Chrysler has launched production of a track-ready version of the new Viper in a bid to put sales of the domestic supercar into high gear.
Dubbed the SRT Viper TA – short for Time Attack – Chrysler’s performance division plans to produce just 159 of the special models set to blast into showrooms this month for a price of $123,080. The “base” Viper starts at $97,395.
Chrysler first revealed the Viper TA at the New York Auto Show, last spring and has revised some of its plans for the special edition since then, boosting output from an original 33 TAs, with production originally expected to begin several months ago. A total of 93 of the track-ready models will be painted in a unique “TA Orange” paint – originally dubbed Crush Orange – with 33 more in Venom Black and 33 in Bright White.
“We’re shifting to more pre-packaged models like the TA,” Ralph Gilles, SRT president and chief executive officer, told TheDetroitBureau.com.
One reason is the higher transaction price Chrysler can generate for the special versions – but with sales of the stock Viper lagging expectations, it also appears SRT is revising its strategy in a bid to target specific niche markets for the car. Gilles admitted the launch of the Viper has been slower than planned since its return to production last year.
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“There are literally thousands” of potential buyers who might want a pre-packaged Viper that simplifies the sometimes complex task of trying to spec out the supercar with all the available options, said Gilles.
Makers like Chrysler has often produced special track models over the years, largely aiming at the select few customers who actually want to campaign in racing programs such as those sponsored by the SCCA. But there are more opportunities lately for buyers who, as Gilles puts it, want to “exercise” their machines on an estimated 150 road-race courses around North America now open to advanced amateurs interested in clocking a little track time.
“The new 2014 SRT Viper TA is engineered for the serious performance enthusiast who needs a car that can be driven daily yet has mind-boggling limits on a road course that would rival many track-only cars,” noted a Chrysler release on the limited-edition model. “As one of the best handling and fastest supercars available on the market today, the TA enables our customers to take their passion for high performance driving to the next level.”
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Based on the sportiest – and lightest – version of the Viper in the lineup, the TA Special Edition Package weighs in at just 3,390 pounds. Equipped with the stock all-aluminum 8.4-liter, mid-front V-10 overhead-valve engine, Chrysler claims the SRT Viper churns out the most torque of any naturally aspirated sports-car engine in the world, at 640 horsepower and 600 lb.-ft. of torque.
Specific modifications for the Viper TA include new spring rates, dampers, sway bars and brake components, combined as a system with Viper’s optional advanced aerodynamics package.
The aero kit includes carbon fiber front splitters and rear spoiler to boost downforce at higher speeds – up to a 700% increase at 150 mph. In addition, a lighter, carbon fiber structural X-brace replaces the standard aluminum brace under the hood and ties the four corners of the engine compartment together, contributing to the 50% increase in torsional rigidity, critical to better ride and handling, according to Chrysler.
The calibration for the two-mode Bilstein DampTronic suspension system, retuned springs, shocks and road-racing derived sway bars offer firmer levels of damping.
The standard Pirelli P Zero Corsa tires are mounted on ultra-lightweight, multi-spoke Sidewinder II wheels. The brake calipers feature a black anodized finish with the Viper logo shown in TA Orange.
Paul A. Eisenstein contributed to this report.