2009 Dodge Viper SRT-10: The Viper's Last "Yee-Ha!" Part 1
October 22, 2010
As we enter the last precious weeks of our Dodge Viper long-term test, we thought: "Why not send America's meanest supercar out with a bang?" In our case, that means joining a bunch of Viper owners for a weekend of track driving at Spring Mountain Motorsports Ranch in Pahrump, Nevada, during a Viper Days event.
But before I hit the road with Dodge's 600-hp V-10 beast, I got the new-guy-on-the-staff "Don't crash the Viper" talk from Editor in Chief Scott Oldham. Never mind the fact that when he handed me the keys, it was raining out and all four of the Viper's Michelin Pilot Sports had seriously worn outer edges. Yeah, no chance of it getting seriously sideways in the wet...
I'm especially looking forward to this weekend for two reasons: First, any track time is good track time, and second, I've always wondered exactly what type of person buys a Viper. If I don't figure that out by the end of the weekend, I never will.
There are three main facets to Viper Days: 1) The Viper Cup spec series, 2) The Viper Racing League and 3) Viper Driver Education--the last is what I'll be taking part in with Edmunds' orange long-termer. The purpose of Viper Days, according to Chrysler's Scott Brown, is "to help our Viper drivers advance and hone their racing skills." There are multiple run groups of varying skill level, instructor ride-alongs and classroom sessions for the more novice drivers.
As a bonus, Dodge president and CEO (and certifiable Viper nut), Ralph Gilles, will be on hand the whole weekend, racing an ACR-X in the Viper Cup event. My simple plan is to glean as much info. as possible related to the future Viper out of Gilles, while I follow him around in the paddock. That is, until he has me arrested for stalking, since he has no idea who I am.
Should be a fun weekend. Stay tuned.
On a slightly separate topic: Does anyone know the connection between Edmunds' long-term Viper and Cook's Corner? See photo above.
Mike Monticello, Road Test Editor @ 18,076 miles