The 2013-2014 SRT Viper from Dodge: the real thing
New: 640 horsepower. 600 foot-pounds of torque. 100 pound weight reduction. Three models: Base, S, Track Pack.
The 2013 Viper was designed in Auburn Hills, by Americans, and will be built in Detroit, “but we did consult with our friends in Ferrari and Maserati,” according to Ralph Gilles, to get their skills in low-volume products, and are using some of their suppliers, e.g. for seats.
During the “three headed dog” time, as Ralph called it, they almost sold the Viper off; Sergio, though, said, “We don’t sell our own.” He mentioned the Hot Wheels car (pulling one out of his pocket), and said “As much as it’s been annoying to us, it’s been fun to watch the car being imagined on line.”
The car shows that “we still have a soul at Chrysler.” They looked at some platforms from Italy but decided to stick with what they had; they completely updated the frame (made by Metalsa), brought back the magnesium beam which stiffens the platform, and used new technology and aluminum to make it 50% stiffer than the 2010 Viper. The engine is more powerful and still an 8.4 liter V10.
The Viper’s always been a place to experiment with technology, and now uses super-formed aluminum on the sills and doors; the body is mostly carbon fiber, and is now 32% lighter (saving 100 lb). Owners demanded a clamshell hood and now has one; composite intake manifold which flows much better; the torque comes on earlier than before, Viper has the highest torque of any naturally aspirated car in the world.
To help maximize straight-line performance in track conditions, all SRT Viper models will include launch control (and traction control) as standard equipment.
From any stability-control mode including Full Off, the system can be engaged by a button on the steering wheel while the car is at a stop. Then, mashing the pedal down won’t merely smoke the rear tires; the computer holds the engine at optimal launch rpm and waits for the driver to release the clutch. Launch control then uses engine throttle only to achieve controlled wheelslip, for maximum acceleration through first gear.
Track Pack takes another 57 pounds off for the lightest Viper ever, 3297 pounds, 5.15 lb/hp all together. Using dry weight (3,143 lb), as many competitors do, the Viper is at 4.91 pounds/horsepower.
|Dry hp:weight ratios (SRT numbers)|
|Porsche 911 Turbo||6.22|
For the first time, Viper has cruise control. Two mode adjustable suspension. It has the 7 inch screen, as used on Dart, but heavily customized, and an 8.4 inch flat screen stereo, also customized (the Harman Hardon surround-sound system drives up to 18 speakers through up to 11 channels, using rare-earth magnets and double the power of the old system). The seats allowed a 90 mm increase in interior space. There are many different interiors, truly making it custom.
Ralph Gilles himself drove the Viper onto the stage.
The car is also debuting in the Forza videogame, and Forza was the first company to test drive the Viper; they put together a video, which is the one that was leaked the day before. A real racing Viper was brought in, a silver one, built for the American LeMans team — with four drivers.
Pricing appears to be set at $137,000, according to “kdaviper.” There’s been absolutely no official word.
The standard Viper has a more traditional look, with the black hood vents, and a plainer interior, with fewer features. The Viper GTS has more comfort features and a more refined look. Inside, choices of fabrics and dash covers provide many options — a Fiat trademark borrowed by SRT.
Engineering: 2013 Viper frame and chassis
Nearly every chassis system has been re-engineered to increase performance and shed weight while keeping a near perfect 50/50 weight distribution. For 2013, the Viper has shed more than 100 pounds with numerous chassis refinements including a new spaceframe with high-strength steels; carbon fiber and aluminum body panels; lighter wheels; and a lighter engine.
The 100% boxed frame has enhanced strength and stiffness; it has been re-engineered and is far stiffer.
Russ Ruedisueli, Vehicle Line Executive – SRT Viper, wrote, “Design and engineering development for the SRT Viper extends far beyond the normal cycles of most sports cars. All SRT vehicles including the Viper must pass the rigorous torture of a 24-hour endurance test that simulates racing conditions.”
A new structural X-brace ties the four corners of the engine compartment together; borrowed directly from Viper GTS-R and Competition Coupe race models, the aluminum brace enhances steering response and makes the entire car stiffer. A new aluminum impact beam at the front of the 2013 SRT Viper also contributes to overall mass savings and weight distribution, while increasing crashworthiness. A cast-magnesium, machined front-dash structure stretches across the full width of the car. Greater structural integrity at the suspension pickup points allowed SRT to better tune the damper.
The Viper continues with its front mid-engine layout that has the engine set back fully behind the centerline of the front wheels. The engine also is offset 40 mm to the right, which contributes to more area in the driver foot well for ideal placement of the throttle, brake and clutch pedals. More importantly, the offset helps cross-car weight distribution with the driver, increasing track performance. It might, however, prevent Viper from being made in a right-hand drive configuration for the UK, Japan, Australia, New Zealand, and other RHD markets.
Viper body engineers were able to achieve the provocative body shapes and effectively reduce mass with the use of lightweight materials including composites and super-formed aluminum. The roof, hood and hatch are constructed of high strength carbon fiber while the entire door structure and panels are lightweight aluminum. (By weight, the Viper body is 44% carbon fiber, 27% aluminum, and 22% composites.)
Several Viper models are reportedly planned, including one unexpected name: the Viper Venom. While there have been Viper SRT10 and GTS models (the latter being a racing variant), Venom is new. The name was used in 1994, during Chrysler Corporation's comeback, for a rear-wheel-drive Dodge concept car with Viper cues and classic-Charger-style doors, and may have been a design study for the second-generation LH cars. The name was also used by Hennessy's short-run adapted Vipers, and, more recently, for a paint color.
Some additional information supplied by Automotive Engineering International
- 2013 Viper Power: Engine, transmission, axles
- The 2013 SRT Viper: Suspension, brakes, wheels, and steering
- Viper styling and exterior design
- Our predictions: renderings
Dodge and SRT Vipers at Allpar
- Viper Prototype
- 1992 to 2002 Viper RT/10 and GTS • ACR and GT2 (1998-99)
- 2003-2007: Dodge Viper SRT-10
- 2008-2010 Dodge Vipers
- 2013 and onwards (Specs • Engine • Suspension • Design and Body)