While Motor Trend put the 2013 Chevrolet Corvette ZR1 and the 2013 SRT Viper GTS through a myriad of tests to cover everything from acceleration to braking – the real story comes from the results of the lap times turned in around the famed Laguna Seca Raceway in California. With championship SCCA driver Randy Pobst at the helm of each American supercar, the 2013 ZR1 turned in a time of 1:33.70 while Pobst was only able to turn in a best time of 1:35.77 in the new SRT Viper GTS. Also, Pobst’s time of 1:33.70 in the 2013 Corvette ZR1 ranks slightly better than the previous record best of 1:33.99 set a few years back by Chris Winkler in the 2010 Dodge Viper SRT10 ACR so not only has the Motor Trend test given General Motors the bragging rights of having the fastest American supercar (again, on Laguna Seca Raceway) but it also allows GM to claim one of the Viper’s old record lap times.
However, after the folks at Motor Trend announced the dramatic results of their comparison between the 2013 Chevrolet Corvette ZR1 and the new 2013 SRT Viper GTS, SRT CEO Ralph Gilles posted on the social networking site Twitter that “There is a lot more left in the car, Randy has always struggled with the Viper.” Gilles went on to explain that “We have tested both cars at several tracks and never seen a gap like that. Many drivers needlessly fear the Viper.” Ouch.
The Motor Trend piece does point out that the 2013 SRT Viper GTS was scary to drive which may have prompted Gilles’ comment about fearing the Viper. Through the banter on Twitter between Gilles, various followers and Motor Trend correspondent Johnny Lieberman, it was pointed out that the 2013 Viper GTS tested was not fitted with the higher performance Track Package that could make the difference but there is no question that the two second differential between the two modern American supercars is a significant gap. Lieberman also told those folks following the discussion on Twitter that Motor Trend would be happy to take both cars back to Laguna Seca to test them again.
For those unfamiliar with Randy Pobst, he has been competing for many moons in a variety of road racing circuits – most recently spending time in a fully race ready Volvo S60. While Pobst has lots of experience at Laguna Seca throughout his career, it is a questionable comparison to put a guy who spends his time driving a race prepped Volvo sedan in a pair of American rear wheel drive production supercars and expecting these cars to turn in their best times.
Realistically, what I expect will happen is that the Chrysler Group will get ahold of a driver who is more comfortable with the 2013 SRT Viper GTS. Someone like previous record setter Chris Winkler or any of the drivers currently running in the American LeMans Series in the 2013 SRT Viper GTS-R seem to be likely candidates to visit Laguna Seca with the new Viper in an effort to best the Motor Trend lap time of 1:35.77. There is also the possibility that the Chrysler Group will break Motor Trend’s lackluster Laguna Seca lap times with a new Viper GTS fitted with the Track Pack – if not in some future high performance trimline such as the ACR package that set so many records with the 2010 model year Viper.