In a surprise move tacked on to the end of a New York Auto Show press conference, Chrysler’s Street Racing Team announced it will return to the American Le Mans racing series with this, an all-new SRT Viper GTS-R. Look alive, Corvette C6.R; you’ve been warned.
What we know so far about the racing SRT Viper is that it’s (again) called the GTS-R, it’s obviously not street legal, and it will be designed and built through a joint venture of Chrysler’s SRT division and Riley Technologies of Mooresville, North Carolina. The race car will throw out the street car’s Pirelli tires and replace them with Michelin GT-model rubber (as required by the series), and two examples should begin competing in ALMS events later this year.
The Vipers will compete in the GT class and, will be campaigned by German Dominik Farnbacher, Belgian Marc Goossens, American Ryan Hunter-Reay, and Canadian Kuno Wittmer. If Farnbacher sounds vaguely familiar, it’s because he was the driver of the 2010 Dodge Viper ACR when it earned the title of fastest production car around the Nurburgring Nordschleife last year.
The drivers all have serious experience: Farnbacher is a four-time American Le Mans Series GT-class winner, while Goossens has campaigned the infamous 24 Hours of Le Mans eleven times. Hunter-Reay was IndyCar’s Rookie of the Year in 2007, and Wittmer has won six races in the SCCA World Challenge GT class. The SRT Viper GTS-R, then, shouldn’t have any trouble from behind the wheel.
The all-new SRT Viper GTS-R has some big shoes to fill. The Viper’s last foray into American Le Mans Series racing was in 1999 and 2000, when the car took back-to-back GTS class and driver’s titles. Around the same time the Viper placed first and second in its class in 1998, 1999, and 2000 at the 24 Hours of Le Mans endurance race. Viper fans can only hope that the new SRT race car can do the same.
For more on the 2013 SRT Viper, check out our First Look here. For more on the 2012 New York International Auto Show, including videos, the latest photos, and more information, click here to visit our New York Show homepage.