July 10, 2002
Viper vs F-16 drag race to air on “Ripley’s Believe it or Not!”
Auburn Hills, Michigan – A drag race between the new 2003 Dodge Viper SRT-10 and a United States Air Force’s Lockheed Martin F-16 “Viper” at Luke Air Force Base in Glendale, Arizona will air on TBS Superstation’s “Ripley’s Believe It Or Not!” on Wednesday, July 10. The Ripley’s segment will be part of a new TBS Superstation “Unbelievable Wednesdays” lineup, also debuting on the 10th.
The event was held this past spring as part of the annual Luke Days air show. The challenge pitted the all-new Dodge Viper against an F-16 jet in a side-by-side, standing-start, half-mile drag race on parallel air base runways, accelerating to the speed at which the jet became airborne: approximately 150 mph. The Dodge Viper covered the course in around 15 seconds.
“Driving the new Dodge Viper against the Air Force’s finest was really an incredible experience,” said Herb Helbig, Senior Manager, Vehicle Synthesis, Performance Vehicle Operations (PVO) at DaimlerChrysler Corp. “There were almost 140,000 people in attendance, cheering their hearts out for their favourite Viper. Now, the rest of the population will be able to see the outcome on ‘Ripley’s Believe It Or Not!'”
The event featured two battles with pre-production versions of the 2003 Dodge Viper SRT-10 convertible challenging the Lockheed Martin F-16 Fighting Falcon, and two more with a prototype 2003 Dodge Viper Competition Coupe against another F-16 Viper. For the latter, DaimlerChrysler’s PVO team tapped more horsepower and clad their Viper in racing slicks, while the USAF countered with takeoff runs at full afterburner.
While the F-16 boasts approximately 25,000 pounds of thrust in a compact, 19,000-pound package capable of more than 1,500 mph, the Dodge Viper showcases 525 pound-feet of torque, a 3,380-pound curb weight and estimated 190 mph top speed.
“We’re proud of the Dodge Viper’s performance capabilities, and this was a chance to race for bragging rights against one of the few things capable of matching the Viper’s acceleration,” said Helbig.
The Dodge Viper first began production in 1992, with more than 14,000 sold to date. The 2003 Viper SRT-10 is a two-seat convertible with 505-cubic inch all-aluminum V-10 engine producing more than 500 horsepower and 525 pound-feet of torque. The 2003 Dodge Viper goes on sale in the Fall of 2002.
The Dodge Viper Competition Coupe is a single-seat racing version of the SRT-10 convertible, but wrapped in fully enclosed coupe bodywork and designed exclusively for GT-class racing. Viper Competition Coupe performance estimates: 0-60 mph in 3.8 sec.; 0-100 mph in 9.2 sec.; 60-0 in 90 ft.; 100-0 mph in 260 ft. and top speed of 193 mph.
The Competition Coupe’s predecessor — called the Dodge Viper GTS-R – earned five international GT championships including the 1999 and 2000 American Le Mans Series GTS Class titles, and the 1997-1999 FIA GT Championships. The Viper finished 1-2 in the Le Mans 24 Hours GTS class in three consecutive years and notched an overall win at the 2000 Rolex 24 Hours of Daytona, the first for an American production-based car.