SRT® Viper Hallmarks: An evolution in suspension componentry.
Engineers and designers embrace the past and honor tradition at SRT®. But that is certainly not a reason to rest on their laurels. They are always looking to improve and hone every aspect of the product. For this reason, Viper suspension componentry and geometry is improved for 2013.
Front end geometry of the new Viper shares the same setup as its predecessor, but the rear received a major update for Gen V. Bigger tires in both the front and back of the vehicle play a key role in enhanced suspension capabilities. The offset of the front wheels was also changed while creating a wider track on the front of the car, resulting in reduced understeer.
"As the Viper has evolved since 1992, we've been gradually taking that front track wider and wider to improve its handling," said Erich Heuschele, Manager, SRT Vehicle Dynamics. "We're now at the point where the outside edge of the front tires is even with the outside edge of the rear tires. On the front, the widened track leads to a handling improvement on the car, especially when coupled with those bigger tires."
In the rear of the 2013 SRT Viper, the shock towers were incorporated more into the trunk pan to stiffen the overall structure of the suspension and to help increase travel. The toe link was also moved from behind the centerline of the rear axle to in front of the axle centerline, adding stability on corner exit under power.
"Instead of a very stiff toe link behind the rear axle to control compliance steer, we now have a tuned bushing ahead of the rear axle that controls toe in during lateral load. This aids stability with the end result being the driver can now drive the car harder with more power out of turns."
The hydraulic steering has also been retuned on the Viper, adding to the overall enhancements among the suspension. The T-bar was stiffened and the steering valve also retooled as part of a hydraulic system. This leads to more precision on center and is a very direct steering system.
"The steering now is intuitive," said Heuschele. "It's almost like it's connected to your brain. You start turning the wheel, the car starts moving and it's quickened the responses of the car and is more precise. Combine going to the next generation of tires with the steering changes, the geometry changes on the car with the damping changes, and you have a significantly more capable car - and we had a very capable car before."
All 2013 Viper models utilize gas-charged, aluminum-body Bilstein® monotube dampers. The SRT Vipr GTS adds two driver-selectable modes - street or race - for further improved track capability. Coilover springs along with tubular stabilizer bars in the front and rear lead to a smooth ride and smooth handling.
Like all components on an SRT, the suspension is crafted to be fully functional and augment the overall drivability of the car. For a vehicle that has been dubbed "a race car with a license plate" that's a must.
"The Viper has an established personality and driving feel," said Heuschele. "We have been careful to maintain that feel while using technology to make the car faster."