March 18, 2003
Viper beats F-16 in drag race
Goodyear, Arizona – A Dodge Viper SRT-10 won a half-mile drag race against a United States Air Force’s Lockheed Martin F-16 Fighting Falcon “Viper” fighter jet last Saturday. The Viper and F-16 were on separate runways at the Luke Air Force Base in Goodyear, Arizona. The Dodge Viper came out on top, covering the half mile in about 18 seconds.
“We were thrilled to be able to demonstrate the performance of the Viper,” said Dan Knott, Director – Performance Vehicle Operations (PVO), DaimlerChrysler. “The Air Force loved the competition. The spectators certainly enjoyed it. And to top it off, the Viper Club of America raised more than $25,000 for the Luke Air Force Base Morale, Welfare and Recreation Fund.”
This was the second consecutive year that Dodge and its icon vehicle — the Viper SRT-10 — challenged the F-16 as part of the Luke Days Air Show. “Viper vs. Viper” pitted a production Dodge Viper SRT-10, driven by Herb Helbig, Senior Manager, Vehicle Synthesis, PVO, DaimlerChrysler, against the Lockheed Martin F-16 Fighting Falcon “Viper,” piloted by Major Ed “Fig” Figueroa, in a side-by-side, standing-start drag race on parallel air base runways. The rules: race for a half-mile, or until the jet becomes airborne.
Compared to the Dodge Viper’s American sports car leading 500 horsepower, 525 lb.-ft. of torque and 190 mph top speed, the Lockheed Martin F-16 Fighting Falcon — nicknamed the “Viper” — generates around 23,000 pounds of thrust and a top speed of more than 1,300 mph. It is a compact, multiple-role, highly maneuverable fighter, considered by many to be the most agile modern fighter. It is capable of withstanding up to nine Gs, exceeding the capability of all other current fighter aircraft.
The Luke Days Air Show was hosted by the USAF 56th Fighter Wing — the nation’s largest — under the command of Colonel Phil Breedlove. Located just west of Phoenix, Luke Air Force Base is the primary training ground for United States F-16 pilots.
“It’s always an incredible rush to put the Viper to the test,” said Helbig.
“But to do so against an F-16 fighter jet at a U.S. military base in front of thousands of fans is really an amazing feeling. We’re honored that the folks at Luke Air Force Base invited us to take part in their show.”
The Viper SRT-10 boasts an estimated 0-60 mph time of 3.9 seconds, and a 0-100-0 mph time in the mid-13 second range. Dodge recently began production of the Viper Competition Coupe, a single-seat racing version of the Viper SRT-10 wrapped in a coupe-shaped carbon/Kevlar body. It travels 0-60 mph in an estimated 3.7 seconds, with a top speed of 193 mph and lateral acceleration of 1.25 Gs.