We always knew the man could style, but designer and Dodge CEO Ralph Gilles seems more than capable of holding his own on a proper road course. Gilles recently managed to sneak onto Virginia International Raceway behind the wheel of a 2010 Dodge Viper ACR-X, and the resulting video (albeit shaky) shows us both what he and the car are capable of.
Gilles was at VIR to attend the first rounds of the 2010 Viper Cup Series, and at some point — when racers weren’t completely storming the track in the quest for glory — he managed to slip behind the wheel for a quick hot lap of the challenging 3.27-mile road course. You can’t see the speedometer, but we’re told the ACR-X was hustled to nearly 165 mph on the track’s back straight.
This is exactly what the ACR-X was designed to do. Dodge took fifty Viper ACR coupes (originally, that total was only 25), and sent them into the capable hands of Roush Industries, which then honed them into the track-tuned X model. ACR-X models are devoid of interior trim, HVAC, audio systems, and a number of creature comforts, but they are gifted with revised suspension tuning, additional aerodynamic improvements, an eight-point roll cage, race seat and harness, and a fuel cell gas tank. What more do you need to tackle the track?
A talented driver, perhaps — and Gilles, who has long been an amateur racer, seems to be just that. We’re all in favor of seeing more auto executives (so long as they’re skilled) make the jump from boardroom tables to banked turns. Who should be next?