Posted Jul 13th 2012 2:15PM
SRT has confirmed that the Viper GTS-R will make its competition debut in the American Le Mans Series at Mid-Ohio on August 4. While development of the car has continued in earnest, SRT Motorsports, along with partner Riley Technologies, has only been able to perform three test sessions since its debut in April – one at Carolina Motorsports Park in South Carolina, another time at Virginia International Raceway, and most recently at Mid-Ohio over the American July 4th holiday. Says Gary Johnson, Road Racing Manager for SRT Motorsports, "Each test has met and more often exceeded our expectations, so we'll see how things go at Mid-Ohio and then make a decision about the rest of the 2012 season." While the rest of the 2012 season may be up in the air until after the GTS-R's debut at Mid-Ohio, the team is planning to campaign the entire 2013 ALMS season.
SRT Motorsports will be fielding two Viper GTS-Rs on race day at Mid-Ohio. The drivers include Dominik Farnbacher of Germany, who set a claimed production car lap record at the Nürburgring last year in a Viper ACR, Marc Goossens from Belgium and Kuno Wittmer from Canada, with American-born Ryan Hunter-Reay from Dallas, Texas joining the team for longer endurance races than Mid-Ohio's three-hour jaunt. The cars will compete in the production-based GT class of ALMS, which means on race day they'll be rubbing fenders with the Aston Martin Vantage, BMW M3 GT, Chevrolet Corvette C6.R, Ferrari 458 Italia, Lotus Evora and Porsche 911 GT3 RSR.
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2013 SRT Viper GTS-R Set to Return to American Le Mans Series Competition at Mid-Ohio
New Street and Racing Technology (SRT) Motorsports team features two identical SRT Viper GTS-Rs in the production-based GT class
July 13, 2012 , Auburn Hills, Mich. - The 2013 SRT Viper GTS-R will make its first on-track race appearance Aug. 4 at the Mid-Ohio (Lexington, Ohio) Sports Car Course, SRT Motorsports officials announced today.
"We're thrilled to return to the world-class competition in the American Le Mans Series with our flagship American supercar," said Ralph Gilles, President and CEO – SRT Brand and Motorsports, Chrysler Group LLC. "The new SRT Viper GTS-R represents a rebirth for us on the race track. It epitomizes the best of what our new SRT performance brand represents and showcases the Viper's natural affinity for road courses. Now the time has finally come to go head-to-head with the best sports car teams from around the world."
SRT Motorsports has partnered with Riley Technologies, based in Mooresville, N.C., on the design-and-build process of the new SRT Viper GTS-R race cars. The team will compete in the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Challenge, a three-hour American Le Mans Series (ALMS) endurance race presented by Tequila Patron.
"Racing has been a significant part of the illustrious history of Viper," said Beth Paretta, Director of Marketing and Operations – SRT Brand and Motorsports. "Wins on the track, and continued development of our street cars along with our new 2013 SRT Viper models are proof of those lessons learned. Now with our new race team and the launch of the GTS-R, we're excited and proud to begin writing more chapters in the racing history of the Viper beginning at Mid-Ohio."
Scott Atherton, President and CEO of the American Le Mans Series, hailed the return of the SRT Viper to the series as one of 2012's top announcements.
"I don't think it's possible to overstate the significance of the SRT Viper returning to the top level of professional sports car racing," Atherton said. "The Chrysler Group has a long, storied and very successful history of competing with the American Le Mans Series. The fact that they're coming back concurrently with the introduction of the new production car and doing it simultaneously, we would be hard-pressed to come up with a better-case scenario. What a great way for the SRT Viper to come back to racing."
Two identical SRT Viper GTS-R cars will compete in the production-based GT class in the series. The GT class consists of production-based, moderately modified two-wheel-drive race cars. The SRT Viper GTS-R cars will be competing against the Aston Martin Vantage, BMW M3 GT, Corvette C6.R, Ferrari F458 Italia, Lotus Evora and Porsche 911 GT3 RSR. The GT class cars share many styling similarities to their showroom brands and by series' rules must have a minimum weight of 2,745 pounds. The cars produce between 450-500 horsepower with top speeds of up to 180 mph.
More than 30 SRT Motorsports team members were on hand for the most recent track test at Mid-Ohio.
"The decision to make our debut at Mid-Ohio is a result of the progress made with our testing program," said Gary Johnson, Road Racing Manager – SRT Motorsports. "The car has shown steady performance. Each test has met and more often exceeded our expectations, so we'll see how things go at Mid-Ohio and then make a decision about the rest of the 2012 season."
Following the limited schedule this season, the SRT Motorsports team will compete full time in the series in 2013.
Three full-time drivers currently are signed to drive including Dominik Farnbacher, from Ansbach, Germany; Marc Goossens from Geel, Belgium; and Kuno Wittmer from Montreal. Ryan Hunter-Reay from Dallas will join the team for the longer endurance races. Additional driver and team announcements will be forthcoming.
Viper racing heritage
The Viper has enjoyed a successful racing heritage that began in 1996 with the first Dodge Viper racing entry, the original GTS-R, which earned five international GT championships and the 1997-1999 FIA GT championships. It also posted an amazing overall win at the Rolex 24 Hours of Daytona in 2000 – the first for a production-based American car.
Viper finished one-two at the 24 Hours of Le Mans in GTS class in three consecutive years – 1998–2000 – and captured GTS class and driver's championships in the American Le Mans Series in 1999 along with the Series' class, manufacturer's and driver's championships in 2000 before retiring from the series.
The Dodge Viper Competition Coupe, introduced in 2003, delivered the next chapter of that history with its coupe-shaped carbon/Kevlar body and a track-ready chassis, based on the Dodge Viper SRT10. The Viper Competition Coupe continued the on-track prowess by capturing the 2004 SCCA Speed World Challenge GT title, championships in Formula D Drifting series in 2004 and 2006 and the British GT Championship in 2007 and 2008.
In 2010, the Dodge Viper Cup Series was founded using the limited-edition Dodge Viper ACR-X spec series cars. Now in its third year, the series has been renamed the SRT Viper Cup Series.
About SRT Motorsports
The engineering expertise within SRT extends well beyond our street vehicles. It is a little known fact, but technical support for the Chrysler Group's motorsports program is provided by the astute engineers at SRT. Lessons learned on the track directly translate to improved vehicles for our customers. SRT Motorsports is expanding its racing presence this year and look for more news from pit lane.
The Chrysler Group's Street and Racing Technology (SRT) brand uses a successful product development formula featuring five proven hallmarks: awe-inspiring powertrains; outstanding ride, handling and capability; benchmark braking; aggressive and functional exteriors and race-inspired and high-performance interiors to remain true to its performance roots.
The expansion of the SRT vehicle lineup in the 2012 model year features four new products that are world-class performance contenders and bring the latest in safety technologies and creature comforts. These products include the Chrysler 300 SRT8, Dodge Challenger SRT8 392, Dodge Charger SRT8 and Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT8.
Making its highly anticipated return to the high-performance sports car market in late 2012 is the new 2013 SRT Viper and SRT Viper GTS. The SRT flagship performance machines arrive with more power and performance, superior craftsmanship, new technologies and creature comforts.