The feud between the Corvette and the Viper isn't new. Owners and fans have gotten into enough forum flame wars to burn down half the galaxy. But it's rare that the manufacturers get so directly involved as in the case of the 2014 SRT Viper TA.
As you may know, the Viper TA was essentially built as a response to a track test between the Corvette ZR1 and the Viper GTS at Laguna Seca, performed by Motor Trend
. The ZR1 won the day, and took home a new production car lap record. The SRT team wasn't happy with that. The 2014 SRT Viper TA--and regaining the Laguna Seca lap record--is the result of that dissatisfaction.
The TA in the name stands for Time Attack, and it's a special package made with track days--and track records--in mind. Built from the standard SRT Viper, not the GTS, the Viper TA gets retuned two-mode Bilstein Damptronic dampers, much like the GTS, but with firmer overall settings and a smaller gap between the two modes.
Springs and anti-roll bars are also retuned for track use, and a new carbon fiber X-brace is used in place of the standard aluminum unit.
Aero tweaks also help track performance, with carbon fiber front splitter and rear spoiler adjusting airflow. A rear carbon fiber applique blings up the track-focused theme.
Having spent some time on track behind the wheel of the new Viper ourselves, we'd welcome the opportunity to test the TA package's improvements.
As SRT chief Ralph Gilles puts it, "Our engineers revised the suspension settings to refocus the Viper specifically for track duty, using a blend of components from the GTS and the SRT models, add in the extensively developed aero package and the new Time Attack package is born. We’re not only saluting the existing capabilities of our current models, we’re also targeting another niche in our customer base with a tremendously capable track machine."
Beyond those tweaks, the rest of the TA kit is essentially aesthetic, with black anodized brake calipers wearing a Crusher Orange Viper logo, matching the Crusher Orange paint job on the car, and matte black Sidewinder II wheels.
Inside, the equipment is all standard Viper, with Crusher Orange accent stitching on black upholstery.
The SRT Viper TA weighs in at 3,348 pounds and generates the standard 640 horsepower and 600 pound-feet of torque as the rest of the SRT Viper range.
Only 33 units of the Viper TA will be built, sadly meaning many of these cars will be bought as collector's items rather than for their intended--and rather harsh, crash-prone--use on the track.
Of course, the TA isn't likely to be the only track-focused new Viper built, nor is it likely to be the most hardcore. If the last generation's ACR and ACR-X models are any indication, there's much, much more in store from SRT.
The public debut of the 2014 SRT Viper TA will come next week at the New York Auto Show
. Construction will begin in the third quarter of 2013.