|Photo Credit: Chrysler Group|
When the Dodge Viper was originally introduced as a halo supercar for the Chrysler Corporation, it was surprising with its Carroll Shelby-guided pedigree and the monstrous V-10 engine that a connection to sports car racing was not immediately made. It wasn't until the 1996 FIA GT Championship that the Viper was unleashed against the world's best on the race track. Three straight championship seasons for the Oreca-backed Dodge Viper race team solidified the American high-performance car as a stand-out for Mopar fans.
At the 2012 New York Auto Show when Chrysler revealed the 2013 SRT Viper GTS production car, motorsports was instantly declared a showcase for the new supercar. Classified as the Viper GTS-R, the Street and Racing Technology Motorsports team has scheduled August 4th American Le Mans Series race at Mid-Ohio as the GT competition debut for their V-10 engined marvel.
President and CEO of the SRT brand Ralph Gilles explains the putting their "flagship American supercar" as a way to assert the vehicle as a world-beater. “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.”
Bracing for a contentious fight against the Chevrolet Corvette C6R, Ferrari 458 Italia and the BMW M3 GT race cars, the SRT Viper GTS will conform to the class' regulations. With engine restrictors set to choke the 640-horsepower, 8.4-liter powerplant of the 2013 SRT Viper down to around 450-500 horsepower, the race-purposed GTS-R model is set to reach speeds around 180 miles per hour on the road course.
Testing of the SRT Viper GTS-R had been ongoing since its public unveiling this past April. The vehicle's test driver Marc Goossens will joined by Kuno Wittmer, Dominik Farnbacher and IZOD INDYCAR Series star Ryan Hunter-Reay at the 2.258-mile Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course eager to quickly obtain the winning ingredients for GT class success in the near future. The Mid-Ohio event will be initial test bed for when the SRT Viper GTS-R will be unleashed on the full American Le Mans Series schedule during the 2013 season.