always struggled with the
Viper,” followed later by “We’ve tested both cars at several tracks and
never seen a gap like that. Many drivers needlessly fear the Viper.”

For those unsure, the “Randy” that Ralph is referring to is
Randy Pobst – the driver chosen by Motor Trend to conduct the driving duties of
these two supercars around Laguna Seca Raceway. 
Pobst is a long time SCCA road racer with a collection of wins and
championships over his long career. 
Randy has spent the past few years behind the wheel of the KPax Racing
Volvo S60 so while he is unquestionably a successful racer, there is a big
difference between driving a fully race prepped Volvo sedan and a pair of stock
supercars.

During the banter on Twitter in reply to Gilles’ comments, a
member of the Motor Trend team brought up the fact that Pobst ran lap times
about two seconds slower at Laguna Seca than the 2010 Viper ACR’s record time.  Considering how quickly Gilles commented on
this whole situation, I fully expect to see the SRT team take to the famous
California road course to reclaim the Viper’s lap time title.  Chris Winkler set the previous record so SRT
could call on him to attempt to take back his own record or they could call on
the likes of Dominic Farnbacher – driver of the #91 Forza Motorsport Viper
GTS-R and the man who helped the 2010 Viper ACR set the Nürburgring track
record.

Motor Trend also offered to go back to the track with the
two cars so it is clear that this story is far from over.  MT could take the two modern American
supercars to Laguna Seca with a different driver or Chrysler may conduct their
own attempt at reclaiming the record lap time with one of their team drivers.

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