In the US the Chevrolet Corvette ZR1 reigns supreme at road racing tracks stretching from Watkins Glen to Laguna Seca. Or, should we say, reigned supreme… Chrysler Group’s Street and Racing Technology (SRT) guys got their hands dirty at the base in Auburn Hills, Michigan, and churned out their latest track weapon thanks to collaboration with professional racers. The result is a street-legal 2014 SRT Viper TA (Time Attack) developed specifically to taunt ZR1s at any one of North America’s 150 racing courses.
The TA will be making its official debut at the New York show on March 27 — wheels is already packing its bags and will be ringside bringing you all the coverage from the Big Apple you’ll ever need — before just 33 examples of the special edition model start making their way to 33 lucky owners.
But straight away there is a problem — the Viper TA weighs 1,518kg, which is a saving of a whopping 3kg over the stock Viper. Compared to the C6 Corvette ZR1 that’s 10kg portlier. But that’s no big deal, because up front the TA hides an all-aluminium 8.4-litre V10 rated at 640bhp and a ridiculous 814Nm of torque from 4,950rpm, with natural aspiration — the supercharged ZR1 beats that by a tiny margin with 819Nm, but falls short on the horsepower count by just 2bhp.
In any case, we can probably all agree that the two best American supercars in recent years don’t lack much when it comes to grunt. In the case of the Viper TA, the SRT team focussed rather on increasing dynamic agility of the hand-built car — 50:50 weight distribution and the “largest contact patch in the production car world” are good starts.
“Our engineers revised the suspension settings to refocus the Viper specifically for track duty — using a blend of components from the GTS and the SRT models, add in the extensively developed aero package, and the new Time Attack package is born,” said Ralph Gilles, president and CEO of SRT.
The suspension on the 2014 SRT Viper TA is uniquely tuned and upgraded to suit the new Pirelli P Zero Corsa tyres mounted on ultra-lightweight Sidewinder II wheels. Two-mode Bilstein dampers are firmer, and the stabiliser bars have been retuned as well. Instead of the aluminium X-brace there is now a much lighter and stronger carbon-fibre brace tying the four corners of the engine bay together and stiffening up the chassis — in fact the Viper TA is 50 per cent more torsionally rigid than the stock model.
Brembo took care of braking with improved thermal capacity and heat dissipation so you can stomp on the middle pedal time after time at the end of that straight. All 33 Viper TAs will come in Crusher Orange paint with black TA logos and matte black wheels. Exterior aerodynamic aids include carbon splitters and rear wing as well as composite accents, while the interior gets Sabelt racing seats in a lightweight fibreglass shell and three- or six-point harnesses. Now where’s that ZR1 hiding?