European Debut: 2013 SRT Viper GTS-R heads to SRT display at Le Mans.
The SRT Viper has a rich history at Le Mans, having scored three class victories over the years. Another chapter will be added this weekend. While Team Viper will not be racing in this year’s edition of the 24 Hours of Le Mans, the brand-new Viper GTS-R will be on display in special Le Mans livery.
The Viper GTS-R is a purpose-built, non-street legal and competition-ready vehicle, powered by a V-10 engine that has gained notoriety since its introduction. SRT Motorsports teamed with Riley Technologies of Mooresville, North Carolina, to construct the GTS-R for its return to endurance racing.
“We want to introduce the Viper GTS-R to the European public who may not have seen it when we revealed it in New York,” said Gary Johnson, Road Racing Manager, SRT Motorsports. “We want to let sports car fans know that we will be competing in the ALMS series this year.”
Bryan Viger, Motorsports Marketing Manager; SRT Motorsports; Beth Paretta, Director of Marketing and Operations, SRT Brand and Motorsports, and Johnson are all making the trip to Le Mans, France, on behalf of SRT Motorsports. The trio will spread the word on the new Viper GTS-R, working towards earning an invitation to the 2013 24 Hours of Le Mans, as all starting spots on the grid for the legendary endurance race are by invitation only.
The Viper GTS-R was victorious three straight years in the GTS class in the 24 Hours of Le Mans from 1998–2000. The Viper swept the top-two spots on the podium in 1998, with all four Vipers in the field finishing seventh or better in class. The 1999 24 Hours of Le Mans saw the top six spots in the GTS class go to Vipers. In 2000, Viper again was on the top two steps of the podium, with all four entries finishing among the top six in the GTS class. The Viper made its Le Mans debut in 1996, with a total of five Vipers competing in that contest.
“We’ve been out of that form of racing for quite a few years, but throughout that time, we maintained a very loyal fan base,” said Johnson. “The fans had always looked up to the Viper and had been hoping we would come back. This will help get the word out that we are ready, andwe hope to race at Le Mans again someday.”
The 2013 Viper GTS-R recently turned its first laps at Carolina Motorsports Park in Kershaw, South Carolina, with Marc Goossens behind the wheel. For video from the test, visit the full article from the test. The SRT Viper GTS-R is expected to compete in a handful of American Le Mans Series GT class events later this year before contesting a full season in 2013.
“The test went really well and we were happy with how well the car was put together,” said Johnson. “We had kind of planned to spend the day sorting out some items that needed attention, but that check-out went so well and so quickly, that we actually started putting laps on the car and doing set-up changes with the car. It went far beyond our expectations.”
For more information on Viper GTS-R at Le Mans over the years, visit the GTS-R history section..