The 2013 Corvette ZR1 and the 2013 SRT Viper
Patrick Rall's picture

The Corvette ZR1 beats the 2013 Viper GTS in Motor Trend test - SRT blames the driver

The folks at Motor Trend recently took the 2013 Chevrolet Corvette ZR1 and the 2013 SRT Viper GTS to Mazda Laguna Seca Raceway with the bowtie-clad supercar coming away the winner – but it comes with a bit of controversy due to their driver choice according to the people at Chrysler.

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.

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Comments

what a shock the guys at motor trend outran the zl1 in the gt500 with the same driver but give the win to gm because it had a smoother ride and pobst said he was uncomfortable in the gt500. [or was it fear ]
its proven until now Viper holds more records in some other tracks apart from Mazda raceway than Chevy Corvette. While the last is an extremely well balanced and track ready car, the Viper should get better times. Vette has its flaws, chassis balance is one of them. It would be so interesting to see a Viper with carbon ceramic brakes and driven by expert Viper hands. Please note these cars are not for drivers that are not fully prepared and fearless. With all my respect to the tester. Hope to see how this matter rolls with the past of the time but the conclussion will be the same as ever. Viper is faster.
"the viper is faster" lol.... ok. You mean the ridiculously track prep'd ACR is quicker? Btw, the ZR1 just destroyed VIR and now owns that one as well. Lemme guess, you want to see an ACR with a huge front splitter and a wing that adds 10x more average downforce than the ZR1 as well, right? Also, the Vette has a been centerline balance than the Viper... not to mention it's confidence inspiring suspension is superior. "Viper holds more records is some other tracks", maybe you should really do some research.... the Vette owns many as well, on several tracks the ACR was tested. Oh, the Ring you say? Well, maybe GM should rent the track for the entire day, bring two cars, pit after each lap to make adjustments after a dozen or so laps...just like Viper Club of America did. Honestly, a 140k Car loses to a ZR1 that is now on a dated platform....Dodge had many years to get this one right, and while an improvement, it sure doesn't make leaps and bounds over the last Viper. Btw, you say "let's give it to an expert Viper driver"....lol, you could say the same for the ZR1. Can't wait for GM to put a stupid wing and huge splitter on the ZR1 like the ACR has. "the Viper is faster"... nice biased opinion that is clearly unsubstantiated. Not this time. They are both outstanding supercar bargains.... but a lot of the claims you make are clearly unwarranted opinions. The Corvette is just "a better car"... and that's my opinion as well as many, many others.
its proven until now Viper holds more records in some other tracks apart from Mazda raceway than Chevy Corvette. While the last is an extremely well balanced and track ready car, the Viper should get better times. Vette has its flaws, chassis balance is one of them. It would be so interesting to see a Viper with carbon ceramic brakes and driven by expert Viper hands. Please note these cars are not for drivers that are not fully prepared and fearless. With all my respect to the tester. Hope to see how this matter rolls with the past of the time but the conclussion will be the same as ever. Viper is faster.
Why not let each manufacturer pick it's own best driver? let a guy who spends regular time in the car run a series of laps and see what their best time is? At best it will be very close... These are two ridiculously fast and capable cars, each worthy of the "supercar" title. Just like in these posts, it is hard to find one driver that will be completely objective... so let each car's best driver compete!
So your trying to tell me the vette has a supercharger and barly beat the viper gts (the more luxury trim viper) and not the viper with the track pack? And took them two years to slitghtly beat the acr? Hmmm something tells me SRT will put a better driver more accustom to the viper to beat the vette and not use the gts model but the track option. Just imagine if the viper had a supercharger lol. Looks like the vette needs a handicap to keep up withthe viper haha
You are comparing the club racer ACR vs the ZR1, a street car, as is the Z06. While I personally wouldn't buy a ZR1 because of the supercharger, don't forget that even the Z06 at 1:34:43 is faster than the new SRT GTS. I agree with you in that I think SRT and GM should bring out their test drivers (and a track-pack as well as a Z06) so there's no excuse for the Viper fanbois. How can SRT suggest Randy isn't qualified, give me a break, my Z06 or any ZR1 is not easily tamed, it's not like we're talking about a GTR which everyone and their mother can drive. I think Ralph might want to reconsider doing another "head to head" with test drivers, as it wouldn't surprise me if even the Z06 turns out a faster time AGAIN, which I think GM should also bring out. It would be funny to see a Z06 render the new Viper obsolete "motor to motor" as they say, nevermind the ZR1, C7 Z51, or the upcoming replacement for the Z06 and ZR1. Who knows maybe a new ACR will prove more worthy. For what it's worth I do envy the Vipers power potential in naturally aspirated form. I wouldn't be surprised to see plenty 800whp Vipers "on motor" with just a heads/cam package and full intake/exhaust, within a years time. After seeing these recent reviews though, I can say my C6Z will suffice for now.