So, how similar to drive are the Viper
GTS-R I’ll be racing in the TUDOR United
SportsCar Championship’s GT Le Mans
class and the GT3-R version that’s
currently being developed by Riley
Technologies for GT Daytona? The short
answer is, they’re very different. But
that’s the way it was intended to be.
The GT3-R is a development of the
GTS-R, and the early testing I’ve been
involved in already shows that it has a lot
of potential. It has to run in a much
different configuration than we have in
GT Le Mans for the simple reasons
that there’s no traction control, it has
a completely different engine package,
and the electronics are a little different.
Basically, it’s been created without the
GT Le Mans class driver aids included,
and you feel that when you’re driving it.
Those kind of tools help to get the most
performance possible out of a car and, as
a professional, it’s my job to use them to
best effect. But they are very expensive,
which isn’t the concept for GT3 racing.
Also, those driver aids are nice for a
really fast road car – they’re things for
an enthusiast to use to not get into any
dangerous situations – but for a pro-am
driver, it’s better to leave them behind and
really learn how to drive a racecar without
the car doing so much of the work for you.
And in that respect, I think a very good job
has been done with the SRT Viper GT3-R.
As confirmation of that, take a guy
like Ben Keating, who bought the first
GT3-R Viper. In the tests that we’ve done
so far, he’s already shown he can handle
that car very well and master it, and
there shouldn’t be any reason why other
people can’t do the same thing. Sure, Ben
has a lot of Viper Cup experience, but the
GT3-spec Viper, a GT Daytona class car, is
on another level, so it’s very satisfying to
see him able to perform so well with it.
Some GT3 cars come with certain
things they do extremely well and other
areas that are only average. The best
situation, I believe, is to build a car that
does everything very well, without having
any big highs or lows, which is exactly
what Riley has done. Too often you drive
a GT3 car and it’s all about compromises.
For example, you might have excellent
braking, or great traction, but you give
up too much in top speed. That’s not the
case with the Viper GT3-R.
It’s still very early in the development of
this car, and it will be competing with cars
that have many years of experience in
GT3, but I don’t see any big compromises
or any areas where it sacrifices one thing
to be good elsewhere. In time, I think the
Viper GT3-R has the potential to become
a popular choice for drivers who not only
want to win, but have their own unique
car and identity on the track.
THE DRIVER’S VIEW
“Driver aids are nice for a
really fast road car – but for
a pro-am driver it’s better
to leave them behind”
“The bodywork for the GT3-R comes
from the same molds as the GTS-R,
which is efficient, plus they look just like
the Le Mans cars,” says Riley. “So it’s
a proven product aerodynamically. As
a side benefit, it helps put the car into a
pretty good price range because we’re
able to save on production costs.”
GOOD HOMES WANTED FOR SNAKES