Last year, Chrysler campaigned a pair of SRT Viper GTS-Rs in the 24 Hours of Le Mans. It was the first time Auburn Hills had sent a team to the famous French endurance race since 2000, when the Viper ended a three-year winning streak in the GTS class. It finished in 24th and 31st places, woefully behind the Porsche 911 RSR that won the LMGTE Pro category. But this year it won't be back.

According to a report from Sportscar365 citing a statement issued by SRT chief Ralph Gilles, the outfit turned down its invitation from the ACO that organizes the race, ending what could have been a multi-year campaign. Instead it's opting to focus on its Stateside campaign in the United SportsCar Championship. SRT sent Autoblog the following statement:

"We regretfully and respectfully decline to participate in this year's 24 Hours of Le Mans," said Ralph Gilles, President and CEO of SRT (Street and Racing Technology) Brand and Motorsports, Chrysler Group LLC. "We are honored to once again be invited by the ACO (Automobile Club de l'Ouest) to compete in this historic event, and they were the first to be informed of our decision. We will remain focused on our North American racing program in 2014."


In its place, the Ferrari 458 fielded by JMW Motorsport will be invited to fill the last slot in the class, leaving only the Corvette and Dempsey Racing entries to represent the United States in the race this year. "Hopefully, we'll continue to go to Le Mans for many years to come," as SRT's marketing chief Beth Paretta put it when announcing the effort a year ago, "but as a sports-car fan, if you can make the trip even once, it's worth it."



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  • 36 Comments
      johnnythemoney
      • 9 Months Ago
      No point saying the Vipers were 24th and 31st if you're not going to say the winning Porsche was 15th overall. The Vipers were 8th and 9th in class, down 9 and 14 laps, out of 10 finishing GT LM Pro cars, and out of 12 class participants. That's how you write it. Sure Porsche won debuting a new car, but with an established team, a car full of carry over stuff from the 997 GT2 car and probably a much larger budget, but I don't think the Vipers did bad at all for a first try. The point is probably how little interest there is in Europe for a car not available over there, and how little attention potential customers in the US are paying to a race in Europe.
      cbxweb
      • 9 Months Ago
      I wonder why the SRT editions just did not get taken under the wing of the SRT brand? At least then there could be some levels to it. Add an SRT Dart. Then SRT Challenger, SRT Charger, and SRT Viper. All no nonsense, manual transmission, 'F You Pay Me' kind of brand. Which Dodge seems to be going for. ...I give up. :(
      carguy1701
      • 9 Months Ago
      Noooooooooo
      SCOTTM
      • 9 Months Ago
      Viper needs a price drop and more power. ILMOR has a 725 HP emissions legal Viper motor all ready to go since 2009. The engineering is done. It's a matter of Ferrari allowing it. Such a shame because this is a beautiful fun car. I would buy one if it was priced under 100K and had the V-10 725.
      Rob8
      • 9 Months Ago
      It's not a real American make anyway.
      Eggmania
      • 9 Months Ago
      seems like this viper is a flop. shame, i like the styling alot better than the new corvette. im baffled they dont get more power out of that massive v10
        Carpinions
        • 9 Months Ago
        @Eggmania
        This point has been beaten to death. It doesn't have more power because its corporate stablemates in Ferrari would then have less power, which Ferrari won't stand for.
          flammablewater
          • 9 Months Ago
          @Carpinions
          In the words of Jeremy Clarkson: "It's a bit like vomiting on the Pope. "Sorry.""
      sp33dklz
      • 9 Months Ago
      Translation - "Our Viper isn't meeting sales goals, nor is it meeting performance expectations." Sad to me, because it's such a damn beautiful car.
      G
      • 9 Months Ago
      It's kind of a double edge sword, sure the Viper looks better on the inside and outside but it already looks dated when comparing to the current Corvette. I think Dodge needs to retire the Viper name and come out w/ a new halo car under 65K. The Challenger does not cut it.
      Bud
      • 9 Months Ago
      Both the road car and the racing programs were 1. Poorly conceived, 2. Poorly researched, 3. Poorly executed with a futurists mindest. The research for example was made to fit what the senior management wanted to hear without internal (or external) dissent. And this is what you end up with. This does not mean a committee approach but voices of disagreement to a given direction should have been examined more closely and possibly developing a dual path strategy. (Even putting out two vehicle variants) It appeared that Senior management wanted a warm and fuzzy, "why can't we all get along" mentality, without any "crackle and fizz" within the group. This inspire no one, and all it does is make people take the pay check and wait to have fun (crackle and fizz) at the weekend away from the company. The excitement should also be generated within the company as well !!! It sort of beggars belief that a program like this would get Sergio's approval as far as sales numbers of new vehicles that could be sold on old, old styling, chassis, engine etc, but somehow someone/group bamboozled SM as he probably had more pressing things in the forefront of his mind. This cannot do the whole Chrysler brand any favors to fail in such a public way. It was sold on "we can do it for this price $$$" to SM, but that is wrong. A realistic budget should have been developed or not have been done at all. By leveraging all the goodwill of the supplier community and associate suppliers that could have put commercial sponsorship dollars towards this. This approach will be harder now from this failure. The new Alfa Romeo 4C is an interesting comparison and an object lesson in how much buzz over the new vehicle with modern features, styling, engineering, can create a positive effect and not ride on past glories always looking backwards in a retrospective view. The 4C is going to develop a whole slew of variants off its basic architecture it would appear as well...where were variants on Viper ?, - ohh yes I forgot different colors, seat stitching, etc. Chrysler needs to ditch this Retro styling kick and do things in a more futuristic mentality. The market has moved on - but the thinking within Chrysler has stayed static especially in its middle level, lethargic, moribund, managers that unfortunately senior Executive staff pay far too much attention too. They are anachronistic boat anchors that unfortunately were not encouraged to leave the company. A whole new infusion of new blood in terms of how programs are thought through, and needs to be urgently injected, otherwise bailout #2 is on the way. Note to Chrysler - Ford F-150 Aluminum truck !
        solidol
        • 9 Months Ago
        @Bud
        Interesting points for sure. But let's face it with these kind of cars what you buy is also the sensation and whole experience. I think it's great for enthusiasts that SRT kept V10 with classic exterior. Vipers are all about emotions. If you ever drove one or say 427 Cobra you know what I mean. It's a feeling that is significant portion of what you buy with Viper. Quick example: sure one can get much more technically superior R8 or 911 turbo or even look at C7.. but.. and this but is everything: none of these cars will make you feel the Viper will. Also I would not feel awkward owning Viper. If you look at the market there is nothing quite like it. Really nothing
          Bud
          • 9 Months Ago
          @solidol
          @ solidol - I am afraid your comment is pure Hyperbole. Keeping the V10 is fine for the 200 enthusiasts a year who want to brag about there V10, some who are repeat buyers of Vipers is fine - but don't sell a business case based on 1,000 - 2000 vehicles - that is just naive . Customers are showing by their checkbooks that they will not to though. There might be 100 - 125 or so in the domestic market for that reason, out of how many 1,000's that Corvette, Porsche are selling too? But the V10 engine is essentially the same as the Viper V10 engines of yore ! All sports cars are about emotion, and singling out the Viper is not anything special, and from the emotive standpoint Viper has no where near the cachet of a Porsche or Audi (Auto Union) historical emotion. Porsche is making a quantity of nine hundred and eighteen (918) for production - of the 918 model, at around $1M a piece. All 918 have been sold it appears already. I would emphatically disagree that other vehicles do not give you feel what a Viper will...please elaborate what a Viper feel will give you - rather than some nebulous blanket statement? Whereas a Porsche 918 won't? What I believe you are alluding to is a rawness, and unsophisticated feel, well maybe; but if that is the case how can you justify a price tag of $100K to $150K for such a crude machine ? That unsophisticated feel, and the liking for it, also wears off in a very short time as well, I can assure you, and that is why the old traditional customers who whined, campaigned, lobbied for a better interior to mask that unsophisticated feel now have the "pigs-ear" that they have - and have not purchased the vehicle once they campaigned for it ?. - go figure ? "There is nothing like quite like it" - I don't get your point ? You could buy a Gen 2, Gen 3, Gen 4 Viper at second hand prices of anywhere from $5K to $30K and have the same feel of creaks, groans, rattles, etc (see youtube), So if you would not feel awkward having a Viper in your drive and at weekends replacing the power steering pump mounting bracket, or replacing the front crankshaft damper that has fallen off - I would suggest that you seriously consider purchsing one and eat the precipitous devaluation of its value There is everything like it, in 15 years of Viper products. Really everything.
        Rotation
        • 9 Months Ago
        @Bud
        I'll add even more to the slagging. The entire SRT division was poorly executed and probably a bad idea to start with. And the method with which Mopar went about making this new model was very risky and they appear to have paid the price. Making a vehicle which only appeals to those already turned on by Vipers is risky, and here's how. With the car unable to really compete on any measure which doesn't include the traditional Viper stronghold of machismo, it's just hard to move too many. Especially given a recent used model does almost the same thing. And it appears Mopar didn't take this into account. I really wish Mopar had done a better job with this. This could be the death of the Viper and I really don't want to see that at all.
      flammablewater
      • 9 Months Ago
      We are afraid of getting beaten by the Corvette, and Ferrari is afraid of getting beaten by us.
      Andre Neves
      • 9 Months Ago
      Sadly, things are looking pretty grim for the Viper. Sales can't be good either. I'm a truck driver and when I pass the same handful of Dodge dealers with Vipers near their front windows in their showrooms, I always see the same cars just sitting there. Not a good sign for such a new car. Perhaps if Chrysler had some common sense they would lower the price on it a bit. Can't blame the public for having so many better performance options at the price-point that it's currently set at.
      solidol
      • 9 Months Ago
      Sad to see it go. There was quite a bit of romance seeing Vipers at Le Mans. Hope SRT realizes it's time to slash prices and I'm sure sales will go up. It's such a beautiful piece of machinery. A little bit rough if you look closer but some want it to be like that. To be a Viper. I hope TA goes under 100k so I can at least consider finally getting one.
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