First Drive Review: 2008 Dodge Viper SRT10 ACR
This 2008 review is representative of model years 2008 to 2010.
By Aaron Robinson of Car and Driver
Every 2008 Dodge Viper SRT10 ACR (American Club Racer) should come with a cigar-chomping Herb Helbig doll that inflates from the dashboard at startup to snarl in your face about impending doom. It’d be a much safer car.
Helbig, present at the creation of the original Viper and now director of Chrysler’s Street and Racing Technology, doesn’t mince words as he chastens a small group of media types charged with mastering one of the three prototype 600-hp ACRs in existence on a short but high-speed racetrack for 10 laps. “We have to consider this car as an urban weapon. It’s not a grocery getter.”
Well, any chimp can see that. With aerodynamics capable of generating 1000 pounds of downforce at 150 mph and only about 100 fewer horses than Vipers once used to win their class at Le Mans, the $98,746 ACR isn’t for folks with confidence issues.
For an extra $12,050 over a stock Viper, the ACR adds aero, brake, and suspension changes. Autoclaved carbon fiber forms the wing and “fanged” chin splitter (a removable extension trims it back to street legal), as well as cheek-mounted dive planes. The downforce goal of 1000 pounds with nose-to-tail balance and minimal drag increase drove the wind-tunnel testing. KW shocks allow height changes and are step adjustable for jounce and rebound. Spring and anti-roll-bar rates are elevated, and the ACR is fitted with forged aluminum wheels and track-ready Michelin Pilot Sport Cup tires that shave 60 pounds from a base Viper. There’s no additional horsepower, owing to the multimillion-dollar bill for government recertification, and the ACR needs none.
It punches out of corners with a feral roar and tracks through fast sweepers with wind-generated stability, race-car-rigid body control, and sticky-rubber grip. StopTech hybrid aluminum-and-iron brakes squish organs against rib cages when fully summoned. But the best thing about the ACR is that no sub-Schumacher mortal can tame it in 10 laps. It’s a toy that will be played with for many, many hours before boredom sets in.
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