Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Midnight Rider: Details Emerge on Development of 2008 Dodge Viper SRT10 ACR

AUBURN HILLS, Mich. — The development of the 2008 Dodge Viper SRT10 ACR was so top secret that wind tunnel testing was conducted during midnight hours, according to a blog entry posted on by the car's lead development engineer.

"The project was kept so quiet that engineers in our same office had no knowledge the car was under development," writes Matt Bejnarowicz, Dodge Viper SRT10 ACR lead development engineer. "Wind tunnel testing was done during midnight hours, and track test cars were camouflaged in racing trim with numbers and decals. The first time I drove the test 'mule,' I knew we had something special on our hands."

The posting comes as Dodge hunkers down in the rain and cold temperatures in Texas while auto writers from around the United States put the Viper SRT10 ACR through its paces. Bejnarowicz's comments offer a behind-the-scenes report on how Dodge jump-started the ACR program code-named "Project EM50" more than a year ago.

"We had one guiding focus: to make a street-legal Viper as fast as possible on the track," said Bejnarowicz. "Our goal was to push the envelope of performance in every critical area required of a modern racecar: aerodynamics, suspension, brakes, tires and weight reduction."

The military theme peppers Bejnarowicz's posting. He notes that every couple of years at Luke Air Force Base in Arizona, a "drag race" takes place between a Dodge Viper SRT10 and a military F-16 jet for families of overseas service men and women.

But there is a practical note to the engineer's musings, particularly regarding whether or not it's possible to take refreshment behind the wheel of the Dodge powerhouse. "It has so much grip, especially at high speeds, that you could practically drink a cup of coffee and drive it with the other hand at the same time — not that I'd recommend it," he writes.

What this means to you: Great anecdotes from the horse's mouth about the '08 Dodge Viper SRT10 ACR that you can use at your next cocktail party. — Anita Lienert, Correspondent

Dodge Viper SRT10 ACR was tested late at night under skullduggiferous conditions, now made known to the public on Chrysler's blog. (Photo courtesy of Chrysler LLC)
Dodge Viper SRT10 ACR is being tried out in Texas by automotive media this week. (Photo courtesy of Chrysler LLC)
Matt Bejnarowicz (pictured), lead development engineer on the Dodge Viper SRT10 ACR, says he knew the car was "something special" as soon as he tried out the test mule. (Photo courtesy of

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