The extra traction was welcome as we ripped the ACR-X around the racetrack, where the car was able to carve through the high-speed sections without even a wiggle. Of course, the aforementioned Michelin racing slicks are what helped most. After a lap of building heat, the tires stuck to the track's surface as if we were driving on tar. But by far the most noticeable difference was in braking performance. In the Viper SRT10 and ACR, threshold braking causes the rear end to lift and dance and want to come around, so straight-line braking is a necessity. An amateur attempt to trail-brake will have you looking the wrong way in a hurry. But it's a double-edged sword; with that much engine power under your right foot, an all-too-eager ease on the gas pedal coming out of a turn will do the same thing. This isn't so on the ACR-X, where the tires keep the car planted firmly to the tarmac and where oversteer is easily manageable. Never before have we mentioned the words "nimble" and "Viper" in the same sentence, but in describing the ACR-X we break with that tradition.
Of course, the reason behind the ACR-X's newfound nimbleness is the amount of mass it carries - or, more accurately, doesn't carry. The weight loss between the ACR and ACR-X is enough to make The Biggest Loser proud: 160 pounds. That means that the curb weight is down to 3190 pounds, or only about 200 pounds heavier than a Volkswagen GTI. The interior has been stripped; there are no interior door panels, air bags, or sound deadening, leaving only the bare essentials.
Twenty-five ACR-Xs have already been built and sold to customers. If there is continued interest, Dodge has the capability to produce 25 more. If you'd like to snag one, you'll have to shell out about $110,000. The ACR-X will make its on-track debut in the Dodge Viper Cup spec-racing series at Virginia International Raceway in July 2010. Stay tuned.