What it Is
new cars: 2008 Dodge Viper SRT10 ACR Preview – It’s hard to imagine that a 600hp, rear wheel drive, V10 American muscle machine might not be enough for some people, but Dodge aims to please with an American Club Racer (ACR) edition of the 2008 Viper SRT10. The improvements to the ACR will come in the form of handling improving tweaks, not more power. With additional weight saving reductions, additional air-flow management, enhanced braking, lightweight wheels and Michelin Pilot Sport Cup tires, the Street and Racing Technology (SRT) division at Dodge are looking to widen the gap between the venom-spitting sports car and the Chevrolet Corvette Z06.
Why it Matters
If you’re looking for a high-powered, rear wheel drive, American sports car under $100,000, your choices are the Chevrolet Corvette Z06, Ford Shelby GT500, or the Dodge Viper SRT10. With 90 more hp than last year, the Viper beats the other two competitors by nearly 100 hp, but rumors are the Corvette will be enjoying nearly 200 extra ponies in the upcoming ZR-1 which means it will outpower the Viper by the same 100 hp margin. Improving power and handling now will give the Viper an edge to keep enthusiast’s interest while Chevy readies the ZR-1 to hit the streets.
by Vernon Heywood
Photo credit: Dodge, Staff
What’s Under the Hood
Under the hood, the 2008 Dodge Viper SRT10 ACR is identical to the non-ACR version. Both are powered by a new 8.4-liter aluminum V10 that produces 600 horsepower and 560 lb-ft. of torque. Power is then run through a Tremec 6-speed manual transmission and a GKN Viscolok speed-sensing limited-slip differential. Braking is improved over the Viper SRT10 by utilizing StopTech lightweight, two-piece, slotted rotors reducing unsprung weight and rotating mass. Michelin Pilot Sport Cup tires which are DOT-approved, street legal race rubber, are mounted on aluminum Sidewinder wheels to get the power to the ground.
What it Looks Like
The Viper is already a sports car that appears to be in a perpetual strike stance whether moving or standing still. The cross-hair grille looks ready to sink it’s fangs into anything that dares get in its way. The 2008 Viper’s menacing looks are enhanced with a redesigned hood featuring functional hood scoop and louvers. The ACR version also features a “fanged” windsplitter, front drive blades and an adjustable rear wing that makes it about the meanest looking thing on the road and should strike terror in the rearview mirrors of more than a few soon to be passed victims.
Dodge doesn’t list what if any extras the Viper SRT10 ACR interior comes with, instead, they list what can be deleted. A “Hard Core” package is available where an additional weight savings of 40-lbs can be gained by deleting the audio system, underhood silencer pad, trunk carpet and tire inflator. A lightweight cover replaces the radio and can be fitted with the included lap timer and the door speakers are replaced with carbon fiber panels. Now owners just need to decide if it’s easier to diet and lose 40-lbs or just learn to hum along to the 560 hp V10.
What Dodge Says
Dodge bills the Viper SRT10 ACR as the “ultimate purpose-built, street legal track car.” The track has always been the only place an enthusiast could really let out the reigns on the Viper so enhancing its track characteristics is the next logical step. The Mopar builder also says that “Aerodynamic improvements, racing suspension and weight savings equal unmatched performance for under $100,000.” Super car performance and still coming in under a 100 large is a combination that’s hard to beat.
What We Think
With 600 hp and no computer controlled handling inputs, the Viper is a pure driving enthusiast’s car, and can instantaneously become more than a handful in even the most capable driver’s hands. Anything that improves handling in this wild beast can only be a welcome improvement and we’ll never turn down better braking. Yet, when we think of the Viper our thoughts immediately turn to the horsepower numbers and when we hear Dodge Viper SRT10 ACR, we have to admit that we are a little disappointed there aren’t a few more drops of horsepower inducing venom running through the V10.