If you were confused when we chose the 2013 SRT Viper GTS-R ALMS race car as the second-best debut (behind the 2013 SRT Viper production car itself) at the 2012 New York Auto Show, then maybe you're not familiar with the Viper's racing pedigree. Fortunately, the American Le Mans Series has produced this excellent mini documentary that helps explain why the Viper's return to racing is a very big deal.

While the Viper had been racing in various series both domestic and international before entering the inaugural season of ALMS in 1999, it began a streak in this fledgeling North American motorsport that was, in a word, dominant. During the 1999 season, Team Oreca won six ALMS races in a row in the GTS class with their Viper GTS-R racecar. The only reason the team didn't sweep the eight-race season is because they missed the first two races. Team Oreca and the original Viper GTS-R came close to sweeping the 2000 season, though, winning eight of ten races, only falling twice to their arch rivals from Corvette Racing. Their winning streak spanned two seasons and 12 consecutive races. They also won their class at the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 1998, 1999 and 2000.

Unfortunately, factory support for the program ended in 2001 and the Viper's dominance quickly evaporated as private teams could not match Team Oreca's OEM-backed success. Still, under the wing of Team Oreca and backed by Dodge, the Viper GTS-R amassed an impressive record of 16 race wins in 18 starts. And that's why the car's return to ALMS' GT class is a very big deal. Check out the video after the jump.


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  • 20 Comments
      Bill Burke
      • 3 Years Ago
      Went to the NY Auto Show yesterday and saw the SRT Viper in person and this is truly a car that must be seen to be fully appreciated. The curves, lines and numerious details are so striking and attractive that the car just looks far more completely executed than past editions. Beyond beautiful is not excessive. The interior quality and ergonomics are also outstanding and frankly, on a par with any high dollar import sports car I've seen and actually better than most by comparison. Truth be told, it blows the Corvette away by alot. SRT has not really delivering an evolutionary design or update, but up close, it is merely an echoing the classic past in a dynamic new approach to the American sports car. ALMS competition will only enhance this Viper and they will sell them as fast as they can build them. Magnificant is the only way to discribe the SRT Viper
      Sam Abuelsamid
      • 3 Years Ago
      Back in 2010 as Chrysler was winding down production of the previous generation Viper, they put on an exhibition at the Walter P Chrysler museum that highlighted the car's development and racing heritage. They brought many of the most historically interesting Vipers including the 1989, the 1991 Indy pace car and various Le Mans and ALMS winners. For reasons that remain a mystery to me, he eds opted not to publish the feature that I wrote about the exhibit but you can find it at http://www.examiner.com/automotive-in-detroit/dodge-viper-born-to-race-a-retrospectivepre There is also a full gallery https://plus.google.com/photos/114133424228405038490/albums/5506927263853963057
      TMTexas
      • 3 Years Ago
      I don't think people realize how dominant the Viper truly was. An OVERALL win at Daytona. Overall. Beat LMP cars and everything else. It was a force back then and it'll be a force now. Go SRT!
      snap_understeer_ftw
      • 3 Years Ago
      America! **** YEAH!!!
      Steve Clark
      • 3 Years Ago
      I had the privilege of watching the Oreca Vipers run at Mosport during an ALMS race. They were phenomenal to watch and hear. The only cars that walked away from them were the Panoz LMP cars, which simply defied physics through corners. What a thrill attending one of these races is. I can't wait to see the new Viper threading through the crowds again.
      SpeedDemon93
      • 3 Years Ago
      now those , wew some sexy looking Vipers , this new one is .. well ... meh. doesn't really look like one.
      LOLO
      • 3 Years Ago
      Then they fell off around the world racing those boats. In ALMS this time they will have to fight.
      metalmatrix7
      • 3 Years Ago
      My favorite team is Corvette Racing, so I am beyond excited to see Viper come back, if only to hopefully have their asses handed to them. I feel like that will really vindicate Jake and the boys.
        Bill Burke
        • 3 Years Ago
        @metalmatrix7
        Rooting for Corvette is a worthy endevor, but to even speculate that they will fare better than Viper defies history and current logic. The Viper was and most likely will be a dominamt force in road racing. Corvette merely keeps the seat warm until Viper chooses to race again. Corvettes are nice, but, my goodness, they are no threat to Viper. HISS HISS !
        TMTexas
        • 3 Years Ago
        @metalmatrix7
        Nice try matrix. Corvette Racing had minimal success until Dodge pulled factory support. Look for a repeat . . .
      Javanese
      • 3 Years Ago
      Aynbody with half a computer and internet access knows how dominant the viper was, not in ALMS alone but GT racing in europe, Leave it to the french to properly tuned american cars and put european drivers in it win races with it. I said that because almost all vipers ran by american teams back then were for a lack of a better word, sh!t. Orecas, Paul Belmondo and zakspeed, these are the dominant viper teams and guess where they are all from? Oh btw the GTS-R was not built or developed by dodge, Reynard did that and Oreca built and sold it to privateers.
        lostboyz
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Javanese
        Almost all OEMs use a racing company to develop the race version of production cars. The work that was done with Oreca was incorporated into the street GTS version.
      Krazeecain
      • 3 Years Ago
      Huh, I guess there really isn't any replacement for displacement. ;)
      Autoblogist
      • 3 Years Ago
      It'll be interesting to see how the Viper team fairs against Ferrari. If the Viper dominates, it's probably gonna ruffle some feathers in Maranello.
      Benny90
      • 3 Years Ago
      I guess the Le Mans Series is brought to you by Tequila Patron... hehe. But seriously, I am quite exceited to see the Viper return, should be some great racing ahead!
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Benny90
        [blocked]
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