Dodge Viper tradition holds that, shortly after launching a wicked and powerful sports coupe, Chrysler’s performance wing concocts an even more hell-bent, hardcore version designed for trackday junkies. Despite transitioning from Dodge to the SRT brand’s portfolio, that tradition remains intact, as evidenced by the new 2014 SRT Viper TA.
Unlike the old Challenger T/As, the Viper’s suffix does not refer to the Trans-Am racing series. SRT says the new suffix is now shorthand for "Time Attack," or the art of setting the best lap time around a given course. The nomenclature is fitting, given Dodge/SRT sent the last Viper ACR out on a tour of famed road courses – including Laguna Seca and the hallowed Nurburgring -- to set new lap records.
Speaking of the ACR, think of the TA as the ACR of the new fifth-generation Viper: a honed, hardcore package that ditches creature comoforts and civilities in pursuit of track performance. Leather? Gone. An audio system? Eliminated. All those fanciful options available on the SRT Viper and Viper GTS? They’re literally unobtanium on the Viper TA. Buyers will literally have the chance to pick between three colors: white, black, and a new Crusher Orange hue, which is limited to a scant 33 examples.
So, what does the TA add? Many options from other Vipers now come standard: the $4800 Carbon Fiber Aero package consists of a two-way front splitter, and a rear wing that adds 300 pounds of downforce at 150 mph. The brakes now have larger Brembo front rotors that measure 5 mm larger and add about two pounds apiece. That weight gain is counteracted by a carbon fiber, instead of aluminum, engine X-brace, saving about two pounds. Using stickers in place of the car's exterior badges maybe saves another half pound.
The Viper TA also gets bespoke suspension spring rates and anti-roll bar tuning. The adjustable suspension reservoirs are carried over from the Viper GTS, but their two track modes are now "smooth" and "rough." And the car rides on the same Pirelli P Zero Corsa performance tires as a GTS model. Other additions include lighter, matte-painted wheels; and a $5100 Exterior Carbon Fiber package that includes a cool carbon panel between the taillights.
How successful are the changes? We're told the Viper TA set a new lap record at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca, turning a 1:33.62 lap at the hands of Motor Trend's resident driver Randy Pobst.
Although pricing has yet to be finalized, SRT expects the 2014 Viper TA to ring in at about $116,000, and the TA should arrive at dealerships in the third quarter of 2013. We’ve heard some scuttlebutt that SRT officials are fearful that customers with outstanding reservations for 2013 Viper coupes will simply cancel their order and place an order for the new Viper TA, despite the fact that its no-punches-pulled attitude is less than ideal for regular street use. Perhaps, but knowing how well-heeled many die-hard Viper enthusiasts are, we wouldn’t be surprised if they keep the MY13 car and simply order up a new 2014 Viper TA as well.
Only the orange car pictured at top is the 2014 Viper TA; all other photos are of the base and GTS versions of the 2013 SRT Viper.