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New Viper ’ring run: in progress (revised)

by David Zatz on

A crowdfunded effort to race a Dodge Viper at the Nürburgring track, with Dominik and Mario Farnbacher driving twin stock-condition 2017 Vipers, took place yesterday.  in the team’s words, from their Facebook page: (revised, Sunday 11:24 am)

Hello, Viper Nation. Today was a big day, with mixed results. Firstly, the weather was good, perhaps too good. It was one of the hottest days of the year at the track and the pavement temperature was 112°. This caused a loss of grip and shortened the window of tire life for our very sticky Kumhos.

Viper at Ring Run

We turned a bunch of 7:03s, but couldn’t break out of 7:03. Rather than beating up the cars, we brought them in and are waiting for another set of fresh tires and will make another attempt if we can get a bit more track time. Hopefully, we can catch a break on ambient and track temperatures.

Viper ring


None of us gets more than 5 hours of sleep a night.  … Dale Lomas, the journalist for Road & Track (covering this attempt) is an expert at The Ring [and] … told us that we are crazy to think that we can book an hour or two or three and expect to beat Porsche, who spent weeks at the track with their full compliment of engineers, drivers, and three cars, waiting for the exact right conditions. How many 7:03s do you think they ran before they got a lap like a 6:57? …

Everybody is working for free to get this done. Many of the guys, like Bernie Katz, Joe Kallas, and Dick Winkles, are away from their paying jobs to make this happen.

If you want my opinion of the pivotal issue, it does have to do with tires. The Kumhos are the closest thing to a race tire that’s street legal. They are very soft, sticky, and good. The thing that is their advantage on shorter tracks, is our disadvantage at the Ring. We are overheating them. They were not designed for 13 mile long single laps (with VERY rough pavement), in extreme summer temps. When we go out for a flyer, you must do one lap to warm them up and then go for it. That’s 26 miles at this track. That’s like doing eleven hard laps at Mid Ohio. … Dale Lomas said that if we camped out and could catch the exact right day where it wasn’t so hot that we over-cooked the tires, we’d cut 5 seconds off our time (that would be a 6:58).

I can’t express how great and supportive all the guys from Kumho have been. They have given us as many tires as we want, and even chipped in for us to come back the second time. They see that the car and tires will do it…

No matter what happens, here’s what you need to know: There is a 6:58 in this car on Kumho street tires. Kumho is the greatest supporter of Viper in the world, and we did this on a shoe string budget. …

Guys, I’ll put our Vipers against any of the best exotics. The fact that there’s even a competition between a million dollar Porsche and a $140,000 Viper, says it all. Thanks for the support and don’t think that because we don’t post the times every second that we don’t care or are holding back….we’re just really busy trying to get set up for our next attempt. A special thanks to Bernie Katz who is sharing this burden, the drivers who show up at their own expense, and the crew who left their jobs and homes to help us because they love the car. It ain’t over yet. Pray for DHL shipments and good weather.

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