Dodge Viper GTS-R

The Dodge Viper GTS-R when raced in North America) was a successful racing variant of the Dodge Viper.

In the early 1990s, first generation Dodge Viper RT/10s had been modified by racing teams for use in GT racing in North America and Europe without much success. Although its V10 engine was powerful, the car was not adapted to racing and teams lacked the funding to build a car that could compete with factory efforts. One key issue was the fact that the Viper was a roadster, therefore lacking the rigidity that a coupe bodystyle would have. However, following the sales success of the first generation Viper, Dodge began redesigning the car in 1995, upgrading the roadster while at the same time adding a new coupe, known as the Viper GTS.

In terms of design much of the bodywork of the Viper GTS was retained on the racecar. Mandatory elements such as a rear wing, rear diffuser, and front splitter were added for aerodynamics, while initial cars had their fog lights covered over before being put back for increased visibility at night. To aid in lighting, optional lights could be placed in square notches above the grill. The exhaust would also be routed out the side of the car, just under the doors, about halfway between the front and rear wheel wells. Side exhausts had been a feature of the first generation American-market RT/10s, but were no longer used on the GTS. Vents were also added to the hood for cooling the engine, while intakes were placed on the roof and rear fenders.

In total, 57 Viper GTS-Rs would be built. After the production of an initial five prototypes for testing and early usage by Oreca and Canaska/Southwind, 52 more cars would be built. Although some would be used by the factory teams, most would be sold directly to customers for use in whatever series would allow them. Viper GTS-Rs continued to be built into 2005, after which Oreca concentrated on maintaining and supporting the existing Viper GTS-R fleet.

Although the production cars have mostly been known as Dodge Vipers, the Dodge brand did not sell the Viper in Europe. Because the new cars, named GTS-R, were built in Europe, they were mostly known as Chrysler Viper GTS-R. However cars racing in North America usually ran under the Dodge banner, making them Dodge Viper GTS-Rs. This naming difference therefore depends on location and region. The cars themselves actually carried no badging for either Chrysler or Dodge, with only the Viper GTS-R name appearing on the side of the bonnet.

Source: Wikipedia, 2011

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