SRT Vipers Dropping Out of 2014 Le Mans

SRT Viper GTS-R 1 photo
Photo: SRT
It looks like the 2014 24 Hours of Le Mans is shaping up to be an overly dramatic event even before it begins. Earlier this year we were more than thrilled when we saw Porsche returning to the Circuit de la Sarthe with its 919 Hybrid, but now we have disappointing news for the GTLM class, where Chrysler’s SRT will be dropping the two Vipers from the race.
Ralph Gilles, SRT president and CEO, recently announced that the pair Vipers will not make it to the endurance festival. Nonetheless, the Viper motorsports program will carry out throughout the year, but only on American soil.

We regretfully and respectfully decline to participate in this year’s 24 Hours of Le Mans,” said Ralph Gilles, president and CEO of SRT (Street and Racing Technology) Brand and Motorsports. “We are honored to once again be invited by the [race organizer, the Automobile Club de l’Ouest] to compete in this historic event, and they were the first to be informed of our decision. We will remain focused on our North American racing program in 2014.”

As for the reason behind the decision, SRT is keeping its lips sealed, so we have to turn to the rumour mill. Some point out that the North American racing season has grown for this year and thus participating in both this and Le Mans would require too much of an effort.

Well, nobody buys that story. How could one do so when the SRT Viper’s slow sales caused Chrysler to decrease production earlier this month? This is all a very, very sad story, especially considering how much of a marvel the SRT Viper proved to be during our test drive.

Another side effect of the SRT Viper’s Le Mans withdrawal will be that we won’t get to see it battling it out with the new Corvette C7.R. The new Corvette race car hasn’t done so well until now and we were hoping to see it shape up for the Le Mans battle.

Autoweek asked an SRT source whether the Le Mans axing had anything to do with the poor sales and the response was a negative one - “No, motorsports and product strategy are two separate business functions."

While that statement may be true, it is obvious that a heftier customer base would’ve allowed for more racing indulgence. Thus, the conclusion is simple - you perople should go out there and buy a Viper!

Via: Autoweek
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About the author: Andrei Tutu
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In his quest to bring you the most impressive automotive creations, Andrei relies on learning as a superpower. There's quite a bit of room in the garage that is this aficionado's heart, so factory-condition classics and widebody contraptions with turbos poking through the hood can peacefully coexist.
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