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by Jay Traugott
The new SRT Viper will soon be making its way to the track.
Yesterday was the 2013 SRT Viper road car. Today is the Viper GTS-R American Le Mans (ALMS) racer. Life doesn't get much sweeter than this right about now. SRT, the newly established performance brand at Chrysler, is currently enjoying the fruits of their labor at the 2012 New York Auto Show. And they deserve all of the praise in the world. Not only has division head Ralph Gilles and his team delivered in the looks department, but their performance credentials have been firmly established.
Now it's time to get this new Viper on the race track. Fortunately, Gilles and crew came prepared, as the newly unveiled GTS-R clearly shows. This non-street legal and competition-ready Viper will in fact be making its debut racing appearance at this year's American Le Mans Series (ALMS). According to Gilles, "Racing has been a significant part of the illustrious history of Viper not only with wins on the track, but also in the continued development of the street cars - and our new 2013 SRT Viper models are proof of those lessons learned....we're excited and proud to begin writing more chapters in the racing history of the Viper later this summer."
Power will come from the same 8.4-liter V10, which produces a total of 640hp at 6150 rpm and 600lb-ft of torque at 4950. Final performance stats and specific changes aren't available just yet, but we expect to see the typical modifications done when going from the road to track. The Viper certainly isn't new to racing, as it was the first American-built car to score an overall win at the 2000 Rolex 24 Hours of Daytona. Before that, the 1996 GTS-R won five international GT championships. In 2010, the Dodge Viper Cup Series was founded, which used the limited-edition Viper ACR-X spec series cars. The series will also continue, but it's been renamed the SRT Viper Cup Series.
Scott Atherton, President and CEO of the American Le Mans Series, also hailed the return of the Viper, stating that "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." Drivers for the new ALMS team include Dominik Farnbacher, Marc Goosens, Ryan Hunter-Reay, and Kuno Wittmer.