Dodge is about to renew its assault on the American sports car market by releasing a lighter, stiffer and more powerful version of its V10-engined Viper; this is the Dodge SRT10 American Club Racer.The Viper SRT10 ACR will be introduced at the Los Angeles motor show next week. It’s a road-legal production car, due to be built at Dodge’s Conner Avenue Assembly plant, Detroit, beginning mid-2008. In the US, it will cost less than $100,000, and although Chrysler LLC’s UK importer has no intention to make the car available over here, Autocar can reveal that you will be able to buy the car in the UK, through third party importers, for around £80,000.
Giving the Viper more bite
Dodge’s Street and Racing Technology division has overhauled the Viper’s massive V10 engine and chassis, put it on a crash diet, and thrown in some aerodynamic addenda while transforming the regular Viper into this track-targetted monster.Immediately obvious from the pictures (see gallery) is that it’s added several pieces of carbonfibre aero kit. There’s a new front splitter, a huge seven-way adjustable rear wing, and you can even add extra side plates onto the front during circuit use too, increasing downforce on the front wheels by a third.Its also managed to remove 7kgs of unsprung mass at every corner of the SRT10 ACR, through the use of new sidewinder alloy wheels, new Stoptech 355mm brake discs, Brembo callipers and Michelin Pilot Sport Cup tyres. Elsewhere in the chassis, the SRT10 ACR runs with new KW Suspensions dampers (adjustable for compression, rebound and ride height) and a stiffer front anti-roll bar.The car is 18kg lighter than a normal Viper as standard. Order the optional hardcore package and Dodge will throw out the audio system, engine insulation, boot carpeting and onboard tyre compressor, boosting the weight saving to 36kg, and cutting the kerbweight down to 1533kg overall.Dodge’s engine revisions – they’ve overhauled the 8.4-litre motor’s induction system – have boosted headline outputs to 600bhp at 6100rpm and 560lb ft at 5000rpm. That gives this new Viper a power-to-weight ratio of 391bhp per tonne; better than a Mercedes SLR McLaren. Makes you wonder what would be possible if the V10 had more than two valves per cylinder, doesn't it?
Getting one in the UK
Chrysler UK has already said that it won’t be bringing Viper ACRs over here officially, so the only way to get hold of one will be to import one personally, or to use the services of one of our many specialist American car importers.We approached Maidstone’s Newport Imports, and Importmyvehicle.com; as a guide price, they both advised that UK customers should expect to pay around £80,000 for a $100,000 US car, once import charges, taxes and SVA costs are met. The next cheapest 600bhp sport car, as far as we can work out, is the new £137,000 Bentley Continental GT Speed. Assuming you could get one, then, we’d say the Dodge was a bit of a bargain.