Just Car Blog
|Head 2 Head: 2013 SRT Viper vs 2014 Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG Black Series||
Leave it to the guys at Motor Trend to bring two brute forces to the same spot for new comparison. IN the latest Head 2 Head Motor Trend compare, Jonny Lieberman contrasts the new SRT Viper against the Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG Black Series.
These big number exotics seem to be a good match but which one comes out on top in certain aspects. Hit up the Head 2 Head video below to find out. Enjoy!
|SRT Viper TA (Time Attack) Is Ralph Gilles’ Answer to the ZR1: Video||
With every new automotive product comes the fine-tuned scrutiny of publications when they put them to the test. Case in point, Motor Trend recently put the new SRT Viper through its paces and pitted it against the current Corvette ZR1. They took it to the infamous Mazda Laguna Seca Raceway where the ZR1 came away with the over-all win at helm of the ever-so-consistent driver Randy Pobst.
The results, despite Randy Pobst hinting at his “…hard time with cars that don’t handle well,” ended up in a preverbal up-setter on the SRT side with SRT CEO Ralph Gilles in an upset state of mind. As an answer by Gilles and his team, SRT shot back in the end with an updated Viper dubbed the Viper TA, TA standing for Time Attack. The SRT Viper TA looks to be a track-focused version standard with the Carbon Fiber Aero Package (adds a functional two-way front splitter and rear wing adding 300 pounds of downforce at 150mph, re-worked suspension (different spring rates), the Track Package taken a step further (lighter brakes about twice as thick, lighter matte wheels, Pirelli P Zero Corsa performance tires) and it even gets emblem stickers to save weight. Over-all, the Viper TA is said to be about 11 pounds lighter than the base SRT Viper.
To conclude, the Viper TA put the smack-down on the track as Randy Pobst took the wheel setting a production car record around the Laguna Seca Raceway, beating the Corvette ZR1’s time by just .08 seconds.
Hit up the Motor Trend video below for the full recap and test run of the SRT Viper TA, which there will be only 33 fine examples produced and sold in 2013 at a price of about $116,000.
For your road-driving & road-racing pleasure: 2014 SRT Viper TA
Very few cars can be driven to your favorite road race course and on it without missing a beat – and the 2014 SRT Viper TA will be one of those rare gems.
With production of the 33 Crusher Orange SRT Viper TAs slated for third quarter, the Time Attack package is engineered for the performance enthusiast driver who wants to drive to *and* race on one of the more than 150 road-race courses across North America.
A blend of the Viper GTS and SRT models, the Detroit-made SRT Viper TA’s public debut will be March 27 at the 2013 New York International Auto Show. Here are a few details that make the Viper TA so special:
> Suspension is uniquely tuned and upgraded specifically for on-track usage and to maximize the performance of the Pirelli P Zero Corsa tires, which are mounted on ultra-lightweight, multi-spoke Sidewinder II wheels.
> A two-mode Bilstein Damptronic suspension system features firmer levels of damping and a smaller spread between modes than what is found on the current Viper GTS models.
> Shock dampers, springs and road racing derived stabilizer bars have been retuned for optimal on-track performance.
> Standard aluminum structural X-brace is replaced with a lighter carbon fiber brace that effectively ties the four corners of the engine compartment together and contributes to the 5% increase in torsional rigidity and stiffness across the Viper lineup.
> Advanced exterior aerodynamics package includes carbon fiber front splitters and rear spoiler, while a carbon fiber rear applique accentuates the rear width proportions and adds another level of detail.
> 2014 SRT Viper TA’s handcrafted, all-aluminum 8.4-liter, mid-front V-10 overhead-valve engine offers 640 horsepower and 600 lb.-ft. of torque, giving it the most torque of any naturally aspirated sports-car engine in the world.
2014 SRT Viper TA – Ready to Attack Any Road Course
Viper TA (Time Attack) spec-package designed for extreme performance in a special road course focused handling package
Only 33 units in special “Crusher Orange” exterior paint color will be available beginning third quarter 2013
March 18, 2013 , Auburn Hills, Mich. – Configured in-house by the Chrysler Group’s SRT (Street and Racing Technology) team in collaboration with professional road racers, the exclusive, street-legal and single-spec 2014 SRT Viper TA (Time Attack) package is specifically built for the performance enthusiast driver who likes to exercise their machines at the more than 150 road-race courses around North America.
Less than one year since the long-awaited world debut of the new 2013 SRT Viper at the New York International Auto Show, the 2014 SRT Viper TA is set to make its public debut on March 27, 2013 on the same show floor at the Jacob Javits Center in New York City.
Based on the SRT Viper model – the lightest vehicle in the lineup, the 2014 SRT Viper TA package builds upon the legendary on-track capability of the American hand-built supercar using a majority of pre-developed components straight from the SRT stable, that are combined into a carefully balanced package that extract the most out of the Viper ultralow center of gravity, 50/50 weight distribution and largest contact patch in the production car world.
“The new 2014 SRT Viper TA is being engineering for the dedicated track enthusiast, who still wants to drive to the track and take their hobby to the next level” said Ralph Gilles, President and CEO – SRT Brand and Motorsports, Chrysler Group LLC. “We’re re-launching some of the fastest production-built cars that people can buy straight from the factory. Our engineers revised the suspension settings to refocus the Viper specifically for track duty, using a blend of components from the GTS and the SRT models, add in the extensively developed aero package and the new Time Attack package is born. We’re not only saluting the existing capabilities of our current models, we’re also targeting another niche in our customer base with a tremendously capable track machine.”
The suspension on the 2014 SRT Viper TA is uniquely tuned and upgraded specifically for on-track usage and to maximize the performance of the Pirelli P Zero Corsa tires which are mounted on ultra-lightweight, multi-spoke Sidewinder II wheels. A two-mode Bilstein Damptronic suspension system features firmer levels of damping and a smaller spread between modes than what is found on the current Viper GTS models.
Shock dampers, springs and road racing derived stabilizer bars have been retuned for optimal on-track performance. The standard aluminum structural X-brace is replaced with a lighter carbon fiber brace that effectively ties the four corners of the engine compartment together and contributes to the 50-percent increase in torsional rigidity and stiffness across the Viper lineup.
Based on the outstanding performance of the world-class brake system on the 2013 SRT Viper, SRT engineers are working in parallel with Brembo on a system that increases thermal capacity and optimizes heat dissipation providing improved extreme use. The brake calipers on the 2014 SRT Viper TA feature a black anodized finish with the Viper logo shown in Crusher Orange.
The unmistakable exterior of the SRT Viper TA features exclusive Crusher Orange paint with black 2D TA logos behind both front wheels, black Stryker logo on the front fascia and matte black, ultra-lightweight Sidewinder II wheels.
An advanced exterior aerodynamics package includes carbon fiber front splitters and rear spoiler, while a carbon fiber rear applique accentuates the rear width proportions and adds another level of detail.
Under the hood of the 2014 SRT Viper TA is the handcrafted, all-aluminum 8.4-liter, mid-front
V-10 overhead-valve engine. Performance ratings are 640 horsepower and 600 lb.-ft. of torque – the most torque of any naturally aspirated sports-car engine in the world.
Inside, the performance driver-oriented cabin of the 2014 SRT Viper TA uses the same standard premium ballistic fabric racing seats from Sabelt, featuring a lightweight fiberglass shell created by a state-of-the-art resin transfer molding technology for mass reduction and long-term durability. Both driver and passenger seats can also accommodate a 3- or 6-point harness for racing belts.
The standard black interior combination includes unique Crusher Orange accent stitching on the cloth seats, instrument panel (through the cowl), center stack, console, pull brake, shifter boot, shifter head, steering wheel and upper doors.
Curb weight is an estimated 3,348 pounds.
Only 33 units of the 2014 SRT Viper TA in Crusher Orange will be built at the Conner Avenue Assembly Plant in Detroit, beginning in third quarter 2013.
The Chrysler Group’s SRT (Street and Racing Technology) brand uses a successful product development formula featuring five proven hallmarks: awe-inspiring powertrains; outstanding ride, handling and capability; benchmark braking; aggressive and functional exteriors and race-inspired and high-performance interiors to remain true to its performance roots.
The SRT lineup in the 2013 model year features five vehicles that are world-class performance contenders and bring the latest in safety technologies and creature comforts. The Chrysler 300 SRT8, Dodge Challenger SRT8 392, Dodge Charger SRT8 and Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT8 are joined by the SRT flagship Viper and Viper GTS models, which are making their highly anticipated return to the high-performance sports car market.
|First SRT Viper Production Run Ends||
If you’d hoped to get your hands on one of the first new SRT Vipers built, we’ve got bad news for you: the full production run of 800 units sold out quickly, and those lucky (and fast) enough to get orders in will be seeing delivery in the very near future. First batch production of the new Viper has officially ended.
In an interview with Wards Auto, SRT boss Ralph Gilles said that some 80-percent of the first batch models were the range-topping Viper GTS variant, while just 20-percent were the more affordable base model. Affordable is a relative term here, since even the base model has a starting point north of $99,000. Opt for the Viper GTS, and the price of admission begins at over $122,000.
While that may seem ambitious for a domestic sports car, Gilles is quick to point out that the car’s handling and top speed over 200 mph make the $99k price of admission a relative bargain. Detractors would be quick to point out that similar money could likely buy you a ZR1 Corvette, which also boasts a 200 mph top speed off the showroom floor.
Oddly enough, Gilles doesn’t see the new Corvette (which has yet to be priced) as competition for the Viper. The Corvette is a volume car, while the Viper is a halo car that will never see more than 2,000 units produced per year.
As for the issue of when (or if) a Viper convertible will launch, Gilles was non-committal, saying only that he hoped to see it in the next few years. The Viper’s current body structure is rigid enough that cutting off the top won’t require additional bracing. While it’s likely that a Viper convertible (which is how the product line began) is in the works, we’d stop short of calling it a certainty given the financial woes of SRT’s parent, Fiat.
|Jay Leno Welcomes Ralph Gilles Bringing along a few New SRT Vipers to his Garage: Video||
Lately Jay Leno has welcomed some of the most sought after vehicles into his garage and taking each one for a nice ‘spin’. The latest vehicle to grace his infamous garage is the all-new SRT Viper along with VP of design and CEO of SRT at Chrysler, Ralph Gilles.
Touted as a true car guy heading up design and the SRT brand, Ralph Gilles has a long car-centric resume but a down-to-earth perspective that just about any level-headed car enthusiast would appreciate. Ralph Gilles has set out on a 5,000-mile cross-country journey in the new SRT Viper and stops to see Jay along the way. Gilles and Leno hit it off once again to go over the new SRT Viper and later take it for an exclusive test drive to see what she can really do on the local streets and later on the track at Willow Springs. Hit up the full 2013 SRT Viper GTS review on the latest Jay Leno’s Garage episode.
|Chrysler’s Conner Avenue Assembly Plant – Where the Viper Gets Its Vroom: Images & Video||
Just as the first production SRT Viper rolls off of the assembly line, The New York Times Magazine gets a first-hand view of Chrysler’s Conner Avenue Assembly Plant in Detroit – ‘Where the Viper Gets Its Vroom’.
The Conner Avenue Plant is said to produce 12 cars a day all from a staff of 150 employees. Shared with us today are exclusive photos and a production video of the first few SRT Vipers rolling off of the new line headed to their lucky owners.
Despite its status as the Motor City, Detroit has only two automobile plants entirely within the city limits. One is Chrysler’s Conner Avenue Assembly Plant, which reopened in December after being closed for more than three years during the automaker’s bankruptcy. Later this month, the factory’s first Viper — considered a “halo” vehicle, built to enhance a company’s image rather than drive sales — will roll off the line. A worker at Conner, Mike Chapman, says that “you’re more like a craft person than a line worker” there, while at other plants “you’re pretty much like a robot.” Elsewhere, workers spend less than a minute on each car; at Conner, they spend a half-hour on each car. And with almost no automation in place, the loudest sounds are the roars of a Viper’s engine. – Sonari Glinton
[source: The New York Times Magazine]
|SRT Delivers The First Production Viper: Video||
On June 23 of last year, Oklahoma tooling company owner Scott Thomas paid $300,000 for a new SRT Viper. It wasn’t just any Viper, however, it was serial number 001, and the proceeds went to benefit the Austin Hatcher Foundation, a charity that helps fund research into curing pediatric cancers. In other words, it was an historically significant car, with the money spent going to a worthy charity.
Thomas’ Viper was delivered in a recent ceremony at the Conner Avenue Assembly Plant, where all new Vipers will be put together. Ralph Gilles, president of SRT, gives the key to Thomas after saying a few words; in a moment of comic relief, Gilles accidentally hands off the keys to his own car, a Chrysler 300 SRT8, by mistake.
Even Fiat and Chrysler chairman Sergio Marchionne gets in on the action, boldly stating that “Viper defines Chrysler.” The most touching moment in the video, however, is when Gilles dedicates the Trim and Chassis Final Line to Dan Knott, a senior vice president at Chrysler who once served as director of the SRT division. Knott died of cancer last April, but his words regarding the approval of the new Viper are now immortalized on the sign honoring him.
“Today,” Knott wrote in a message to Gilles, “we are a real car company again.”
|It’s Not Just a Brand – SRT Family Ties Promo Video Shows-Off Their Five SRT Vehicles||
The SRT group of vehicles has literally made a name and definitive brand for themselves. As Chrysler’s Street and Racing Technology group, SRT prides themselves in producing the highest output street vehicles for the Chrysler corporation (Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT8, Dodge Charger SRT8, Dodge Challenger SRT8, Chrysler 300 SRT8, SRT Viper). A new promo video titled “SRT Family Ties”, is a coalescence of all 5 new SRT branded vehicles expressing their heart-felt enthusiastic passion for the performance automotive world. To conclude the true SRT-expression, the video features the latest and greatest product to wear the SRT badge, the all-new SRT Viper. Enjoy the video!
|To Limit Viper Dealers, Chrysler Charging $25,000 Fee To Sell The Car||
In the old days of the Viper, any Dodge-franchised dealer could step up and order inventory. As a result, the Viper buying, delivery and service process wasn’t always ideal, potentially souring some shoppers on the new generation of Viper. To combat this, SRT boss Ralph Gilles has made efforts to limit new Viper access to Chrysler dealers willing to go above and beyond to sell the car.
That now includes a $25,000 one-time fee, which covers the cost of showroom signage, dealership training, a technician training program specific to the Viper and specialized tools needed for Viper repair. If a Chrysler dealership wants to sell SRT vehicles but can’t afford the $25,000 cost associated with the Viper, a modest $5,000 fee will get them the tools, signage and training necessary to sell other SRT vehicles, such as SRT8 variants of the the Chrysler 300, the Dodge Charger and Challenger and the Jeep Grand Cherokee.
As Automotive News (subscription required) reports, the fee also gets the dealership preferential ordering and additional allocation of SRT8 models. There’s more to the program than simply paying a fee, as dealerships must also meet certain standards for customer satisfaction.
As Gilles explains, “The SRT cars are starting to pull in a very, very interesting demographic – much higher income, much higher education levels. The customer is becoming more sophisticated.”
In other words, Chrysler knows it has one shot at getting the SRT experience right, and it’s going to make sure its dealerships are up to the challenge. That sounds like a good idea to us.
|Road & Track Shares the Sounds of New 2013 SRT Viper: Video||
The new 2013 SRT Viper is still being tweaked and made ready for those who are fortunate enough to be in line to take ownership of the newest V10 Snake. After several years of anticipation and speculation, the SRT Viper is well on its way to put smiles on the faces of new owners and avid enthusiasts. Road & Track was one of the first publications to strap into the driver’s seat of the new SRT Viper and they have shared the astonishing sounds that this V10 beast makes in a short test-drive clip. Although the sound isn’t as monstrous as you would expect, make no mistake, the SRT Viper is still the mean American snake that “endured” from its start in 1992 and molded into the one of the best yet with the all-new 2013 SRT Viper. Enjoy!
|2013 SRT Viper GTS-R Finds Its Groove & Return to ALMS at Mid-Ohio||
The 2012 American Le Mans Series race at Mid-Ohio jump starts with the all-new SRT Viper GTS-R literally finding its groove with a top 10 finish.
SRT brand CEO and President, Ralph Gilles, was on hand with the SRT team at the Mid-Ohio ALMS race to support Kuno Wittmer and Dominik Farnbacher piloting the number 91 Forza Motorsports Viper GTS-R to finish 10th place. A second Viper GTS-R, sponsored by Pennzoil Ultra, placed 12th. Both cars ‘performed flawlessly’ as Wittmer put it in the exclusive video below.
Gary Johnson, SRT Motorsports Road Racing Manager said, “Our first goal was to get through the race without any major problems. We accomplished that. In fact, we were making progress throughout the race. The cars were getting better. Today’s race gives us an opportunity to know where the issues are and where we need to focus.”
Racing fans will take pleasure in the Viper returning to ALMS and plainly feeling at home amongst other high-performance race-breed vehicles. SRT Motorsports and Team Viper will now prepare for the upcoming 4 hour Road America race in Wisconsin on August 19th. We all look forward to hearing that distinctive 8.4-liter V10 engine slithering around the track in ALMS races to come.
|Aiming At A New Breed Of Customer, Chrysler Limits Viper Distribution||
When the Viper was sold through Dodge dealers, there wasn’t always a lot of rhyme or reason as to which outlets handled the range-topping halo car, especially in its early days. It wasn’t uncommon to find a Viper parked in between a Neon and a Caravan in Dodge dealers, which didn’t always fill buyers with confidence that the shop knew performance cars, too.
Now that the Viper has been redone for 2013 and lies under the SRT umbrella, group head Ralph Gilles wants to limit the number of dealerships selling the high performance coupe (and later, convertible). As Automotive News (subscription required) explains, dealerships will need to meet certain criteria tied to training, facilities and SRT sales history before SRT will green-light them for Viper sales.
Per Gilles, that will amount to roughly 15 to 20-percent of Chrysler Group dealers nationwide; in terms of numbers, that means that no more than 480 dealerships in the United States will handle the car. Given that Viper production will be limited, such a strategy makes sense; it’s better to give shops with Viper history access to four or five cars to sell, as opposed to trying to get each of the 2,400 Chrysler-affiliated dealers to sell a single unit.
That said, Gilles admits that SRT can’t legally block dealers with prior Viper sales history from ordering and delivering cars, but the automaker can make it difficult for non-complying dealerships to get inventory. His strategy isn’t to punish under-performing dealerships, but rather to target what Gilles calls a “new breed of customer” with a more rewarding purchase and ownership experience.
SRT hasn’t said how many Vipers it will build, or what the car will sticker at, but there are some logical assumptions we can make. No more than 2,103 Vipers have ever been sold in a single year, so don’t expect SRT to build more than 2,100 units of the new version per year. The last Viper Coupe started at just under $100,000, so it’s logical to expect the new Viper Coupe to break the six-figure barrier in base trim. We’ll know more in a few months, as the SRT Viper is scheduled to drop by year-end.
|New 2013 SRT Viper GTS In Jay Leno’s Garage: Video||
Just about every popular sports car gets to grace Jay Leno’s garage with its presence. Even though some of these hot cars only get to visit for a day, Jay tends to share his unique experience with the lovely public in exclusive Jay Leno’s Garage episodes.
The latest Jay Leno’s Garage video features the all-new 2013 SRT Viper GTS, as Jay does a comparison to previous generations of the lethal Snake. Jay gets to chat things up with Head of Design, Mark Trostle and Beth Paretta, Director of Marketing and Operations for SRT, about the new Viper inside and out. Hit up the video below and enjoy!
|First 2013 SRT Viper Sells For $300,000||
At this weekend’s Barrett Jackson auction in Orange County, California, the very first production 2013 SRT Viper was sold to raise money for the Austin Hatcher Foundation, which helps children with pediatric cancers. Bidding seemed to stall at the $250,000 mark, until an SRT Track Experience (which comes with all new SRT vehicles, anyway) and a VIP trip to the Petit LeMans were added to the deal.
The final hammer price was $300,000, all of which was donated to the Austin Hatcher Foundation. In return, the new buyer is the first on his block to put a 2013 SRT Viper in his garage, and gets the honor (and collectibility) of owning serial number 001.
As with most charity auctions for new vehicles, we doubt the car crossing the block was the actual car to be delivered. Buyers lucky enough to get a first production model generally get to choose whatever options and colors they like, although we’d be just fine with a new Viper in any color, thanks.
While $300,000 is a nice donation to the Austin Hatcher Foundation, the selling price pales in comparison to the winning bid for the very first Corvette ZR1: back in 2008, that car sold for a cool $1,000,000, with proceeds going to benefit the United Way.
|Rebuilding an Icon: 2013 SRT Viper Design & Development Promo Videos||
Just after the one of the biggest announcements at this year’s New York Auto Show, SRT released several promotional videos of the design & development that went into the rebuild of an icon – the 2013 SRT Viper.
One of the highlights of the new 2013 SRT Viper’s features is its advanced 4-stage stability management system. In a way it will “save your ass when you’re really in trouble.”
Having such an advanced stability control system is not only to appease the government, but to satisfy the enthusiast who thinks he/she can handle a 640 horsepower and 600 ft-lbs of torque V10 powered snake.
Hit up the videos below to get an in-depth overview of the tech bits that make the new 2013 SRT Viper such a remarkable American sports car.
|SRT Talks Up The New Viper’s Interior: Video||
When you think of companies that build truly exceptional interiors into their sports cars, who comes to mind? Chances are good that Audi and Ferrari are at the top of the list, Porsche is likely in the middle, and Chevrolet is at the bottom with the Corvette. Just above that is likely the original Dodge Viper, since the kindest thing we could say about its interior is that “Chrysler needed to save money by using common parts.”
The original Viper wasn’t a luxury car and it wasn’t a grand tourer. If you wanted to go really fast on a reasonable budget and knew a thing or two about car control, the Viper was a solid choice for track days, club racing or time attack events. It was never a great choice for a street car, since driving any model of Viper required your full and constant attention. Perhaps it was a good thing, then, that the seats weren’t comfortable for long hours behind the wheel.
That changes with the 2013 Viper, and the video below gives a good overview of the design process on the new car’s interior. Gone are the cheap, uncomfortable seats and “pulled from a Ram pickup” interior bits. Hard, squeaky plastic is replaced by leather and (presumably) vinyl-wrapped trim, accented by contrasting stitching. The new Viper looks like a more expensive car inside, partly because many high-end sports and luxury car interiors were studied during the Viper’s design process.
Despite its shortcomings, we were fans of the old Viper. It did what you asked it to, and it was comfortable enough for its intended purpose. We expect that the new Viper will be improved in every way, and we can’t wait to get behind the wheel of one.