The Dodge Viper will be no more after this year, capped with a run of track-only ACR-X models. But Dodge brand president and CEO Ralph Gilles hopes the car will live on as so many good cars do--on the race track.
All of the ACR-Xs planned for the first production run are already spoken for, but demand has been so high Dodge is considering a second batch. But however many are turned out this year, the line will be shut down. But because the ACR-X is being built specifically for the Viper Cup Series, Gilles hopes the car will continue to stay in the spotlight even as it lies dormant.
The Viper is already a fairly popular race car in other series, but to keep the Viper from running away from its class, it's typically restricted heavily. The Viper Cup Series will let the cars run unfettered, making it one of the fastest and most powerful spec series on the planet.
This may not be the last we hear of the Viper, but if or when it does return, it's likely to be a very different car. Rumors of a return in 2012, sourced to Gilles himself, indicate the Viper name's halo value is too big to just let it die. But lighter weight and a more fuel-efficient powerplant are going to be a necessity for it to make a comeback, particularly as governmental fuel and emissions regulations clamp down on the industry.
The Viper Cup Series kicks off its first race July 9-11 at Virginia International Raceway. Five other dates are planned, including an August race at Hallett Raceway in Oklahoma, September 11-12 at Pocono Raceway, October 1-3 at Miller Motorsports Park, and October 22-24 at Daytona International Speedway. Each weekend will feature two races with about $35,000 total in cash and prizes available to the first five finishers.
[Dodge via YouTube]