2016 Dodge Viper ACR 645 HP

2016 Dodge Viper ACR 645 HP

The ACR, short for American Club Racing, was initially introduced in 1999, three years into the second generation of the V-10-powered sports car. Available as a coupe only, the ACR received an array of aerodynamic and mechanical updates for improved performance at the track. Discontinued for the third-gen Viper, the track-ready machine returned in 2008 with even more updates. In 2011, it lapped the Nurburgring track in 7 minutes and 12.13 seconds, now the sixth-fastest lap for a production car on the “Green Hell.” Whether Dodge is out to set a new benchmark at the ’Ring is yet unknown, but Dodge’s press release does speak about “unprecedented lap times.” And judging by the new aero bits added to the ACR, it would be more than capable of improving the previous benchmark on the Nordschleife. Join me in the review below for more details on the 2016 Viper ACR.

Like its predecessor, the Viper ACR uses the same drivetrain as any other Viper in the current lineup. This means motivation is provided by the beastly 8.4-liter V-10 engine rated at 645 horsepower and 600 pound-feet of torque. Doing all the shifting is a Tremec TR6060 six-speed manual gearbox. Racers who don’t like rowing their own gears might as well take it to Chevy for an eight-speed Corvette Z06, as Dodge isn’t planning on offering an automatic transmission for the Viper anytime soon. And I like that!

No word on performance figures yet, but the reduced weight and tweaked chassis should shave a few tenths off the Viper’s standard 3.3-second, 0-to-60 mph sprint. I’d say the ACR wouldn’t find it hard to reach the same benchmark in 3.1 seconds, a bit quicker than the Corvette Z06’s 3.2 ticks with the manual transmission. The ACR’s top speed is likely identical to the Viper TA’s at 193 mph.

This is where the ACR stands out compared to other Vipers. Much like the aerodynamic package, the chassis was tuned to deliver maximum performance and withstand a full day at the track.

Keeping the ACR on its best behavior is a set of aluminum-bodied, double-adjustable coil-over Bilstein race shocks specifically developed for this car, a suspension package that provides more than three inches of ride height adjustment, and unique suspension tuning. The ABS and five-mode ESC system was also specifically retuned for the ACR’s extra grip and extreme aerodynamic package.

Bringing this bruiser to a halt are Brembo’s carbon-ceramic Matrix brakes with 15.4-inch, two-piece rotors at the front and 14.2-inch, two-piece discs at the rear. The front brakes use six-piston Brembo calipers, while the rear brakes employ four-piston calipers.

The ACR’s outstanding grip comes from the Kumho Ecsta V720 high-performance tires, also designed specifically for this Snake. The tires feature a unique tread pattern and compounds for front and rear and Dodge claims testing revealed the new rubber produces laps times that are 1.5 seconds faster than regular race tires.

Not surprisingly, the styling of the new Viper ACR is very familiar. Not only is it nearly identical to the SEMA Show concept car, it’s also similar to the previous model sold from 2008 to 2010.

As seen in the past, the aerodynamic package on the ACR adds a carbon-fiber splitter, carbon-fiber canards on each side of the bumper, a race-spec vented hood, and fender gills. What sets the 2016 model apart from the concept car and the previous Viper is the extra pair of canards attached to the bumper. While the previous cars had one on each side, the new ACR received two.

Around back, a huge, carbon-fiber wing with aluminum stanchions provides additional downforce for enhanced cornering at high speeds, while the aggressive diffuser, also made from carbon-fiber, reminds us this car was developed by the same people who built the race-spec Viper GTS-R, an IMSA, GTLM-class winner in 2014. Dodge claims the new aero package produces the highest aerodynamic downforce of any production car, quoting nearly one ton of downforce at 177 mph during testing. The ACR’s signature livery, also seen on the SEMA concept, rounds off the new sports car. The paint scheme consists of a thick gloss black center stripe that flows from nose to tail, complemented by an offset Adrenaline Red stripe. A bit of unexpected news comes from the customization department, as Dodge included the ACR in the “1 of 1” Viper Program. This option allows Viper ACR customers to have “more than 25 million build combinations” thanks to 8,000 exterior color options, 24,000 custom stripe colors, and 11 wheel options.

Dodge hasn’t released photos of the ACR’s interior, but it’s safe to assume the Viper’s standard cockpit was revised with emphasis on weight reduction. With that in mind, I expect some of the vehicle’s convenience features, including the radio amplifier, speakers, and the carpet, to have been removed. Carbon fiber has likely replaced every bezel on the dashboard.

The race seats, steering wheel, and the shifter have all been wrapped in Alcantara for better grip, as showcased in the SEMA concept. Likewise, the 2016 ACR features a Header Red stripe for the 12-o’clock position of the steering wheel, a Stryker badge and a heritage ACR instrument panel badge with a carbon-fiber inlay.



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