Viper returning to Le Mans to take on Corvette
By Mark Atkinson for MSN Autos
Well, that sure took a while... After a 12-year factory-support drought, the iconic Viper is returning to Le Mans. Back when it was still a Dodge (well, Chrysler, actually) and not an SRT, the ORECA-run Viper GTS-R was the squad and car to beat during the 24 Hours of Le Mans, scoring three class one-two finishes from 1998-2000. By the time Dodge pulled the financial plug, it had also torn up the FIA GT championship, the ALMS championship, and the Rolex 24 at Daytona.
Of course, this was just when things were getting 'interesting' with the folks from Corvette Racing, who without any serious competition quickly became the 'big dogs' in endurance racing.
Now that rivalry is set to reignite this June after SRT Motorsport accepted their official invitation to race at the 'twice-around-the-clock' special in France. The team will prep both of its Viper GTS-Rs for their most demanding race yet, while each car can run a maximum of three drivers throughout the race. That also means a Canadian to root for as Montrealer Kuno Wittmer has been re-confirmed as one of the team's returning drivers for 2013. He'll be joined by Marc Goosens, Tommy Kendall, Dominik Farnbacher and Jonathan Bomarito.
If you only count five and not six, congrats. We'd expect SRT to find another top-notch 'temp' who has a couple weeks in June to spare. Indycar champ Ryan Hunter-Reay had that spot during the ALMS' 10-hour Petit Le Mans last October, but would be questionable given he's hoping to repeat in his own series.
The Vipers will run in the GTE Pro class against other big-dollar teams from Ferrari, Porsche, Aston Martin, and of course, Corvette. Can't wait for the green flag to drop on June 22.