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2008 Dodge Viper SRT10 ACR Preview

A little more bite for those who just can't get enough.

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by Bengt Halvorson

The rumbling, bad-boy Dodge Viper already has no problem asserting its presence, whether on boulevard cruises or race tracks, but a new version just announced takes the latter to the extreme for track days.

The new ACR looks to provide more than the modest suspension improvements and cosmetic identifiers of the 1999 Viper ACR (American Club Racer). The 2008 ACR includes some sophisticated, racing-derived features.

The bold two-tone paint scheme, running longitudinally along the car, is unmistakable; the ACR comes finished in a unique two-tone paint scheme, with five possible exterior colors, and it can also be embellished with an optional driver's stripe in Viper Red or Viper Black ACR.

But that's certainly not all visually. Most notably, the ACR brings a huge rear wing. Not altogether placed where designers would cosmetically choose to do so, it's a sign that this Viper really means business at triple-digit velocities. The adjustable rear wing, sculpted with computational fluid dynamics, is part of a set of aerodynamic improvements - all formed in autoclaved carbon fiber with unidirectional and woven laminated - including a variable geometry, "fanged" front splitter and optimized front dive planes. With these additional components, aerodynamics are tuned simply for maximum downforce and lateral grip. The splitter in front is supported by stainless-steel tension cables and "designed to absorb energy from minor upward deflections." Each car also includes a track extension for close-circuit events, serving to reduce overall drag and increase front downforce by nearly one third.

The ACR takes the SRT10's street-and-track suspension and modifies it specifically for track duty, including special height-adjustable coil-over racing dampers, machined in solid aluminum billet, from KW Suspensions. A stiffer front stabilizer bar and lightweight forged-aluminum Sidewinder wheels - finished in gloss-black paint and mounted with street-legal Michelin Sport Pilot Cup tires - help supplement the modifications. StopTech slotted, curved-fin brake rotors, matched with Brembo calipers, provide stopping distances from 60 mph in less than 100 feet.

But here's where there's a little compromise involved. Racers typically want the most weight savings possible, so the ACR package takes that to the tee, deleting the audio system and door speakers, removing the underhood silencer pad and trunk carpeting, and even deleting the tire inflator. The audio panel is replaced with a configurable lap timer. On the outside, the front fog lamps are gone, too, replaced by lightweight filler panels. There's also an available Hard Core Package, which saves another 40 pounds, for a then-total weight savings versus the SRT10 of about 80 pounds.

The Viper SRT10's 8.4-liter V-10 engine, newly reengineered for 2008 and now making 600 horsepower and 560 pound-feet of torque is carried over into the ACR version, along with the Tremec T56 six-speed manual transmission and GKN Viscolok speed-sensing limited-slip differential. The engine benefits from improvements to the cooling system, plus new iron cylinder liners, cross-bolted main bearing caps, and powder-metal forged connecting rods. New CNC-shaped cylinder heads with larger valves and variable valve timing cap the new V-10, improving response and efficiency, and a new two-piece intake manifold brings better airflow.

No word yet on how the weight savings, suspension improvements, and aerodynamics affect the numbers that matter, but we'll keep you posted as soon as Dodge released more info. The new ACR version will arrive in showrooms the second quarter of next year at a MSRP under $100,000, according to the automaker.

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This image is a stock photo and is not an exact representation of any vehicle offered for sale. Advertised vehicles of this model may have styling, trim levels, colors and optional equipment that differ from the stock photo.