A Chrysler Viper GTS-R That Raced at Le Mans in 1997 Is Heading to Public sale
The Dodge Viper may be one of the defining American sports cars of recent times, but it has a history overseas as well.
A 1996 Chrysler Viper GTS-R that raced at the 24 Hours of Le Mans in the mid-1990s is set to be auctioned off by RM Sotheby’s later this week. The track version of the serpentine coupe didn’t just compete in endurance racing’s biggest event, though; it actually spent a few seasons speeding around all of Europe.
Dodge’s parent company, Chrysler, green-lit a racing program based on the Viper in 1995, six years after the car had made its show-stopping debut at Detroit’s North American International Auto Show. The resulting competition racer was the Viper GTS-R, which would be entered in endurance races in America and Europe over the next decade. In total, 57 examples of the race car were built between 1996 and 2005, and the vehicle would go on to claim three class victories at Le Mans, as well as wins at the Nürburgring and 24 Hours of Spa.
This particular example, chassis GTSR C3, was built at Chrysler’s Featherstone Road Engineering Center in Michigan then prepared for competition and raced by France-based Orcea Engineering. The coupe still wears the team’s white-and-blue racing livery from the 1997 season. Under its hood, you’ll find an 8.0-liter V-10, according to Supercars.net. The mill is mated to a six-speed manual gearbox that sends 612 hp and 590 ft lbs of torque to the rear axle.
This Viper GTS-R made its competitive debut at the 1997 Rolex 24 Hours of Daytona and would also race in that season’s 24 Hours of Le Mans, where the driving team of Justin Bell, John Morton, and Pierre Yver finished in 15th place overall, according to the auction house. Two years later, in 1999, the car earned its best competitive finish when it won the Spanish GT Villa de Condo.
This track version is set to hit the block as part of RM Sotheby’s Le Mans sale, which will be held at the track itself on Friday, June 9, to celebrate the race’s 100th anniversary. Prepare to spend more than you would for a standard street-legal Viper, though. The auction house expects the curvy speed machine to sell for between $650,000 and $750,000.
Click here for more photos of the 1996 Chrysler Viper GTS-R.
Source: Robb Report