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Racing a Dodge Viper Off-Road in GT7 Feels Naughty But Fun

Racing a Dodge Viper Off-Road in GT7 Feels Naughty But Fun 29 photos
Photo: autoevolution
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Over the next seven days, I'll be behind the wheel of my Skoda Octavia for almost 1,000 miles (1,600 km). It's not as enjoyable as driving the RX-7, but at least it's comfortable.
I knew I'd miss a bit of spirited driving, so I went back to the virtual world of Gran Turismo 7 for some fun. We'll only get to race in the new Online Time Trial two days from now, so I needed to find an alternative route. Several months have gone by since I've done any drifting, so I figured I'd start there. But I have yet to master going sideways in this game, at least when discussing doing it on the tarmac.

When I'm not driving at Tsukuba, Spa, or the Nordschleife, I enjoy going out on Fishermans Ranch. The 6,893-meter long layout is covered in dirt, and I often go out in the Audi Sport quattro S1 Pikes Peak '87 to see if I can drift through all 40 corners. I had a naughty yet fun idea for today's test. I thought I'd get the Bugatti Veyron, fit it with Dirt Tires, and take it out for a spin. But I didn't have one in my garage and didn't feel like purchasing it either. So I browsed through my collection, thinking I'd try several supercars throughout the session.

Dodge Viper GTS '02

Racing a Dodge Viper Off\-Road in GT7 Feels Naughty But Fun
Photo: autoevolution
I drove this car at Big Willow recently and had fun with it. I spotted someone on YouTube who had built a Safari-spec Viper not long ago. But other than that, it's not the car you'd expect to see going all-out on a track like this. After changing the tires, I thought I'd also enhance the soundtrack, so I paid a little extra for an upgraded exhaust system.

Thankfully, racing in Gran Turismo 7 provides a responsibility-free experience. You'd have to be rich, crazy, or both to do this in the real world, but in GT7, there's no need to be afraid of anything. The Viper loves going sideways in the dirt, and it's fairly controllable even after I deactivated the traction control and ABS.

I used my controller for the entire test, so don't be too harsh on judging my lap times: 4:00.448 on the first go. Perhaps I should have focused on driving straight for longer, but where's the joy in doing that? I'd rate this car a 7/10 for the fun factor in off-road racing. And it was the most exciting one out of the bunch here.

Chevrolet Corvette C8

Racing a Dodge Viper Off\-Road in GT7 Feels Naughty But Fun
Photo: autoevolution
My plan needed a change after I realized I couldn't buy dirt tires for the Ferrari F430. I had the same problem when upgrading the Audi R8 V10 and the Mercedes-AMG GT Black Series. I thought my Wangan Monster ZR1 might be fun to drive at Fishermans Ranch.

With so much torque and power, it proved to be a nightmare due to excessive wheelspin. Driving the C8 instead was a lot easier. There was less sideways action than the Viper, and it didn't sound as good either.

But it felt considerably faster throughout the track, even though the result wasn't conclusive at 3:57.173. Imagine seeing a Corvette C8 rally car flying through a stage at 124 mph (200 kph)!

1971 Ford Mustang Mach 1

Racing a Dodge Viper Off\-Road in GT7 Feels Naughty But Fun
Photo: autoevolution
Since I couldn't advance my rally-supercar plan, I thought I'd again stick to an all-American challenge. I enjoyed driving my tuned Ford Mustang Mach 1 around Tsukuba and wanted to see if I'd feel the same way here.

Weighing 2,634 lbs (1,195 kg) with an output of just over 400 horsepower, it's fast. But it's all over the place on dirt and not in a fun way. You'll need gentle throttle and steering inputs to avoid it going sideways all the time.

It sounds glorious with that big V8, but it was rather slow at 4:19.900 per lap. I'll probably revisit it with the steering wheel, but I'm not optimistic about it.

Ford F-150 SVT Raptor '11

Racing a Dodge Viper Off\-Road in GT7 Feels Naughty But Fun
Photo: autoevolution
Browsing through my virtual garage, I realized I had two Raptors. One was bone stock, while the other had 754 bhp and weighed 4,142 lbs (1,879 kg). That's a lot more power and a lot less weight compared to the standard F-150 SVT.

And I think Fishermans Ranch is the only place I've only ever driven it before. It must have been long ago, as I had no recollection of what it drives like. I soon discovered it was a formidable weapon for a challenge like this, as it plowed through every corner, bump, or jump on the road.

It was pretty stable throughout the lap, with no unnecessary drama. It wasn't as fun as the Dodge Viper, but it was almost 23 seconds faster per lap, which is mindblowing for a big car.

Tuned Lamborghini Urus

Racing a Dodge Viper Off\-Road in GT7 Feels Naughty But Fun
Photo: autoevolution
A challenge like this needed an SUV, and the Urus is one of the most powerful ones money can buy today. I hadn't used it since its debut earlier this year when I drove it around Tsukuba, where it needed just under 67 seconds for a fast lap.

Going into "rally" mode, I thought a few more upgrades wouldn't ruin it. So, after a few parts, the twin-turbo V8 now has an output of 713 bhp, while the whole car weighs 4,164 lbs (1,889 kg).

I thought it would be at least as fun to drive as the Raptor, but it wasn't. I'd rate it a 4/10 for the fun factor, with understeer everywhere. But it did manage to pull some insane jumps, and by the end of the test, it was the fastest car on the list with a 3:29.510. That was unexpected!

Tuned Nissan GT-R

Racing a Dodge Viper Off\-Road in GT7 Feels Naughty But Fun
Photo: autoevolution
After four American cars and a European one, I opted for a Japanese "warrior" next. I couldn't just drive a stock 2017 Nissan GT-R after all the insane cars above. So it, too, got some upgrades before the day's final run.

I thought it might take the lead with 655 hp on tap and weighing in at 3,902 lbs (1,770 kg). But it was neither as fast nor exciting as I thought. After spinning out twice, it was almost more difficult to control than both the Raptor and the Urus. I might feel different about using the Logitech G29, but it recorded a 3:42.670 fast lap for now.

That's a similar performance to what I have achieved with various Group B cars previously. But I'm sure many drivers out there could record much faster laps. I just wanted to have fun with this test and show you some cool shots from the track. Doing this may help if you're bored with the game or your day-to-day activities.
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About the author: Dragos Chitulescu
Dragos Chitulescu profile photo

The things Dragos enjoys the most in life are, in no particular order: cars, motorcycles, diecast cars, and drifting. He's seen (and driven) many vehicles since he started his writing career back in 2009, but his garage currently houses a 1991 Mazda RX-7 FC3S Turbo II and a 1999 Suzuki SV650-S.
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