By on September 29, 2011

On September 14, a Dodge Viper did the fabled Nürburgring Nordschleife in 7:12.13, beating  the Lexus LFA  which had done the ring in 7:14:64 just a few weeks before.  That was a very respectable time and makes the Viper the fastest “true production car” around the Ring. (Somehow, a Gumpert Apollo and a Radical SR8 doesn’t sound like something that is produced in halfway serious numbers.)

The only thing that left something to be desired was the way the record was announced: It flew around in tweets and forum posts, but no official announcement was forthcoming. Finally,  Chrysler issued an official press release,  confirming that veteran GT driver Dominik Farnbacher piloted a “street-legal, 600-horsepower 2010 Dodge Viper SRT10 ACR (American Club Racer) to new record lap at the world’s most demanding road course – the famed 12.9-mile Nürburgring Nordschleife (north course)”  in the aforementioned 7:12.13 .  However, on what tires?

That kept people awake and triggered minor edit wars on Wikipedia, which somehow had morphed into the unofficial scorekeeper of  Nordschleifen laptimes.  The score keeper used to be Germany’s Sport Auto magazine, but dead tree based publications just can’t keep up.  Casus belli of the edit war: The tires.  The Chrysler press release had not expressly stated which tires were used  on the ring. They had stated that the stock car comes with the Michelin Pilot Sport Cup tires, but tires can be changed, and defenders of the honor of the Lexus clung to the missing rubber.

Contacted by TTAC,  Chrysler spokesman Dan Reid now confirmed that “the team used the factory stock Michelin Pilot Sport Cup tires for all the runs in the Viper ACR.” That settles that.

What is very much unsettling is the fact that the top spots are claimed by pseudo-production cars. One contributor on Wikipedia even complained that he had a “digital copy of the Radical’s owner’s manual showing the car’s requirements for a 45 minute start up procedure involving a laptop plugged into the ECU, 108 octane fuel, engine rebuilds every 30 hours, transmission inspections/rebuilds after every race, etc.” which doesn’t quite sound like a production car.


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30 Comments on “Viper Used OEM Rubber Around The Ring – But What’s A “Production Car?”...”

  • avatar

    “That was a very respectable time…” Dude, it was the *record*. That’s beyond respectable.

    • 0 avatar

      Sure, if you don’t count the Gumpert Apollo, I guess. Gumpert’s been building thirty-odd of the things per year and selling them to the public, and it’s street-legal in the US and Europe. The Radical SR8 might be a track-day special but the Apollo is a production supercar. (And how many 2008+ Viper ACRs did Chrysler make, anyway?)

      • 0 avatar

        According to Wikipedia they sold 424 Viper ACRs in 08 and 09 total with 2010 numbers “pending.” Quite a bit more than the Gumpert. Also, the stated record is for a major manufacturer, so the record in no way is based on numbers of that particular model sold.

      • 0 avatar

        Also, the stated record is for a major manufacturer, so the record in no way is based on numbers of that particular model sold.

        Now you’re just narrowing the scope until the record fits. It’s not like there’s an actual standards group at work here. We don’t have “homologation requirements” written down.

        Cars like the Apollo or the ACR or the LFA (or any “limited-run supercar” that costs more than a decent house) aren’t “road cars” as much as they are “technically street legal but really designed for track duty”. It’s not as if anyone who owns one drives it to the friggin’ grocery store. The ACR in question had the radio and carpet ripped out (I believe Chrysler calls this the “hardcore package”). Are you saying the line between “production car” and “not a production car” is somewhere between 400 units and 100?

        In the absence of an actual organization making rules on this sort of thing (like there is for land speed records, for instance) the “Nurburgring record!” is going to be resolved by, basically, Wikipedia edit wars or the blog cycle equivalent. How else could it be?

      • 0 avatar

        I didn’t make the “major manufacturer” stipulation so stop trying to make it sound like I am. This is what it was called from the beginning.

      • 0 avatar

        Right, but my point is that with no standards body actually looking after things, there’s no record. I can say that I broke 410 MPH in a standing mile, and if you give me a couple weeks with the right software I’ll even give you a Youtube video, but nobody would take it seriously because the record wouldn’t have FIA certification.

        Nobody certifies Nurburgring lap records, so the only real “rankings” is a list on Wikipedia. The entire idea of “breaking the record” is that there’s an impartial group that’s, you know, “recording”. That’s where the word comes from. Without such a group you don’t have a “record”, you’ve got an “opinion” (and a Wikipedia talk page argument.)

      • 0 avatar

        I really don’t see the point of these “record” attempts at actually breaking any records. There may not be an “official record” but it has a LOT of people talking/thinking about the ACR that weren’t doing so before the news was announced. I think their “record run” did it’s job.

        They announce it as a “major manufacturer” record because, honestly, the Gumpert is not a competitor. It’s a small manufacturer that fills a very niche market. The Viper comes from Dodge/Chrysler and a record like this vs. it’s competitors is little more than an advertisement to get more people thinking of their brand as a possibility to buy from.

      • 0 avatar

        Boy, there are sure a lot of Viper haters…trying to invalidate the record of the stock ACR. I happen to own one and yes I take it for groceries… and it’s no. 1 on the local tracks.

        And no, I would not want to try to climb in and out of a Gumpert..and neither would my gf.

        And no….I don’t want to buy a Corvette for $121,000.00

  • avatar
    dvp cars

    ……there are all kinds of baffling aspects to this alleged record. First, as you note, there is no longer any “official” timekeeper on site. Then there are various eligibility questions, including the fudging on the tires. But most perplexing is the issue of financing. This was a very expensive outing involving at least 3 cars, multiple drivers and crew, and Trans-Atlantic expenses galore. All this to promote a car no longer sold. All we can be sure is, if a new Viper (or Alfa equivalent) doesn’t materialize soon, a certain Sergio M. is going to be mightily peeved when he gets the bill for his share of the tab.

    • 0 avatar

      Honestly, what does financing have to do with eligibility? What do you think Lexus, for example, paid for their runs to the ‘ring?

      I know the Viper is no longer in production while we wait for it’s replacement but it lets people know the thing still exists, keeps it in their minds so they don’t forget about it and eagerly anticipate the new one.

      • 0 avatar
        dvp cars

        ……the Lexus run is just as unofficial as the Viper’s……but, possibly due to the bland, “beige” nature of the brand, nobody seems to care enough to challenge them on validity issues, and that includes me.

      • 0 avatar

        Right, you still haven’t said what financing has to do with eligibility. This is really an unofficial contest between manufacturers so of course they’re all going to spend a boatload of money. If this were, say, a race division designed to allow more people to be competitive then yes, of course financing is valid but it’s not.

    • 0 avatar

      speaking of financing, if ‘Ring times really are that important, wouldn’t it be much more interesting to develop a testing protocol that could be ran for fairly cheap, in, like, Torrance, CA, yet predicted ‘Ring times with a good degree of accuracy?

      Having to schlep ones steed(s) all the way to Germany to settle scores leaves the whole bragging game to the more money than sense crowd. And that ain’t right! The good ole days of settling scores up on Mulholland, was just so much more democratic.

  • avatar

    THANK YOU! Use of the term “production car” has bothered me to no end. Put some bumpers, lights, a license plate and airbags on a 911 GT1 and bam, it magically transcends from the world of purpose-built race car into being a “production car”.

    Internet – It’s the fastest production car around the ‘Ring! All hail!
    Me – Define “production”.
    Internet – Well, a production car is a car made on a production line – duh! Oh, and it’s street legal and produced in sufficiently large numbers.
    Me – OK, that seems sufficiently vague.

  • avatar

    I’m still wondering what prep work was performed on the cars. The existing information about this run mentioned that the cars were sent from a dealer in Tomball, Texas, to some shop in Europe that prepped them for the runs.

    Lotsa fudge room there, I’d say.

    • 0 avatar

      You don’t think that any other manufacturer drags a car straight from the showroom to the ring without at least a bit of prep?

      I think they should have let Jack drive it. The prose would bo so the more interesting.

  • avatar

    I seem to remember a Car & Driver test of the last generation Viper, which mentioned the following:

    The sills were ridiculously hot from the exhausts
    The interior smelled like glue
    The ride was absurdly harsh – it ‘banged around like a hot dog cart’, if I remember right
    The bump-steer was pretty awful
    The dash, the structure, the top all made noise over rough pavement.

    Sure it was incredibly fast, but since when is that enough? I’m perfectly fine with the Viper laying claim to fastest production car lap, or whatever. With all of the annoyances that must come with such a car, there has to be some compensation.

    • 0 avatar

      Of course it’s going to have issues. Look at the price compared to the cars it competes with performance-wise. If you want a great car with great performance you’re going to have to spend a bit more than approx. $70-100k. The Viper gives people the chance to own a car with great performance without spending hundreds of thousands of dollars (or at least GAVE them that choice, hopefully it will again soon)

    • 0 avatar

      I’ve driven one Viper, the first generation, and I hear you. But I do believe Chrysler rerouted the exhausts away from the side sills in later editions. As a road car, it’s a foot or two too wide, regardless of how fast it is around a 30 feet wide racetrack.

  • avatar

    The front splitter as delivered on the ACR is NOT street legal. This according to Chrysler. So if the car was equipped with the splitter (and it appears it was) it’s technically not street legal.

    FWIW, portions of the splitter extend beyond the front bumper at which point it becomes a bumper and not a splitter…which fails DOT bumper standards and crash testing.

  • avatar

    I think it is worth pointing out that, unlike either the Gumpert or the Radical, the Viper ACR is both available for less than six-figures, and there are plenty of street legal “lesser” versions on the street. The Viper is a mass-production supercar, unlike the limited production Radical or Apollo.

    Ever go to a Viper meeting? You’ll meet as many plumbers and electricians as you will execs and hedge fund traders. Hell, my high school science teacher had THREE (but he drove a 20-year old Volvo to class, go figure.)

    I’m gonna give Chrysler this one personally. I think they went out and earned it with a discontinued vehicle on OEM rubber.

  • avatar

    “defenders of the honor of the Lexus clung to the missing rubber.”

    Yes, rubber(s) often are implicated in the loss of one’s honor.

  • avatar

    “OEM Rubber” can make a huge diff…

    eg. The new Z06 Carbon comes with 80 Treadwear R-Comp Pilot Sports as it’s “OEM” rubber. Beat a 458 Italia by 2 seconds around Laguna Seca in some supercar comparo MT or CD or RT.

    I would love to see what the OEM rubber on the Chrysler was. OEM street rubber can vary vastly and can easily make a car 1 second faster/slower on a 60second track, so atleast 6seconds at the ring, assuming identical conditions.

    PS. Anyone check out the downforce this thing was putting down on the right hand side of the video?!?!

  • avatar

    Impressive numbers, even if this turns out to be a less street legal car than the LFA, it’s not even close to being as expensive or technically advanced, and the Viper engine isn’t even twice as big as the ‘Toyota’ engine :)
    There certainly ain’t ‘no replacement for displacement’. Or as Stalin said; “Quantity has a quality all its own”

  • avatar

    Or as Stalin said; “Quantity has a quality all its own.”

    What would Stalin drive?

    Imagine the Man of Steel tooling around a German racetrack in a car made by a failed US car company, formerly owned by the Germans and currently owned by PE gangsters, subsidized by the biggest schmucks of all, the US taxpayers.

  • avatar
    dvp cars

    ……this highly entertaining bragging rights marathon is, for the average enthusiast, down to the unofficial prowess of 3 or 4 mainstream contenders. Entry level 911’s, Corvettes, GTR’s, and the odd megabuck interloper like Lexus, duke it out for internet hits, but never on the same day, and rarely with any qualified, neutral, timekeeping or scrutineering. But what fun, for us and the marketing honchos in the background. Nobody who has been around motorsport for any length of time doubts that serious money doesn’t get thrown at these casual appearing track days. But when an unusually well equipped and capable band of enthusiasts spend an embarrassing amount of cash chasing an unofficial record, guess what?…….eyebrows are raised in the clubhouse!…..mainly because it’s a car no longer in production, and all kinds of “eligibility” quetions remain, despite Chrysler’s carefully worded, but somewhat arm’s length press release. To the credit of all the contenders in this somewhat affordable class of sportscars, they’re laying down some stunning times, and one can’t help but note the curious lack of any real competition from the traditional “supercar” mainstays. Failing to significantly outqualify these bargain basement upstarts could be real bad for business…… not to try. Expect an all out assault by Mclaren before the snow flies. They better bring their best game!

  • avatar

    I ‘thought’ The Stig was the official timekeeper of how fast production cars go, but I see now that TG may have to provide third-party assurances of a car’s originality.

  • avatar

    Gumpert Apollo is a pure race car made legal for the street. To sit inside you need to remove the steering wheel etc. It sits on cro-moly tube frame (like racecars) covered with plastic panels. Check youtube for videos, then you understand that there are lightyears of difference with LFA. I don’t know what the exact difference is between normal Viper and ACR (hardcore package deletes sound insulation, navigation, audio, climate control etc?), but the only interior difference between normal LFA and Nur Edition LFA are the seats, the latter has carbon fiber bucket seats (record setting car was equipped with roll cage and racing seat belts only because of safety of the driver). With Nur LFA I bet you can enjoy a longer trip on highway with your supermodel girlfriend (thats what for supercars are really made I guess :)?) and have a normal conversation while driving. I not so sure it is possible with Viper ACR or Apollo. Basically comparing ACR Viper, Apollo, Radical etc. to LFA is comparing a supercar to a racecar. Closest real supercar to LFA Nur Edition in the Nur lap time list is in my opinion ZR1.

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