Back in August of 2008, a production 2009 Dodge Viper made its way to Germany’s Nürburgring Nordschleife course in a test conducted by Chrysler and Motor Trend magazine. Driven by Dutch racing driver Tom Coronel, it set a new lap record for production cars for the 20,600 meter course of 7 minutes, 22.1 seconds.
Since that time, the record has been eclipsed by a Porsche 911 GT2 RS (in April 2010), Chevrolet Corvette C6 ZR1 (in June of 2011) and a Lexus LFA equipped with the Nürburgring Package (in August of 2011).
Back to the future
Convinced that, in the words of Ralph Gilles, President and CEO – SRT Brand and Motorsports, Chrysler Group LLC that they’d “left some time on the track” during the first record attempt, the team returned to Germany two weeks ago.
This time, however, there was a slight problem – 2010 Viper production ceased in July of this year and no 2011 model-year Dodge Viper cars are being produced.
The problem was solved when SRT enlisted the help of the Viper Club of American and the ViperExchange by Tomball Dodge team from Tomball, Texas which was able to supply two brand-new 2010 Viper ACR’s “off their showroom floor” to help with the latest record attempt (why don’t we know new car dealers like this?).
ViperExchange team owner Ben Keating also played a key role in the record attempt by successfully enlisting the services of German GT driver Dominik Farnbacher, whom he had previously teamed up with in the 2011 24 Hours of Daytona
As a result of the 2008 trip to the ‘ring, the SRT engineering team made a number of improvements designed to wring even more performance out Dodge’s snake. This meant that the 2010 iteration received a shorter fifth gear ratio (from 0.74 to 0.80) resulting in both improved acceleration and higher straightaway speeds.
Changing the profile of the massive rear wing and end plates resulted in additional yaw downforce for increased speeds through high-speed turns, while a shorter-throw shifter allowed quicker shifts and more driver control.
‘Ring testing and final results
High-speed testing commenced on September 12th, but was hampered by a wet track at the beginning and damp areas at the Bergwerk corner and Fuchsröhre and Wippermann areas even after the remainder of the track had dried out – resulting in a best time of 7 minutes, 15.6 seconds.