The Dodge Viper ACR 13 Track Records Are More Impressive than Anyone Realizes
Dodge Viper ACR—> could be the biggest surprise of Dodge?
Dodge/SRT surprised everyone this past November when it announced that it had secretly been breaking production-car track records all over the U.S. with the 2016 Viper ACR. In just one year, the ACR set records at 13 different road courses, the most of any production vehicle.
Of all these records, one in particular stood out: At Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca, the Viper just plain obliterated the previous record held by the Porsche 918 Spyder, a car seven times the Viper’s price with an advanced hybrid powertrain considered to be a triumph of Porsche engineering. Fiat Chrysler relished this fact in its press release.
Now, an interesting twist. Last week, while attending an SRT class at Bondurant and talking all things Viper with the car’s engineering team, I learned something that Dodge hasn’t shared. Apparently the team made sure it ran back-to-back record-breaking laps for each of the 13 courses. And according to SRT vehicle dynamics manager Chris Winkler, who drove the car for all but two of the record-setting runs (Randy Pobst piloted the car at MRLS), the first and second runs were within tenths and even hundredths of a second of each other.
To clarify, Winkler is basically saying that in case any other manufacturer comes along and beats the ACR’s record with a hybrid hypercar (cough Porsche cough), Dodge/SRT has this retort:Oh, yeah? Do it twice in a row. Also worth noting here is that the McLaren P1, which held the runner-up spot at Laguna until the Dodge Viper ACR came along and knocked it back to third, is also a hybrid.
It’s probably safe to assume that Porsche was less than pleased when the company heard that the 918 had been so thoroughly trounced—especially by the brutish and unapologetically American Viper—but it might take particular umbrage to the dig that the 918 is really only capable of that time for one lap. The Viper, on the other hand, can ostensibly run those times whether it’s on the first lap or fifth lap.
Of course, this doesn’t make the 918, P1, or any other production exotic hybrid less impressive. They are incredible cars and technical achievements. However, the fact that the Viper not only beat these cars with good ol’ fashion displacement and downforce but can also achieve virtually the same lap two (or more) times in a row really is extraordinary.
The ability to run such times consecutively also highlights a fundamental difference between the Dodge Viper ACR and the current offering of hypercars: While other companies made their cars to perform on the track—and they most definitely do—SRT made the ACR to live on the track. To wit: According to Jeff Reece,the Viper’s vehicle development manager, each SRT vehicles goes through a rigorous 24-hour durability track test, “which covers a lifetime of track days for most customers.”
Whether an ACR or regular Viper owner decides to actually track their cars is up to them, but Dodge/SRT intends for the car to regularly go racing and builds them explicitly for that purpose. It’s just another example of what makes the Viper so special and why we’ll miss it so much.
Dodge Viper ACR Video