SRT VIPER GTS
2014 SRT VIPER GTS
he Viper has always been a car that
grabs attention, from the sound of its
V10 engine, to its Hot Wheels looks, to its
dramatic side exhausts, to its classic GT
proportions that hark back to the era of
the Jaguar E-type or Ferrari Daytona. In all
incarnations, the Viper has been wilfully
different from its rivals, a breed apart.
Yet it has never looked so good, moved
so quick, or handled so well as now.
Styling-wise, the fifth generation SRT
Viper, first launched in 2012, has hints of
Italian and British supercars in the
detailing, yet pulls them into a cohesive
whole that is unmistakably all-American
Viper and purposefully racing oriented.
The 8.4-liter ( 512cu.in.) V10 now
pumps out 640hp at 6,150rpm and
600lb-ft torque at 4,950rpm, yet weighs
under 3,500lbs, even in “loaded” GTS
trim. And so it cuts 0-60mph times at
well under the four-second mark, and hits
100mph from standstill in under nine
seconds. If you had the time and the place,
it would also take you beyond 200mph.
But to use this car only to pose on
Sunset Strip or burn up a dragstrip would
be to miss the point of the constant work
done by SRT’s engineers to match the
car’s straightline pace with curve-hugging
dexterity. However much the car’s
proportions may fool you into thinking
otherwise, the Viper is only 175in. long
(one inch shorter than the latest Porsche
911) with a wheelbase of just 98.8in., and
so SRT has gone to great lengths to
exploit those measurements, make this
supercar into a nimble sports car.
How well have they succeeded? Let’s
ask Jonathan Bomarito, Team SRT driver.
He races a Viper for a living, scoring two
GT poles in 2013 and coming within one
second of taking a brilliant class victory
at the American Le Mans Series race
at Circuit of The Americas.
“The Viper has the biggest tire contact
patch of any production car,” he notes,
“and with it being under 50in. high and
Twith a wide track, it feels very firmly
planted. I don’t know exactly what G-force
it could generate on these Pirelli P Zeros,
but, man, it feels like it could grip forever!”
As Bomarito cruises around the Toyota
Grand Prix of Long Beach course, the
venue where SRT scored its first pole
position and first podium finish in the final
American Le Mans Series season, it’s
apparent that you’d have to be driving at
highly illegal speeds to get this car to
slide. It just grips and goes wherever it’s
directed, which almost renders the car’s
handling qualities as irrelevant! Far more
important when driving on the road is a
car’s suspension setup, damping and
comfort levels. On these matters, Bomarito
is unstinting in his praise of the Viper.
“Some people would assume a car like
this is just for the occasional blast, maybe
Once a star in junior open-wheel cars,
Jonathan Bomarito switched to sports
cars and immediately shone, winning
the Rolex 24 at Daytona in 2010.
Jonathan Bomarito prowls the
streets of Long Beach in the
SRT Viper GTS. Next April
he’ll be back again doing the
same in his GTS-R racecar.
“I don’t know what
G-force the Viper could
generate, but it feels like
it could grip forever!”