SRT® Viper Hallmarks: A lighter, more rigid and functional chassis.

Great handling comes from a combination of many vehicle components. Tires, shocks, suspension pieces, weight distribution, and of course, the stiffness of the structure these parts loads to, i.e. the frame itself.
Posted on Sep 28, 2012

Great handling comes from a combination of many vehicle components. Tires, shocks, suspension pieces, weight distribution, and of course, the stiffness of the structure these parts react to, i.e. the frame itself. Some vehicles possess the key ingredients that make for great handling on the road and the track. The 2013 SRT® Viper has it all, and it starts with the new chassis. The SRT Viper features a new chassis that shed overall weight, while also increasing torsional rigidity.

"Vipers have a long reputation for being durable and rugged track cars," said Erich Heuschele, Manager, SRT Vehicle Dynamics. "We didn't want to walk away from that. It's part of the Viper reputation and something we are proud of. I think our customers like that as well. That's one of the reasons we stayed with the steel frame."

Constructed from high-strength steel, the design and creation of the new 2013 SRT Viper chassis began as a simulation study of the chassis from previous generations. The frame was thickened using a higher-gauge steel in key areas, which helped save weight in other areas.

"Steel has the highest stiffness of any metal you can make a car from," said Heuschele. "Steel is also very tough and it's very repairable and malleable. It's not difficult to weld on a front or rear clip to repair a Viper."

Heuschele and his team earmarked several key elements during the development of the new chassis. First, they wanted to change the attachment scheme of the rear trunk pan to be more effective structurally in supporting the rear shock tower more. The most noticeable change was the addition of an aluminum X-brace under the hood, which weighs less than 15 lbs. The X-brace ties together all four corners of the engine bay and plays a significant role in helping to increase the overall torsional stiffness of the chassis by an astounding 50 percent.

"With the X-brace there is a balance of how much stiffness you want, versus how much weight you want to add," said Heuschele. "We don't want the Viper to become a big heavy tank, but we did want to improve the stiffness and do it in the most efficient way possible. The X-brace does that by closing that section in the front and putting a lid on the box so to speak."

When you combine the new lighter, stiffer Viper chassis with its long list of performance ingredients, you get one superior handling car that fulfills the SRT mission.

A stiffer, more functional frame that is lighter, and leads to a better ride as well as better handling is all standard on the 2013 SRT Viper.

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