In early December 2011, the governing body of the Rolex 24 at Daytona announced that the 2012 event would see the return of the mighty Dodge Viper Competition Coupe to the grueling 24 hour race. The Dodge Viper (or Chrysler Viper, depending on where they were racing) was a major player in the GT class of Grand Am endurance racing with a handful of class and overall wins around the world in the 1990s. Unfortunately, as the Viper program evolved through the new millennium, the teams that previous relied on the Viper moved on to other vehicles and the Dodge Viper entered a 10 year hiatus from the endurance racing world. Thanks to the folks at Racers Edge Motorsports, 2012 would mark the end of that hiatus with the Rolex 24 at Daytona marking the triumphant return of the ultimate American supercar to the Grand Am Series.
Sadly, as the event drew to a close last night, the Racers Edge Dodge Viper Competition Coupe fell well short of winning the class or the event as a whole – finishing a disappointing 55th overall and completing just 101 laps during the 24 hour event. Roughly 4.5 hours into the event, Racers Edge reported that their Viper had left the track due to a mechanical issue relating to the fuel delivery system that was amplified by a variety of electrical sensor issues. Considering that Racers Edge made the decision to go with the aging Viper Competition Coupe less than two months before the difficult event, it doesn’t come as a huge surprise that they had some issues in their first major outing and as the team moves forward, Mopar racing enthusiasts can likely expect a better showing from the experienced endurance racing team piloting the new Viper entry.
For comparison, the overall winning team lead by NASCAR driver AJ Allmendinger completed 761 laps during the 24 hour race in their Daytona Prototype (DP Class) vehicle and the top finisher in the Viper’s GT Class was a Porsche 911 GT3 that completed 727 laps.
While this is certainly a far cry from the winning days of the early Dodge Viper Competition Coupe program, it should be pointed out that the Dodge Viper has been out of production for going on two years now so while other teams hit the track with the newest technology available, Racers Edge did so with a car that was essentially designed over three years ago. Also, they entered into this highly contested event with an older vehicle platform with less than two months planning and practice so as the season progresses; we hope to see the Racers Edge/3Dimensional.com Dodge Viper Competition Coupe have a much stronger showing.