Dodge Viper returning to Le Mans this year?
That racing outfit is Riley Technologies, a constructor perhaps best known for its Daytona Prototypes, but it has also prepared its share of GT racers, too. Chrysler charged Riley with leading its racing program for the new Viper GTS-R, campaigned it in the United SportsCar Championship and the 24 Hours of Le Mans.
Auburn Hills made the unfortunate decision back in March to pull its Vipers out of Le Mans, and then in October to withdraw from the US series, as well, thereby effectively ending the program altogether. Disappointed though it surely was, Riley remains defiant. The North Carolina-based company is planning on taking the existing Vipers back to Le Mans on its own, with or without factory support. The Viper has, after all, proven a capable machine, having taken both the drivers' and teams' titles in the United SportsCar Championship this past season.
"With Le Mans, every driver and every manufacturer needs to have their first trip there, and it isn't always what you want it to be, but we did show reliability and did have some pace," Bill Riley told Racer.com. "Since then, we've worked hard on the cars, they're now strong, front-running cars in the US, and we're working with the ACO on the BoP to make sure the cars are strong at Le Mans. They're super-reliable and fast, and we'd expect to be right in the mix with the other cars."
Riley has kept the existing support staff in place, and once it secures its driver lineup and sponsors, chances look good that it could represent America well at Le Mans this year in either the GTE Pro or GTE Am class. Its predecessor did, after all, complete a three-year winning streak that saw it dominate the GTS class right up until its withdrawal in 2000.
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