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By Rick Popely
May 2, 2000
Vehicle Overview Dodge makes its 450-horsepower sports car even racier this year, offering a performance package in a special model designed for competition.
Dodge campaigns the Viper in endurance events, such as the 24 Hours of Le Mans and other races. In addition, it manufacturers some of the same pieces that go on its racecars, which are available to the public on the GTS coupe.
The American Club Racer package includes 10 more horsepower as a result of better airflow into the engine and trims nearly 100 pounds of weight by removing the audio system, air conditioning and fog lamps, and by adding lighter alloy wheels and stiffer suspension components.
In fashion news for 2000, steel gray joins red and black as the preferred color choices on the Viper, which debuted as a 1992 model.
Exterior A manual folding soft-top is standard on the RT/10 roadster, and a removable hardtop is optional. The roadster and GTS coupe share major styling elements, which include the bold, cross-bar grille and huge side scoops on the front fenders.
Interior The low-mounted bucket seats are fixed in position, but the pedals are manually adjustable within a 3-inch range, and the steering column tilts. From the drivers seat, the long, wide hood looks imposing.
In one of Vipers few concessions to luxury, a cognac-colored leather interior is optional. The Connolly leather in the Viper is the same kind used in Jaguars, Aston Martins and on the red and green seats in the British House of Commons and the House of Lords.
Under the Hood The Vipers 450-horsepower 8.0-liter V-10 is the same engine that powers Dodges full-size Ram pickups, though at reduced performance levels. This engine is 105 hp more than the Chevrolet Corvette. The only transmission is a six-speed manual unit.
Two items the Viper lacks are antilock brakes and traction control.