Dodge Viper Cup Series Races on at Virginia International Raceway (VIR) July 9-10 With Record Number of Entries
AUBURN HILLS, Mich., July 8, 2011
Dual race weekend at VIR features a series record 19 drivers
Championship points leader Ben Keating will be challenged by Jeff Courtney and two-time-race winner A.J. Morgan
Celebrity drivers include ESPN Winter X-Games snowmobile freestyle gold medalist Chris Burandt and Canadian auto writer Brian Makse
A record 19 drivers have entered the fifth and sixth rounds of the 2011 Dodge Viper Cup series at the historic Virginia International Raceway July 9-10. The two-race weekend features a championship battle among race winners Ben Keating, Jeff Courtney and 21-year-old A.J. Morgan, a two-time winner in four races this season. They are joined by three first-time drivers, Brad Gorrondona, Bernie Katz and Marc Montour.
Morgan emerged as the new young gun during the first round at Sebring, Fla. in May, winning the first of his two races. Courtney took the second, while Keating took both poles, but had problems that prevented him from winning.
Keating was fast again in the second round at New Jersey Motorsports Park in Millville in June, leading the first race from Courtney, but both drivers went off the track, handing the win to Morgan. Keating then dominated the second race of the weekend to move into the championship lead.
Larry Carter, Eric Galerne and Ted Hughes are returning to the series this weekend after missing the second round at New Jersey.
"At the midpoint of our second season, we're seeing some great competition in the Dodge Viper Cup series in 2011, said Ralph Gilles, President and CEO, Street and Racing Technology and Motorsports. "With our largest field ever this weekend at VIR, it's certainly setting up to be an exciting and close race to crown the series champion later this year at Daytona."
Dodge Viper ACR-X drivers expected at VIR include:
Connie Bogan Reno, Nev.
Chris Burandt (Celebrity Driver) Kremmling, Colo.
Larry Carter Evans, Ga.
Jeff Courtney Jackson, Wis.
Dave Fiorelli Coppell, Texas
Eric Galerne Houston, Texas
Ralph Gilles (Celebrity Driver) Auburn Hills, Mich.
Brad Gorrondona Burleson, Texas
Billy Gropp Evans, Ga.
Ted Hughes Seward, Neb.
Bernie Katz Tomball, Texas
Ben Keating Port Lavaca, Texas
Brian Makse (Celebrity Driver) Toronto, Ontario, Can.
David Mazyck Gainesville, Fla.
Marc Montour Blainville, Quebec, Can.
A.J. Morgan Darien, Ill.
Todd Nelson Buda, Texas
Kurt Sollberger Dana Point, Calif.
Michael Von Quilich Pahrump, Nev.
Celebrity Driver and Charity Payout Program
As part of the 2011 Dodge Viper Cup series season, various celebrity drivers are invited to compete for charity. Guaranteed payouts to celebrity drivers following all 10 series races are donated to their charities of choice, with the highest finishing celebrity earning $2,000 and the next highest finishing celebrity receiving $1,000 for donation. In 2010, Dodge Motorsports donated close to $50,000 to various charities as part of the program.
Each celebrity driver is specifically chosen by Dodge Motorsports and specially trained for all on-track competition in the series by professional racer Cindi Lux of Lux Performance Group. Lux competed successfully in a Dodge Viper Competition Coupe and brings extensive experience in management of Dodge Viper SRT10 Clubs along with various celebrity driver programs.
Competing this weekend as celebrity drivers at VIR are Chris Burandt and Brian Makse.
Burandt from Kremmling, Colo., is a professional snowmobiler and backcountry adventure guide. Through his Colorado company, Burandt's Backcountry Adventure, he offers snowmobile excursions and instruction in deep powder through extreme terrain.
Burandt started snowmobiling at age 6 in the Colorado backcountry around his grandfather's home, and competed in snowcross as a teenager. He helped pioneer the sport of snowmobile freestyle in the early 2000's acquiring the nickname "Big Air Burandt." He used a newly learned snowmobile back flip to help win Gold at the 2007 ESPN Winter X Games first-ever Snowmobile Freestyle event. He won the Winter X Games silver medal in 2010 and has recently been a TV analyst for that event. He has been a two-time freestyle Rider of the Year.
Makse, an auto writer for major Canadian publications, also has been a driving instructor and coach for decades. He won the 2009 and 2010 National Auto Sport Association (NASA) Great Lakes racing championship, with first place in 10 of 15 NASA Great Lakes races in 2009. He won the 2010 NASA Great Lakes time trial championship with a perfect record and also won the 2009 Skip Barber Mazdaspeed MX-5 Media Challenge at Laguna Seca. He holds 10 current track records.
Remaining 2011 Races
Sept. 2-4 at Texas World Speedway, College Station, Texas
Oct. 21-23 at Daytona International Speedway, Daytona Beach, Fla.
Series Contingency Program
The series contingency program sponsored by Dodge Motorsports and Mopar® has been revamped for 2011 to expand the number of payouts to the top-10 drivers.
The 2011 Dodge Viper Cup series champion will win an additional $10,000 cash award.
Dodge Motorsports also is reducing entry fees for series competitors by 43 percent from $1,400 to $800 per race in 2011.
The 'Ultimate' Special-Edition Viper
Unveiled at the 2010 Performance Racing Industry show, the Dodge Viper ACR-X combines the best performance attributes of the record-setting, street-legal Dodge Viper American Club Racer (ACR) and the safety equipment of championship-winning Dodge Viper Competition Coupe. Powered by the SRT-developed 8.4-liter V-10 engine and equipped with factory headers and a low-restriction exhaust system, the Viper ACR-X produces 640 horsepower (40 more than the production model) and 605 lb.-ft. of torque (45 more than the production model).
The suspension also is tuned and upgraded specifically for on-track usage with unique springs, two-way adjustable shocks and adjustable sway bar links.
Curb weight is a full 160 pounds lighter (compared with the standard-production Viper) to take on even the most challenging road course. Additional aerodynamic upgrades, including quad-dive planes and underbody ducts, improve downforce, while enhancing stability and significantly improving grip in high-speed cornering.
Similar to the Dodge Viper Competition Coupe, the Viper ACR-X contains factory-installed safety equipment such as a factory-designed roll cage, fire suppression system, fuel cell and race seat. Additional racing components, including a transmission cooler, rear differential cooling system, unique front rotors with larger surface area and improved brake cooling via scoops in the front fascia, are added to meet the significant durability and reliability requirements for on-track competition.
"The Dodge Viper ACR-X is designed and built specifically for the race track," Gilles said. "The Dodge Viper Cup series continues the racing legacy of the Dodge Viper right before our eyes, and we're looking forward to another chapter being written in 2011."
Dodge Motorsports continues to market and sell the non-street legal 2010 Dodge Viper ACR-X. For more information call Viper Race Headquarters at (888) 960-3333 or visit Viper Headquarters | 2010 Dodge Viper SRT10, ACR, ACR-X, Competition Coupe, Vooodoo and 1.33 Special Editions
Viper Racing Heritage
The Dodge Viper has enjoyed a successful racing heritage that began in 1996 with the original Viper racing entry, the GTS-R, which earned five international GT championships and the 1997-1999 FIA GT championships. It also posted an amazing overall win at the Rolex 24 Hours of Daytona in 2000 – the first for a production-based American car.
Viper finished 1-2 at The 24 Hours of LeMans in GTS class in three consecutive years: 1998 – 2000 and also captured GTS class, manufacturer's and driver's championships in the American LeMans Series in 1999 and 2000.
The Dodge Viper Competition Coupe, introduced in 2003, delivered the next chapter of that history with its coupe-shaped carbon/Kevlar body and a track-ready chassis, based on the Dodge Viper SRT10. The Viper Competition Coupe has continued the on-track prowess by capturing the 2004 SCCA Speed World Challenge GT title, championships in Formula D Drifting series in 2004 and 2006 and the British GT Championship in 2007 and 2008.
In 2010, Ryan Schimsk of Austin, Texas captured the inaugural Dodge Viper Cup series championship by virtue of his five race wins and strong finishes in the other five races of no worse than fourth. Series regulars Ben Keating (Victoria, Texas) and Keith Verges (Dallas) finished second and third, respectively.
Viper Headquarters | 2010 Dodge Viper SRT10, ACR, ACR-X, Competition Coupe, Vooodoo and 1.33 Special Editions