Viper Used OEM Rubber Around The Ring – But What's A "Production Car?"

Bertel Schmitt
by Bertel Schmitt
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.
Bertel Schmitt
Bertel Schmitt

Bertel Schmitt comes back to journalism after taking a 35 year break in advertising and marketing. He ran and owned advertising agencies in Duesseldorf, Germany, and New York City. Volkswagen A.G. was Bertel's most important corporate account. Schmitt's advertising and marketing career touched many corners of the industry with a special focus on automotive products and services. Since 2004, he lives in Japan and China with his wife <a href=""> Tomoko </a>. Bertel Schmitt is a founding board member of the <a href=""> Offshore Super Series </a>, an American offshore powerboat racing organization. He is co-owner of the racing team Typhoon.

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  • Advo Advo on Sep 30, 2011

    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.

  • Brock_Landers Brock_Landers on Sep 30, 2011

    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.

  • TheEndlessEnigma Simply put, I like it.
  • TheEndlessEnigma Ah GM, never stop being you. GM is working hard to make FIAT look good.
  • TheEndlessEnigma Top Gear of the 2000's was a fresh concept and very well done. Sadly to say there isn't a TV show concept that doesn't eventually exhaust fresh ideas and, as a result, begins to rehash and wear out once were fresh ideas. The show eventually becomes a pale imitation of itself, then begins to embarrass itself, it will get to a point where it jumps the shark. Top Gear began to get stale, the Clarkson, Hammond and May left and the formula failed - surprise! the presenters were part of the magic. Fast forward many years and Grand Tower is trying hard to be Top Gear but it's all very obviously scripted (it always was by felt spontaneous in its original form), Clarkson, Hammond and May are much older, tired and have become caricatures of themselves. Guys, just stop. You should have stopped 10 years ago. Now you're just screwing with your reputations and legacies.
  • FreedMike Kudos to Toyota for making a legitimately slick looking piece (particularly in metallic cherry red). But PHEVs seem like a very narrow niche to me. Yes, the concept is cool - if you play your cards right you never have to fill up with gas, and the gas engine means you don't have to worry about charging facilities - but the operative words are "if you play your cards right." And PHEVs have all the drawbacks of EVs - spotty charging availability, decreased range in cold conditions, and higher price. Personally, I'd opt for a non plug-in Prius and use the plug-in money to upgrade the trim level. It's slower, but even the base Prius performs roughly on par with a Corolla or Civic, so it's not a dog anymore. But who buys a Prius to go fast in the first place? If I wanted to "go gas free," I'd just buy a BEV. YMMV, of course.
  • Analoggrotto Anyone seeking benchmark affluence will get the EV9 by Kia the most cutting edge electric vehicle on the market bar none.