The new 2013 SRT Viper won't start rolling from the factory in Detroit for a few months yet, but Chrysler engineers have been sweating for months to hit another deadline -- building the GTS-R version for a racing debut in the American Le Mans Series this year. Hear the first turn on the track of the reborn Viper below.
The drive earlier this month in South Carolina was meant to simply shakedown the car's components, ensuring everything worked as expected before harder tests later this month. Vipers dominated global GT racing a decade ago, and a Viper still holds the production car record lap for the Nürburgring. The ALMS GT class today typically features a two-way fight between Corvettes and BMWs, with Ferrari 458 Italias and Porsche 911s close behind. There's no way to know how well the Viper will match up from the start, but the expectations from history say it should lead the pack quickly.
Other stories from around the automotive world this morning:
China auto glut builds as shipments outrun sales: Note to self: When automakers talk about sales in China, they're only disclosing sales to dealers, not actual retail sales. The slowdown in the Chinese economy means new cars have stacked up on the dealers lots -- but factory managers haven't cut production yet. I'm sure everything will be fine, what with the perfect and accurate flow of information there. (Bloomberg)
The man who knew what was right, and wrong, with GM: A great tribute to former GM research chief Al Mair by industry analyst John Casesa, who reveals that Mair had a detailed diagnosis and solution for many of GM's vehicle problems that the company didn't want to hear -- in 1985. (Automotive News)
Taxi from "The Fifth Element" to be auctioned: It'd be the perfect centerpiece for an Applebee's in France. (Classic Driver)
Safety officials probe Toyota, Honda, GMC SUVs: (Wall Street Journal)
Nissan announces production of funky e-NV200 electric van: I've got $10 saying New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg will be on the horn asking when these can be painted taxicab yellow and built with monitors that reject riders carrying 24-oz. sodas. (Autoblog Green)
24 Hours of LeMons: The winners: Only the competitors really care about who finishes a LeMons race. The real story here is the engineering behind powering a Toyota MR2 with a five-cylinder radial airplane engine.