Extremely sad news today for anyone who loves watching the Dodge Viper dominate its competition in road racing: Chrysler announced today that they will end their SRT Motorsports program in IMSA at the end of 2014.
That means no more factory-backed Dodge Viper in the TUDOR United SportsCar Championship. And that is deeply, deeply depressing.
In a statement, SRT chief Ralph Gilles called the move a "business decision":
"Our company has made a business decision to discontinue the SRT Motorsports Dodge Viper GTS-R racing program," said Ralph Gilles, Senior Vice President of Product Design, Chrysler Group LLC. "We are very proud of the amazing achievements our fantastic teams, drivers and partners have achieved on track the last few seasons. We thank them for their hard work, effort and commitment to SRT Motorsports. It's been an honor to be a part of the inaugural IMSA TUDOR United SportsCar Championship season and we wish them every success in the future."
The statement said Dodge "will redirect its focus and efforts on the brand's product lineup."
It's an absolute shame to hear this, considering the passion Gilles and his team brought to racing with the incredible Viper. The team had a phenomenal season in the Tudor series, winning the driver and team championships in the season-ending Petit Le Mans this weekend.
No word yet on whether private teams will continue to race the Viper in the Tudor series. However, the factory team pulling out probably doesn't bode well for the Viper's return to Le Mans that we all hoped for.
First NASCAR, now IMSA. What's going on with you, Dodge?
Update: Officials at IMSA added this statement.
"On behalf of IMSA, I'd like to congratulate the SRT Motorsports team and drivers – including 2014 GTLM champion Kuno Wittmer – and everybody involved with building a winning Dodge Viper SRT GTS-R program. We look forward to celebrating their accomplishments together next Monday at our TUDOR Night of Champions in New York. Our door always will remain open should they wish to return to top-level sports car racing in the future."