Made the Leap to a Gen V took it to the track

RSNAKE

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Made the Leap to a Gen V and took it to the track

I don't know what to say without writing a book. The Gen V fully lives up to all of my expectations! I have owned a '99 Gen II RT/10 since 2002. I still love the lines of the Gen II and was so happy to see the Gen V come out as an evolution of that form. In my opinion, they are two of the most beautiful cars ever made.

Beyond the beauty the level of refinement and day to day usability of the Gen V is just so far beyond the Gen II, it is hard to compare. The II is a very special car that feels special and, for me, only got driven a handful of days per year (20,000 miles in 12 years). The V feels much more like a car that could be used every day, if one wanted to. It has all of the usability and creature comforts of a modern high end car. Heck, I even use the cup holder for my coffee mug on the drive to work. What a luxury!

Finally, the performance, it is AWESOME, in the truest sense of that word! It has power across the full rev range, like all Vipers, and beyond 4,000 RPM the power is just explosive. The brakes are great, with wonderful feel and stopping ability. The handling is superb.

I bought the car about a month ago and waited to write this until I got over 500 miles on the car and took it to the track. I had it out at the PDE at Pitt Race yesterday. When buying the car, I hoped that it would have the capability to: drive to the track completely stock, make no adjustments, run on the track and be one of if not the fastest cars there, and drive home with no issues. That is EXACTLY what it did yesterday!

I went with a good friend, Matt, who had never been on a track before, and had only driven my Viper around the block and to the track. I let him drive the car in Group 1. I drove the car in Group 2 and was then signed off to run solo and Group 3.

The car was FANTASTIC on the track! It felt like we brought a gun to a knife fight! The feeling is hard to describe. It felt almost predatory. There were no weak areas. I was catching people in the curves, in the braking zones, and overtaking easily on the straights.

It took some getting used to the car. The first session, I was not very smooth. I was passed by one car that session. The second session, I was getting much more comfortable and let the same car go by, but I really didn’t need to.

The third session, I was solo in the car and started pushing it a lot more. That session, I was CLEARLY the fastest car on the track! I started nine cars back in the grid. It was only a 25 minute session and I passed every car (Porsche GT3, several Corvettes, Mustangs on slicks, etc.), except the lead car, which was a F430 Scuderia. Had there been one more lap, I would have passed him as well. It just took me that long to work through the other cars to get on his tail. I lapped one of the cars, which was a track prepped Miata with a roll bar. By the end of the session I was hitting 140 mph on the front straight.

In Group 1, Matt had a similar experience. He was not pushing the car as hard, but still managed to pass everyone including: two Porsche GT3’s, Camaro ZL1, Merc C63, and others. He let more guys pass him, as he was still getting familiar with the whole experience. It is sensory overload, at first and he was just being more careful with my car.

The car held up incredibly well. We were running it on the track in back to back run groups for 6 sessions with minimal breaks between. The brakes started to get a little soft toward the end of my third session, but that was it.

It was one of the most fun days I have had. The car got a lot of attention and respect from everyone there. At the end of the sessions, we drove the car straight from the track to a huge kick-off for the summer car show without even so much as washing it or peeling the track run group stickers off.
 

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Bobpantax

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Good write up. Glad you are enjoying your snake. The Gen V, as you said, is a whole different level of car.
 

Zee

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Great write up! Thanks for sharing. I am looking to get into a V in the next year or so. Can't wait!!
 

Allan

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You have a Stryker Red, and let somebody who hasn't driven on a track before, drive your new monster at an HPDE with other cars around in a novice group with other inexperienced drivers next to him? :omg:
 
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RSNAKE

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You have a Stryker Red, and let somebody who hasn't driven on a track before, drive your new monster at an HPDE with other cars around in a novice group with other inexperienced drivers next to him? :omg:

I did and I can't imagine a better way to use it! The day was an absolute blast. Everything went perfect. Additionally, I think I did my part to promote the Viper. It showed very well on the track and at the car cruise after.

I had some additional peace of mind as I had a full xpel ultimate wrap on the car too!
 
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Dave T(BADVENM)

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In NASA (I'm guessing that's the organization as I'm in the NASA Rocky Mountain region) group 1 and 2 is drivers and instructors in every car or at least as many as possible depending on instructor availability. The rules in HPDE 1 and 2 are strict, NO passing unless with a point by and those are limited to one or two areas of the track. Group 3 allows a bit more passing and instructors aren't in every car unless requested by the driver. Depending on the driver and experience or lack there of the instructor may limit the student of a high horsepower car to say 4th gear for the first few times on track so they can focus on the basics and not necessarily how fast they can go. Once they are comfortable (student and instructor) with their progress they'll allow more freedom and higher speeds.

So, if I had a new Viper I wouldn't hesitate to let someone I know drive it in HPDE 1, the cars are kept at modest distances from each other at all times
and the instructors ensure safety is priority 1. I have yet (in 8 years or so with NASA) to see any kind of contact or close calls with HPDE 1 and 2 students.

Congrats on the new car!
 

Allan

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I did and I can't imagine a better way to use it! The day was an absolute blast. Everything went perfect. Additionally, I think I did my part to promote the Viper. It showed very well on the track and at the car cruise after.

I had some additional piece of mind as I had a full xpel ultimate wrap on the car too!
That is totally awesome of you. :2tu:
I'm just still freaked out at all the Stryker Reds getting on the track, let alone with a newbie driving it. :omg:
I guess with the new cars having ESP (hope that was left on with that guy), I suppose if no one else hits the car..........:rolleyes:
 
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RSNAKE

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The max G readings from the EVIC after the track day.

1.45g left, 1.50g right, 1.28g front (braking), 1.11g back (acceleration)
 
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RSNAKE

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Thanks for all of the nice comments.

Until one drives this car, I think it is impossible to understand just how awesome it really is.I am convinced that most journalists are just so far removed from this sort of experience that they just can’t comprehend it in the amount of time they are given with the car.It does not drive like any other car.For example, it doesn’t need to rev to 8,000 RPM, because it pulls hard from 3,000 RPM!It is an animal.

It really was not even close to being in the same league as anything else on the track that day!It was obvious to everyone else there too.Keep in mind that it was this dominate on my first time on the track in that car with a just over 500 miles on the car.I made NO ADJUSTMENTS.I didn’t even so much as change the air pressure in the tires.No track alignment.No track tires.No aftermarket suspension components.No aero.Not even high temp brake fluid.I ran it just as a drove it away from the dealer.All electronics in the full ON position.Dampers in Race mode.

The Gen V has got to be one of the best street legal track cars that you can buy today from a dealer.

Another friend of mine was in Group 2 with me in a C6 Z51.He had soft compound tires on, full track alignment, aftermarket sway bars, and Koni shocks.He is a very good driver that places well in local SCCA events.In the last session, I started six cars behind him in the grid.About mid way through that session, I passed him on the back straight.By the end of the front straight I couldn’t even see him anymore.
After we got back to the pits, he just couldn’t believe how bad I had left him.He said that he had to bow to the power of the Viper and he was trying to figure out how he could sell his car and upgrade to a ZR1 or a Viper!
 

09 Venom

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Fabulous write up!! But nothing surprising to us Gen V owners. We already know how awesome the car is.
 

VENOM V

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Boy how did I miss this thread? That is fantastic, there is nothing like the feeling of having the fastest car on the track, especially when it's stock and many came in on trailers.

I had a similar experience. I regularly track my Stryker Red, and for my friend's birthday I let him track it with me at Laguna Seca. Same story, we alternated and the car got no rest at all. We were among the fastest but hard to say if we were at the top of the speed chart. He is an advanced driver that I knew I could trust (former Porsche Cup owner), so I let him go for it. However I did buy track day insurance and had both of our names on it. I'm not totally reckless, LOL.

The more I track it and see my friends struggle with broken parts of other makes, the more I am blown away by the reliability the Viper has on the track. Enjoy your dream machine.
 
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FrankBarba

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How do you know if your the fastest on the Track ? Just because you passed some cars on the Track does not
make you the fastest on the Track. If you want to be the fastest only 2 ways to go about it....
Time Trials, & Tru Door to door racing is the only way to be the fastest, other than that your only on
High Performance Driving, no more no less. Glad that you passed that Track Prepared Miata....

I am glad that you like your Gen V, enjoy it...
 

Bobpantax

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Worth repeating:

"The third session, I was solo in the car and started pushing it a lot more. That session, I was CLEARLY the fastest car on the track! I started nine cars back in the grid. It was only a 25 minute session and I passed every car (Porsche GT3, several Corvettes, Mustangs on slicks, etc.), except the lead car, which was a F430 Scuderia. Had there been one more lap, I would have passed him as well. It just took me that long to work through the other cars to get on his tail. I lapped one of the cars, which was a track prepped Miata with a roll bar. By the end of the session I was hitting 140 mph on the front straight.

In Group 1, Matt had a similar experience. He was not pushing the car as hard, but still managed to pass everyone including: two Porsche GT3’s, Camaro ZL1, Merc C63, and others. He let more guys pass him, as he was still getting familiar with the whole experience. It is sensory overload, at first and he was just being more careful with my car."

That is how he knows. That track. Those drivers. Those cars. That day. No surprise. Those who have tracked the TA on a road course and posted have all reported the same experience. The car is phenomenal. The best evidence of that I have seen posted so far is Bruce's recent video where the tires are singing a good part of the lap.
 

05Commemorative

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As Bob states, always easy to quickly tell who is the fastest at a track day. Most everyone recognizes it pretty quickly.

Now, what is more difficult is determining the most skilled driver. Was it the car or the driver? In that case, you really need two identically equipped cars to know for sure or you see some guy running a amazing laps with far inferior equipment. the opposite is true as well and what comes to mind is the GTR that almost any driver with courage can get a decent lap.

btw, I will share that in doing track days for 5yrs now with a Gen3, I have not had a single mechanical issue in any form. The only person I know of that can say the same is a fellow Gen3 owner. When you do it enough, it is stunning how you see the reliability factor jump in. My experience, the Audi's, BMW's and Vettes seem to break the most. The heat load on brakes, rear-ends, transmissions really seem to expose issues with these cars. The stock Porsche's seem to go with no problems, but the modified ones seem to be breaking more. The GTR's also seem to be rock solid.

Only viper issue I have seen is a guy with new headers caused a fire in wiring (issue with install) and two guys going off track hard creating there own damage. They really are amazing cars for this purpose and when done regularly, highlight that fact as well as making them extremely boring on the street after because you can get nowhere close to its limits.

btw, huge respect for you guys that have taken your new GenV's to the track so soon after purchase. I will likely wait a year as the car is so perfect now. It is hard though because I know it will be so much better than the Gen3 out there.
 

Bruce H.

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You likely won't be driving the fastest car or be the most skilled driver even if you are turning the quickest lap time on a particular day. If you let yourself start to think otherwise puts you and your car at risk. What you can be certain of is that you're driving one of the fastest "stock production" cars in the world, but the reality is many of the cars at lapping days are no longer stock, and some will likely be now faster than a stock Viper around a road course. My experience with the TA at track days is shaping up to suggest Randy Pobst's production car results at Laguna Seca weren't a fluke.

It's also clear that it's one of the very few that can survive the demands of track days without track modifications. One friend with a GT-R has spent the last 5+ years modifying brakes and cooling to survive lapping days, recently proved his new C7 couldn't survive one track day, and another GT-R I diced it up with at VIR last week had done even more extensive mods and had his day ended early due to boiling power steering fluid! The GT-R, and probably most performance cars, are designed and tested to provide the one fast lap that marketing needs to impress most prospective buyers.
 
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RSNAKE

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All I know for sure is that I had a blast that day. It was one of the most fun days I have ever had. It made me very happy.

The rest, from me and everyone else, is opinion.

I will continue to take it to the track. I now have some data acquisition equipment to make a little more informed opinions. I plan to progress to get signed off to do time trials with NASA next year. Then I will know objectively how I and the car compare.

You can see track records here:

http://nasagreatlakes.com/results/?page=TrackRecordsDisplay

And here:

http://narraonline.com/event-results/track-records

My best time was 1:06.7 on stock everything. I still have a lot to learn and will get faster, but I am happy with that performance so far.
 
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klamathpro

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It's also clear that it's one of the very few that can survive the demands of track days without track modifications. One friend with a GT-R has spent the last 5+ years modifying brakes and cooling to survive lapping days, recently proved his new C7 couldn't survive one track day, and another GT-R I diced it up with at VIR last week had done even more extensive mods and had his day ended early due to boiling power steering fluid! The GT-R, and probably most performance cars, are designed and tested to provide the one fast lap that marketing needs to impress most prospective buyers.

I have to disagree. A 2009 GT-R is not the same as a 2012+ stock GT-R. The newer GT-R brakes are better, the suspension is better, the transmission is better, and the reliability is better. The parts that usually break are the mods done for the street. The thing about the 2012+ GT-R is all it needs are R888's to turn the car into a track monster. GT-R's are very reliable and very track capable cars. With R888's it's just nipping at the heals of a TA on the track and I know this from experience. The thing about a GT-R is it will hide a driver's shortcomings, where other cars will make them well known. But if you can push the GT-R to it's limits, it rewards with amazing results, similar to the TA. The GT-R allows a novice to push it 8/10th's and a more experienced driver to 9/10th's, where most drivers usually stay. A great driver that can push a TA to 10/10th's will beat the average GT-R driver.
 
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Twister

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Gtrs are ugly and slow. The camaro recently was faster on the track. Tires this and tires that. My 20 year old daughter loves the gtr...Fortunetly Im a man and will stick with vipers
 

SnakeBitten

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???

Anyway, the GTR is quite a fast car on track and straight line especially the '12's onward as stated 2 posts above. Its not the prettiest of the beasts out there but you have to respect it for what it can do despite its weight. The upcoming NISMO GTR should make a believer out of its haters and will give the TA all it can handle track tuned street car to track tuned street car. I look forward to seeing where the TA ranks with the Nismo GTR and the C7 Z06. That would be a fun compare regardless of winner. Finally some competition for the TA that's not the defunct ZR1.
 
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