Dodge is making a factory return to the American Le Mans Series with its 2012 SRT Viper GTS-R, announced Wednesday morning at the New York Auto Show alongside its road-going 2013 SRT Viper. The Viper should debut later in the 2012 season.
The original Viper GTS-R ran under semi-works status with Hughes de Chaunac's ORECA squad in the earliest days of the ALMS, winning the 1999 and 2000 GTS class championships, and later as customer teams.
SRT Motorsports partnered with Riley Technologies, based in Mooresville, N.C., on the design-and-build process of the new SRT Viper GTS-R. SRT Viper Racing has three drivers signed: Kuno Wittmer, Dominik Farnbacher and Marc Goossens. Farnbacher, a four-time winner in the Series, and Goossens are familiar faces to ALMS fans. SRT Viper Racing's debut also will mark Wittmer's first ALMS race.
While the road-going version will run on Pirellis, the racing counterpart will run on Michelin tires. The Viper joins Corvette, Flying Lizard Porsche and Extreme Speed Ferrari as Michelin technical partner teams.
“Racing has been a significant part of the illustrious history of Viper not only with significant wins on the track, but also in the continued development of the street cars,” said Ralph Gilles, president and CEO, Street and Racing Technology Brand and Motorsports, Chrysler Group LLC. “Now with our new team and the launch of the GTS-R, we're excited and proud to begin writing more chapters in the racing history of the Viper later this summer.”
“I don't think it's possible to overstate the significance of the SRT Viper returning to the top level of professional sports car racing,” said Scott Atherton, ALMS president and CEO. “The Chrysler Group has a long, storied and very successful history of competing with the American Le Mans Series.
“We would be hard-pressed to come up with a better scenario than having the brand return with the simultaneous introduction of both the new production car and the competition version. What a great way for SRT Viper to come back to racing.”
The car will also debut in the Forza Motorsport 4 video game platform, Gilles announced.