SRT Viper GTS-R dazzles during July 4th test.
SRT Motorsports celebrated the 4th of July holiday by doing some snake charming at the Mid-Ohio Sportscar Course in near triple-digit heat. The crew was hard at work, seemingly ignoring the hot sun.
The new SRT Viper GTS-R, the first one out of the Riley Technologies' North Carolina shop, was on hand for two days of development—call it beast taming. The car has all the tools to be a winner. It just has to be trained to reach its potential.
Three of the four team drivers were on hand, taking turns wringing the best out of the beast. Kuno Wittmer, Dominik Farnbacher and Marc Goossens shared driving duties. They put over 150 laps on the book—more than what would be logged during a typical race.
For Farnbacher, it was his first chance to drive the new car. Last year he set the new production car record at the Nürburgring in his native Germany, so he is no stranger to the Viper. The GTS-R is a different animal, though—lighter, wider and faster, even though it has less horsepower due to the ALMS-required intake restrictors.
The new car is an amazing example of the latest racecar technology, based on the equally amazing 2013 SRT Viper GTS. New racing cars need a lot of fine-tuning and that's what was going on at Mid-Ohio (and earlier at two other tracks). The car is getting better and better and, according to the drivers, is going to be very competitive.
"I am excited about this car's potential," said Goossens. Both Farnbacher and Wittmer had similar enthusiasm, as did SRT Motorsports road racing Manager Gary Johnson and engine chief Dick Winkles, who was technical manager of the previous championship-dominant Viper GTS-R.
SRT also brought a 2009 Viper ACR-X hot rod. This one has a complete 2013 production drivetrain and rear suspension. SRT vehicle dynamics engineer Chris Winkler hot-lapped the 640-horsepower snake for two days, proving out the new components under conditions the new cars will see at the hands of many owners who will put them to this ultimate use. Winkler is the Laguna Seca production car record-holder, by the way.