Chrysler’s Street and Racing Technology group is ready to go racing: the SRT Viper GTS-R will make its race debut on August 4 at Mid-Ohio. The specially prepped car will be campaigned by North Carolina-based Riley Technologies in the three-hour Mid-Ohio Sports Car Challenge.
Ralph Gilles, CEO of SRT and Motorsports for Chrysler, announced the Viper GTS-R race program at the New York auto show, just after introducing the 2013 SRT Viper road car.We’ve previously seen official videos of the Viper GTS-R racer testing at Carolina Motorsports Park and Virginia International Raceway. After the debut August 4 at Mid-Ohio, SRT will continue a “limited schedule” in the American Le Mans Series this year with a pair of Viper race cars. In 2013, SRT plans to compete in the entire ALMS season.
The drivers and teams will be well prepared for the race: they spent July 4 not setting off fireworks, but testing the car at Mid-Ohio. Drivers KunoWittmer, DominikFarnbacher, and Marc Goossens collectively put 150 laps on the GTS-R, which is more than they’ll complete in the actual race later this year. The team’s fourth driver, Ryan Hunter-Reay, was unavailable for the test day.
SRT says its two Viper GTS-R racers, per ALMS series rules, will each weigh at least 2745 pounds and boast a top speed of close to 180 mph. Their 8.4-liter V-10 engines will produce between 450 and 500 hp. The 2013 SRT Viper street car, by contrast, extracts 640 hp from the V-10. Despite the power deficiency, SRT points out that the GTS-R racer is “lighter, wider, and faster” than the car that will hit showrooms at the end of this year.
The Viper name has a strong racing pedigree. The original Viper GTS-R won the 1997-1998 FIA GT championships and the 2000 Rolex 24 Hours of Daytona. From 1998 through 2000, Vipers finished in first and second place at the 24 Hours of Le Mans endurance race. And in 2000, a Viper snagged both the manufacturer’s and driver’s championships in the ALMS GT class. The subsequent Viper Competition Coupe won the 2004 SCCA Speed World Challenge GT title and the British GT Championship in 2007 and 2008.
The drivers, too, all have a healthy motorsports background. Farnbacher is a four-time ALMS GT-class winner, Goossens has campaigned the infamous 24 Hours of Le Mans eleven times, Hunter-Reay was IndyCar’s Rookie of the Year in 2007, and Wittmer has won six races in the SCCA World Challenge GT class.
SRT has released a rendering showing the livery of the two GTS-R race cars, as well as yet another short video showing the car in early testing. Less than a month from now, we’ll see how the big Viper copes in a full ALMS race against cars like the Chevrolet Corvette C6.R, Ferrari 458 Italia, and Porsche 911 GT3 RSR.