Earlier this year, the SRT team announced that the new-generation Viper is preparing its return to the famous 24 Hours of Le Mans race after an absence of 13 years. Now it looks like the company has big hopes for the 81st edition set for June 22nd and 23rd at Circuit de la Sarthe in Le Mans, France.
SRT, in cooperation with Riley Technologies, is preparing two identical SRT Viper GTS-R models for the race. The two cars were rigorously tested during four ALMS races in 2012 and during the full 2013 racing season. Car No. 91 managed to obtain three consecutive top-five finishes, including a position on the podium at Long Beach, where it finished third.
The two Viper GTS-Rs will be driven by Marc Goossens, Dominik Farnbacher, Jonathan Bomarito and Kuno Wittmer, joined by Tommy Kendall and Ryan Dalziel for the endurance events.
Click past the jump to read more about Viper’s experience at Le Mans.
Porsche’s comeback in Le Mans was a long time in the making. As the automaker with the most wins in the race’s history at 16, Porsche returning to the scene of its glory has put the clock on its rivals.
But it wasn’t the only racing series the automaker was considering.
Before deciding on a Le Mans comeback, Porsche R&D boss, Wolfgang Hatz, told Autocar that the company also considered Formula One. In the end, however, the decision was made to return to Le Mans because conditions in Formula one were so "extreme that it cannot result in any development in our road car understanding."
It’s a valid reason, especially considering that Formula One technology seemingly has a life of its own and it didn’t make sense for Porsche to spend valuable resources and finances in a series that wouldn’t translate to its production development.
So there it is. Formula One’s loss - if it cares - is Le Mans’ gain. And with the competitiveness of the latter in the past few years, the return of the king will only make Le Mans even more fun to watch.
Click past the jump to watch Porsche’s history at Le Mans
Porsche scored amazing results with its 911 GT3 RSR race car, so it is no surprise that the company developed a GT3 RSR based on the new 991 generation. The 991-Series 911 GT3 RSR has been unveiled just in time to celebrate 50 years of the Porsche 911.
The new 911 RSR received a series of updates that make it ready for any competition around the world. These updates include a new wishbone front suspension replacing the previously used McPherson struts and a particularly lightweight racing gearbox. Under the hood the racing version keeps the same 460 horsepower 4.0-litre six-cylinder boxer engine as it predecessor.
With the new RSR model, Porshe paid extra attention to a more evenly balanced weight distribution. Lots of aerodynamic components are now made in carbon fiber, like the front and rear mudguards, front and rear lids, doors, underbody, wheel arches and rear wing. The same material has been used on the interior for the dashboard and the center console.
Exterior updates include new air ducting, a centrally-located radiator, while the front end, front lid and rear panel are fitted with quick release systems and can be replaced within seconds.
During the 2013 racing season, the 911 RSR will be wearing starting number 92 and will be driven by Marc Lieb (Germany) and Richard Lietz (Austria).
Updated 04/23/2013: Porsche has unveiled a new promo video for the new-generation 911 RSR that shows the car testing on the racetrack. Enjoy!
The 2014 racing season will mark Porsche’s return to the famous Le Mans race in an attempt to continue its ongoing success story. During its participation at the Le Mans race, Porsche scored a total of 16 overall victories, but the best year for the company was 1971.
For Porsche, the 1971 Le Mans was the race of records: its 917 racecar managed to average a speed of 222 km/h (137 mph) - a first for the company.
This video was developed as a tribute to the amazing 1971 racing season, but also wants to prepare you for Porsche’s great comeback at the world’s most famous long-distance race.
For those of you interested in learning more about Porsche’s presence at the Le Mans race, check the official web page. Here you will learn about Porsche’s 16 victories and all the moments in Porsche’s motorsport history.
Rumors have been floating recently that the new cooperation between Alpine and Caterham will give birth to a new sports car. While that has surely driven intrigue into this still-to-be-named model, it’s still part of the not-so-distant future.
What is recent, though, is Alpine’s apparent return to 24-hour racing and it’s got quite a racecar in its fold ready to take on all comers. Called the A450, the race car is expected to bring the extra excitement to endurance racing at the 2013 Le Mans 24 Hours and this year’s European Le Mans Series (ELMS). The car will be raced by the 24-year-old Nelson Panciatici and 29-year-old Pierre Ragues. This marks Alpine’s return to the world of motorsport after an absence of 35 years.
The new Alpine A450 will be powered by a Nissan-sourced V-8 engine that delivers a total of 500 horsepower and is mated to a six-speed sequential X-Trac gearbox. With a total weight of just 1984 pounds, the new race car will hit a pretty impressive top speed of 205 mph.
Speaking of impressive, have a look at the A450; it’s all that and then a little more. The brand’s striking blue and orange color combination harkens back to the days of the Alpine-Renault A442B that raced the Le Mans 24 Hours in 1978. If for nothing else, it’s a fitting tribute to the company’s racing history while also serving a reminder to the rest of the field that Alpine is back and ready to take some names.
Updated 04/10/2013: Alpine officially confirmed today that its first racing car in 35 years will be called A450. The model pays tribute to the A441, A442 and A443 which scored amazing results at the Le Mans in the 1970s. The figure "50" "symbolizes the fiftieth anniversary of Alpine’s first official entry for the Le Mans 24 Hours." The new A450 will be available for purchase in 2016.
Nissan has dropped from the DeltaWing program, but this doesn’t spell the end of the racecar. Rather, DeltaWing Racing Cars announced the first details of its new DeltaWing Coupe that will compete in the American Le Mans Series later this year, possibly as early as at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca in May.
The new DeltaWing Coupe has been specially designed to comply with the new 2014 LMP1 regulations and will include a new tub and wider driver greenhouse, and, of course, its new hardtop configuration. On the coupe version, the driver will sit in the middle of the cockpit, rather than on the left- or right-hand side.
Under the hood, the coupe will receive a new turbocharged 2.0-liter engine developed by Elan Motorsports Technologies. No official specifications have been released just yet, but we are hoping to see at least the same numbers as in the previous version: 300 horsepower, a sprint from 0 to 60 mph made in 3.3 seconds and a top speed of 196 mph.
The 2013 motorsports racing season is drawing closer and as such, we’ve seen numerous race teams from different series unveiling their respective race cars.
Toyota Racing is jumping on that trend with the unveiling of the modified TS030 Hybrid car, the same racer that Toyota will be fielding in the Le Mans 24 Hours and the FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC) this season.
The 2013 TS030 Hybrid race car carries a number of modifications from the 2012 model, particularly the revised version of the hybrid system first used in last year’s race car. With new regulations set to be enforced in 2014, Toyota Racing went to work early in fine-tuning the overall racing characteristics of the RS030, particularly the engine, which for the 2013 model will feature a 3.4-liter, normally aspirated V-8 engine that produces 530 horsepower and the matching super capacitor-based system that delivers 300 horsepower of boost to the car.
Needless to say, a lot is riding on Toyota Racing to deliver results this year. They’ve got the car that can get it done and it’s only a matter of time before the team can justify the preparations they’ve done in the off-season with actual race wins.
BMW recently took to the famous Daytona Raceway to introduce their latest race car that will compete at the 2013 American Le Mans Series: the BMW Z4 GTE.
Racing under the Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing, the Z4 GTE has some pretty high expectations to live up to. After all, it’s predecessor, the M3 GT, was one of the most successful race cars to compete in recent ALMS history. It last won back in 2011 and only lost the title last year to the Chevrolet Corvette C6.R.
So with a year to stew over surrendering its crown to Chevy, BMW is raring to get the 2013 ALMS season started with the Z4 GTE.
As expected, the racecar was built with racing regulations in mind, although if it performs the way its departed brethren used to, so there shouldn’t be any problems scoring some points and gaining some wins.
The real question is if it can return to the top of the ALMS podium, a step currently occupied by the C6.R.
Along with the unveiling of the new-generation Viper, SRT also announced the Viper GTS-R — a model that marks the SRT Viper Racing team’s return to the American Le Mans Series (ALMS). Today the team officially announced that the GTS-R will be making its racing debut on June 22nd through 23rd in the LM GTE Pro class of the 2013 24 Hours of Le Mans.
SRT Motorsports will enter two identical GTS-R models and they will be driven by Tommy Kendall, Kuno Wittmer, Dominik Farnbacher and Jonathan Bomarito.
2013 will mark the SRT Viper’s return in the 24 Hours of Le Mans after an absence of about 13 years. The sports car entered the series in in 1996 when the original GTS-R had its first racing entry. The Viper also won five international GT championships and the 1997 to 1999 FIA GT championships, plus three consecutive one-two finishes at the 24 Hours of Le Mans in the GTS class. In 2000 the car had its last win at the Rolex 24 Hours of Daytona and afterward it was retired from the series.
In the past few months, we have seen three different Lexus LF-A prototypes testing around Nurburgring: the AD-A, the AD-B, and the AD-X. Our hopes were dashed when we realized these prototypes were nothing but special one-off models and that they would not provide any indication of what the future held for an LF-A special edition, but social media has come through for us again.
Lexus race car driver, Akira Iida, has posted a cool teaser video for a future LF-A GTE Race Car on his Twitter account. The first details suggest that this race car will be used in the upcoming 24 Hours of Le Mans, but it is also rumored to be battling the lines at the Nurburgring 24 Hours. One thing is for sure, though, Akira Iida will be behind the wheel no matter which race this vehicle stars in!
Lexus has yet to offer any details on their new race car, but Akira Iida seems to be the second-best source on the matter, so we’ll take his word for it. Stay tuned!