The Dodge Viper is set to stick around on the race tracks of NZ
After plans to shut down assembly of the iconic Dodge Viper were shelved last week, muscle car enthusiasts have been rejoicing that the V10 sports car will live on.
And that’s good news for New Zealand motorsport participants, who will still be able to purchase a specially prepared Dodge Viper SRT10 for track racing.
“It’s great to hear the Dodge Viper will continue in production within Chrysler – it represents the very essence of the Dodge brand and it has a huge following around the world, including here in New Zealand,” says David Smith, General Manager of Chrysler New Zealand.
“Although we won’t be able to offer Viper road-going vehicles to the public, because they are only made in left-hand-drive, Chrysler New Zealand can assist racing drivers who wish to obtain an SRT-prepared version for the race track.”
SRT is the performance wing of Chrysler, building and supplying special parts for enthusiasts and racers, alike – potential owners can have a Viper racer built to their specifications, but they must prove their bona fide race credentials before they can purchase. Vipers are popular with racers in the United States, where a Viper Racing League has been established. They also take part in various sports car race events around the world.
A special, non-street legal Viper SRT-10 Competition Coupe has been available from Dodge for race car drivers, for the past six years. The vehicle is stripped of anything not essential for racing, such as the interior body panels, carpet, instrumentation, air conditioning, and stereo systems which lightened the car by 170kg and the power and torque ratings are lifted.
The Competition Coupe comes equipped with a full roll cage, a racing fuel cell, and other racing-related equipment. It is not sold through dealers and is purchased from Dodge directly, priced from around US$140,000. The Viper Competition Coupe sees action in the highly competitive SCCA Speed GT World Challenge.
An American Club Racing (ACR) model was added to the Viper line up last year. Its upgrades including street legal racing tyres, two piece brake rotors, adjustable suspension and significant aerodynamic revision. No engine modifications were made, so figures remain at 600hp (450kW) and 560lb/ft (760Nm) as in the base car. The ACR gives an advantage of being street legal. Weight is also decreased by as much as 36kg by way of the "Hardcore Package" which deletes radio, speakers, amplifier, trunk carpet, hood pad and tire inflator. Its aerodynamic upgrades produce 4.4 kN of down-force at 240kph, or roughly ten times the down-force the base Viper SRT-10 can produce at the same speed.
For 2009, the Dodge Viper SRT10 offers outrageous power, with an 8.4-litre, 600-horsepower (450 kW) V-10 engine contributing to blistering acceleration (0-100kph in 3.5 seconds), setting an American sports car benchmark.
To date, more than 25,000 Dodge Vipers have been built. A small number of brand new Vipers were assembled in right-hand drive eight years ago and sold in New Zealand and these are now attaining collector status.