Celebrate Viper’s 30th Birthday Behind the Wheel at Radford Racing School
Calling all Viper fans! Viper owners get 20% off any Radford course in 2022 – the 30th birthday of this iconic vehicle – and Viper lovers can opt into driving one of Radford’s Vipers by upgrading a 1-, 2- or 3-day High Performance Driving course to make it a total Viper Experience.
Viper, the 645-horsepower 2-seater vehicle from Dodge, first went on sale 30 years ago and has since become legendary, just like Radford Racing School (which is 53 years old). Acceleration in a Viper from 0 to 60 takes less than 4.5 seconds and top speed can reach over 200 mph.
In the late 1980s, the president of Chrysler (now Stellantis), Bob Lutz, brought together a group of car lovers to make a “Cobra-beater,” referring to the Ford Shelby Cobra, with better acceleration and braking times. The team used a V10 engine, new five-speed manual transmission, and independent front suspension parts to make the Viper muscle car. Designer Tom Gale fashioned the clay model and then-CEO Lee Iacocca enthusiastically approved the Viper project to move forward.
The first Dodge Viper concept was a highlight at the 1989 Detroit auto show, with a 400-hp, 465-lb-ft, 8.0-liter V-10 engine co-developed by Chrysler-owned Lamborghini, a six-speed manual transmission, and stripped down extras – no side windows, air conditioning, stability control, ABS, or roof and exterior door handles.
At its introduction, the Viper not only beat the Cobra, but also the Corvette and Porsche 911 Carrera 2.
Through the years, Viper’s power and torque increased and the original roadster became available in a coupe. Dodge’s SRT team got involved and debuted the Viper SRT-10 in 2003, featuring 8.3 liters and 500 hp. Performance piqued with a lighter car weight. Two years later, Viper was at 510 hp. Three years later, it had 600 hp with 500-lb ft of torque. Features included a six-speed manual gearbox, limited-slip differential and other enhancements that put the Viper squarely into the performance car category. The Viper became the must-have sports car of the 1990s, coveted and collected by celebs Tom Cruise, Hulk Hogan, Chuck Norris, and Jay Leno and popular with musicians from Aerosmith and Nickelback, and Justin Timberlake, according to the Viper Club of America website. The 2013 model was 640 hp and the 2015 model topped out the hp at 645.
In 2017, Dodge ceased production of the Viper, leaving approximately 31,000 in the market, which are now part of collections throughout the world, including at Radford Racing School. Radford owns two 2016 GT2 Time Attack 645-hp Vipers, made especially by Dodge for the school. They are always on display at the entrance, event center, or shop floor for visitors. And they head out to the track when guests book the Viper Experience, an add-on upgrade to all Radford High Performance Driving courses.
Stop by the school soon to wish Viper happy 30th birthday!