In August 1995, Dodge unveiled an extraordinary racing coupe that would ultimately make an historic mark on the world's motorsports stage.
The Dodge Viper GTS-R was the answer to enthusiasts and competitors who asked if a racing version of the amazing Viper RT/10 was in the works.
In a repeat of history, Dodge has delivered the next chapter in the Dodge Viper racing legacy … the new Viper Competition Coupe.
'We knew when we introduced the Dodge Viper GTS-R race car that it was ambitious, yet extremely logical,' said John Fernandez, Director, Dodge Motorsports Operations. 'We set out to develop a history and tradition for the ultimate American sports car - and the Dodge performance icon - that would cast a halo over every racing endeavor, and every car and truck we built.
'The Dodge Viper has exceeded our highest goals for what an American sports car should be. And now, as loyal Dodge owners receive their versions of the third chapter in the car's history - the 2003 Dodge Viper SRT-10 - we can't lose sight of the heritage that Viper has built. And with that, we've developed a new generation of the Dodge Viper racing car - the Viper Competition Coupe.'
With a coupe-shaped carbon/Kevlar body based largely on the Dodge Viper GTS/R concept car shown at the 2000 North American International Auto Show, and a track-ready chassis based on the new 2003 Dodge Viper SRT-10 convertible, the Viper Competition Coupe should emerge as a serious competitor from the first lap.
Every effort has been made to produce an affordable yet competitive GT-class race car, and Dodge executives expect high demand from its competition-oriented Dodge Viper owner base.
'The idea for a next-generation racing version came from the Viper owner body,' Fernandez §äid. 'A large proportion of owners enjoy racing their cars in organized competition. At the same time, DaimlerChrysler received inquiries from major motorsports sanctioning bodies looking for Dodge Viper participation. With that input, we knew there was a real demand for a factory race car. And based on our customers' reactions, we were right on.'
Dodge expects to build about 60 cars in the first year, but have the ability to expand production as demand grows. Plans include technical support for competitors at all major events.
The Viper Competition Coupe makes extensive use of production pieces to keep the estimated retail price slightly more than $100,000. With 520 horsepower and 540 lb.-ft. of torque on tap, the Viper Competition Coupe will deliver racers an extremely high level of performance for the price.
A full complement of racing enhancements, including cage, window net, fire-suppression system, six-point restraints, racing slicks, differential cooler and ducted brakes ensure that the Dodge Viper Competition Coupe is track-ready as delivered. The Viper Competition Coupe cannot be titled for highway use.
The Viper Competition Coupe's sleek concept car shape retains the 2003 Viper SRT-10 convertible's windshield, and as a result, affords the driver two inches of additional headroom as compared to the GTS/R concept car.
Among those events in which the Dodge Viper Competition Coupe is eligible to compete are:
Skip Thomas Viper Racing League - The Viper Competition Coupe will have its own class and be the primary wheel-to-wheel event at the Viper Days weekends
Grand American Cup- The Viper Competition Coupe will be eligible to compete (when homologated) in the Grand Sports Class with the Chevrolet Corvette and Porsche 911
Speedvision World Challenge - The Viper Competition Coupe will be eligible to compete (when homologated) in these American Le Mans Series support races
The Competition Coupe's predecessor - called the Dodge Viper GTS-R and based on the 1996 Dodge Viper GTS Coupe - passes on one of the most distinguished pedigrees in the modern history of endurance racing. The Viper GTS-R earned five international GT championships including the 1999 and 2000 American Le Mans Series GTS class titles and the 1997-1999 FIA GT Championships. The Viper finished 1-2 in the GTS class in three consecutive years -1998-2000 - and notched an amazing overall win at the 2000 Rolex 24 Hours of Daytona, the first for an American production-based car.
The Dodge Viper race car began life in the GT1 class in 1996. The escalating costs persuaded the manufacturer to switch to the GT2 class for the 1997 season. The Viper's production volumes (approximately 2,000 annually) qualified it for the category and it embarked on a racing program that was to earn it a reputation as the most successful American production-based racing car of all time.
As Dodge began to focus more of its engineering resources on development of the next Viper - the 2003 Viper SRT-10 - it was announced in December 2000 that Dodge would take a hiatus from its factory support for Viper endurance racing.
There are no plans at this time to homologate the Dodge Viper Competition Coupe for American Le Mans Series or 24 Hours of Le Mans racing.Source - Dodge