When Motor Trend tested the Chevrolet Corvette ZR1 and the SRT Viper GTS some months back, the results didn’t sit too well with SRT boss Ralph Giles.
Determined to gain back a measure of revenge, SRT decided to expedite the build of the car it deemed as capable of wasting away the ZR1’s glory. And so, at the New York Auto Show, SRT will be bringing the latest Viper incarnation, the Viper TA.
The “TA” stands for Time-Attack, which shows you the reason why SRT decided to build the car in the first place. It comes with a host of new improvements to the suspension and handling, critical areas where the SRT GTS fell short of in its throw-down with the ZR1.
But the question is, does it all matter, or does the ZR1 just have the Viper’s number?
Not a lot of exterior changes were done to the Viper TA from the standard model. It does come with a new Crusher Orange paint, which looks pretty awesome on the sports car. Plus, a number of 2D TA logos can be found just behind both front wheels with a black Stryker logo on the front fascia and a new set of matte black, ultra-lightweight Sidewinder II wheels.
The Viper TA does come with an advanced exterior aerodynamics package, featuring carbon-fiber components that include front splitters, a rear spoiler and a carbon-fiber rear applique that not only adds accentuates the rear width proportions of the sports car, but also provides performance improvements as well.
The interior package for the Viper TA isn’t extensive, but it’s also not something you can just sneeze at. It also comes with the same premium ballistic fabric racing seats from Sabelt that the standard Viper has, as well as options to accommodate either a 3- or 6-point harness for the racing belts.
Meanwhile, the Crusher Orange color applied to the body of the Viper TA can also be found on the interior in the form of accent stitching on the cloth seats, instrument panel center stack, console, pull brake, shifter boot, shifter head, steering wheel and upper doors.
The engine powering the Viper TA isn’t different, too. It comes powered with an 8.4-liter V-10 overhead-valve engine that produces 640 horsepower and 600 pound-feet of torque. The latter, in particular, is very impressive because that’s the highest level of torque any naturally aspirated sports-car engine in the world produces.
Performance numbers have yet to be released but Motor Trend did some testing and found out that it’s the fastest Viper on the block, capable of hitting 60 mph in 3.3 seconds with a quarter-mile ET of 11.3 seconds at 129.3 mph. As for top speed, we expect it to also be north of the 206 mph mark set by the standard model, possibly even hitting 210 mph.
Suspension and Handling
The biggest difference between the standard Viper and the Viper TA lies in the suspension, as the latter comes with one that has been uniquely tuned and upgraded specifically for on-track use.
The installation of a two-mode Bilstein Damptronic suspension system may not be a sexy addition, but with firmer levels of damping and a smaller spread between modes than what you can find on the current Viper models, that difference makes for improved handling for the Viper TA model.
A host of other suspension components have been retuned for the specific purpose of improving the sports car’s on-track credentials. Shock dampers, springs and road-racing-derived stabilizer bars were all given the ’ol bump in class, while the standard aluminum structural X-brace was taken out in favor of a lighter carbon-fiber brace that ties the four corners of the engine compartment together. Again, not exactly standard fare, but the 50-percent improvement in torsional rigidity and stiffness ensures that this baby can handle the rigors of some of the meanest race tracks in the world.
Finally, the car’s brakes were also improved, thanks to a tie-up with Brembo and the co-development of a system that increases thermal capacity and optimizes heat dissipation providing improved extreme use.
No word on pricing yet but we expect the Viper TA to retail north of the $120,000 price tag of the Viper GTS. What we do know is that only 33 units will be made which makes it all that more exclusive.
It’s no secret that Viper built the TA model as a response to Chevrolet’s Corvette ZR1, especially after the latter spanked the Viper GTS at Laguna Seca, drawing the ire of SRT boss Ralph Giles.
Well, Giles now has an opportunity to redeem SRT with the Viper TA and if you want to see how this track-focused Viper did against the Corvette ZR1, we invite you to watch this Ignition episode from Motor Trend to see whether the Viper TA does strike back against its nemesis.
Well, the Viper TA did it. Professional driver Randy Pobst managed to clock a time attack lap time of 1:33.62 at Laguna Seca, besting the ZR1’s then record time of 1:33.69.
Ultimately, that’s all Giles probably cared about and if you’re in the same line of thinking as he is, that’s probably all that matters too.
The ZR1 threw down the gauntlet and the Viper TA picked it up and run away with it.