Nordschleife Mystery: Viper Or Blindworm?

Bertel Schmitt
by Bertel Schmitt

Last week, news about a Dodge Viper ACR kicking “the ever-living crap out of the Lexus LFA and the Corvette ZR1” (in the matchless and breathless words of Jalopnik) made the rounds trough the webz. At the time, Jack Baruth warned that “there’s no ‘official’ word yet” and mused that the slick boys could have used non-stock tires. Ever since, it became quiet.

A contact who works in one of those top secret garages behind bucolic Eifel farmhouses confirmed that there was a lot of activity last week. He saw ACRs and Corvettes arrive. He saw Tom Coronel come and go. He voiced his doubts whether the ACR was street legal, and called it a “racing version.” If and when the record is confirmed ( currently, even Viperclub, where the story originated, does not have anything official – the video above is an old one, got you), the question of street legality will play a big role.

Will the car go in the “production vehicle” column and kick the aforementioned ever-living bowel movement out of the LFA?

Or will remain in the “Non-series/road-legal vehicles” list (where it currently sits until a nitpicking Wikipedian demands “citation please”)?

In the former case, America will have subjugated Japan, again. In the latter case, the Viper will have beaten a hopped-up BMW E46 CSL of dubious road-worthiness, and a Porsche 911 “non-production prototype.”

My wrenching friend in the Eifel told me that there is a lot of activity in those garages behind the farmhouses, and that there are many taunts in the local Gasthaus.

Stay, well, tuned.

Join the conversation
9 of 16 comments
  • Byron Hurd Byron Hurd on Sep 19, 2011

    Seems pretty cut-and-dried to me. If it's an unmodified ACR, it's a street/production car. If it's an ACR-X (if it has a VIN, it isn't an ACR-X), it's not a street/production car. If it's an ACR with all the "trunk kit" parts installed, it's still as much a street/production car as the caged CTS-Vs and ZR-1s the General's PR team likes to run at the 'ring. Short answer: Viper wins.

  • Stryker1 Stryker1 on Sep 19, 2011

    It wouldn't surprise me. An unmodified ACR is a frigging monster.

  • Evan Evan on Sep 19, 2011

    It would be really great if some sort of organization could oversee all of this, and then perhaps the cars could even be required to meet certain standards regarding their design and specifications, and then maybe they could all run timed laps on the same day - or even the at the same time - and it would be great, too, if they had to complete many laps rather than just one. At the end they could have a guy with a flag or something to signal the winner. It would be like an organized event or competition. Maybe that way we'd all know what driver and which car were fastest and we could finally get on with our lives.

    • See 2 previous
    • Dvp cars Dvp cars on Sep 19, 2011

      @cammark them or hate them (they're maddeningly easy to hate), the bureaucratic caristocrats at the FIA's gilded Parisian palace dispatch their stopwatch* laden road warriors to any (FIA approved) venue in the world where someone is looking for their imprimatur (and world class bragging rights on all things with wheels). There are some considerable fees involved, I'm sure, but someone's got to pay for the foie gras and Kruger Brut at the freeloaders', er....members' nightly meetings. *....Patek Phillipes, probably, but Tissots in a pinch...any watchmaker that ponys up the exorbitant "official sponsor" euros in reality....maybe Jack would know, he's a watch boffin.

  • RRocket RRocket on Sep 19, 2011

    I was flat out told that the front splitter on the ACR is NOT street legal in any form. Apparently, portions of the splitter extend beyond the bumpers edge and at that point the "splitter" ceases to become a splitter and starts becoming a "bumper". Therefore, the splitter is subject to bumper crash regulations which it would fail. I was told this by a member of the SRT team. Anyone else been told this or hear about it??

    • See 1 previous
    • RRocket RRocket on Sep 19, 2011

      @Jack Baruth Understood. But as delivered, the ACR is not for street use with that splitter. So even with or without a rollcage, the ACR isn't technically street legal with that splitter. The ZR-1 and Caddie are at least legal. And at the speeds they travel at the Ring, I don't think anyone is terribly upset at the additional of roll cages for drivers.