Back in the saddle: The Viper GTS-R returns to the American Le Mans Series.
After a widely successful public debut in April, productive test sessions in May, June and July, the 2013 SRT Viper GTS-R is set to return to competition with the American Le Mans Series (ALMS), for the first time in well over a decade. A three-hour endurance challenge awaits on August 4, at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course.
In preparation for their return to ALMS action, SRT Motorsports partnered with Riley Technologies of Mooresville, North Carolina, in the design-and-build process of the pair of SRT Viper GTS-R race cars that will hit the track. The two identical SRT Viper GTS-Rs will compete in the GT class with the ALMS, which features production-based vehicles that produce between 450-500 horsepower and can reach speeds of 180 mph. Viper last competed in the ALMS GT class in 2000, claiming both the manufacturer's and driver's championships that season.
"We're thrilled to return to the world-class competition in the American Le Mans Series with our flagship American supercar," said Ralph Gilles, President and CEO – SRT Brand and Motorsports, Chrysler Group LLC. "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."
The roster of drivers who will pilot the pair of 2013 SRT Viper GTS-R race cars includes: Dominik Farnbacher from Germany, who established a new production-car lap record at the famous Nürburgring Nordschleife last year in a Viper; Marc Goossens from Belgium, who has vast experience in sports car and endurance racing, and Kuno Wittmer from Canada, who has broken numerous track records in a Viper ACR. Ryan Hunter-Reay from Fort Lauderdale, Florida, who has won three IndyCar races this season, will join the team for longer endurance races.
"Racing has been a significant part of the illustrious history of Viper," said Beth Paretta, Director of Marketing and Operations – SRT Brand and Motorsports. "Wins on the track, and continued development of our street cars, along with our new 2013 SRT Viper models are proof of those lessons learned. Now with our new race team and the launch of the GTS-R, we're excited and proud to begin writing more chapters in the racing history of the Viper beginning at Mid-Ohio."
The 2013 SRT Viper GTS-R has completed three test sessions this year in preparation for its competitive debut. The first test came at Carolina Motorsports Park in Kershaw, South Carolina, followed by a session at Virginia International Raceway. Most recently, the SRT Viper GTS-R was put through the paces at Mid-Ohio on July 3–4, with over 30 team members on-hand gathering valuable data.
"The decision to make our debut at Mid-Ohio is a result of the progress made with our testing program," said Gary Johnson, Road Racing Manager – SRT Motorsports. "The car has shown steady performance. Each test has met and more often exceeded our expectations, so we'll see how things go at Mid-Ohio and then make a decision about the rest of the 2012 season."
The 2013 SRT Viper GTS-R was introduced to the European road racing community during the legendary 24 Hours of Le Mans in France last month. Paretta, Johnson and Bryan Viger, Motorsports Marketing Manager, SRT Motorsports all made the trip to France on behalf of SRT Motorsports. The trio spread the word on the new Viper GTS-R as they work towards earning an invitation to the 2013 24 Hours of Le Mans, an event that the Viper GTS-R has won in class three times.
The SRT Viper GTS-R will compete in a partial ALMS schedule this season, before embarking on a full-time campaign with the series in 2013.