Posting a fast lap time on a road course requires a combination of driver skill and a properly balanced high-performance machine. The Chrysler Group’s SRT (Street and Racing Technology) team delivers half that equation with the 2014 SRT Viper TA (Time Attack).
The street-legal SRT Viper TA is specifically built for the performance enthusiast driver who likes to exercise their machines at the more than 150 road-race courses around North America.
Based on the SRT model, the lightest Viper in the lineup, the TA Special Edition Package builds upon the vehicle’s ultra-low center of gravity, 50/50 weight distribution and largest contact patch in the production car world. The Viper TA uses chassis parts developed specifically by the SRT chassis dynamics team to attain the most out of the race-car-like chassis and create the most confidence inspiring Viper ever. SRT developed new spring rates, dampers, sway bars and brake components, combined as a system with the Viper’s available Advanced Aerodynamics Package, to create one of the most track-capable production cars in the world. The changes keep the SRT Viper TA glued to the track, while the brake system is enhanced for improved balance and to resist thermal saturation during track work.
“The new 2014 SRT Viper TA is engineered for the serious performance enthusiast who needs a car that can be driven daily yet has mind-boggling limits on a road course that would rival many track-only cars. As one of the best handling and fastest supercars available on the market today, the TA enables our customers to take their passion for high performance driving to the next level,” said Ralph Gilles, President and CEO — SRT Brand, Chrysler Group LLC. “The SRT engineering team set out to create a world-class supercar that has few competitors on the track or the road at any price.”
Key high-performance equipment for the 2014 SRT Viper TA Special Edition includes:
- Unique race-tuned calibration for the two-mode Bilstein DampTronic suspension system, retuned springs, shocks and road-racing derived sway bars offer firmer levels of damping and a smaller spread between modes than what is found on the Viper GTS
- Lighter, carbon fiber structural X-brace replaces the standard aluminum brace under the hood and ties the four corners of the engine compartment together, contributing to the 50-percent increase in torsional rigidity and stiffness across the Viper lineup
- New Brembo two-piece, 32-millimeters wide, high-thermal capacity rotors and pads that optimize heat dissipation providing improved extreme use
- Advanced Aerodynamics Package includes carbon fiber front splitters and rear spoiler to boost downforce at higher speeds – up to a 700-percent increase at 150 mph
A carbon fiber rear applique accentuates the rear width proportions and adds another level of detail.
Under the hood of the 2014 SRT Viper TA is the handcrafted, all-aluminum 8.4-liter, mid-front V-10 overhead-valve engine. Performance ratings are 640 horsepower and 600 lb.-ft. of torque – the most torque of any naturally aspirated sports-car engine in the world.
Inside, the performance driver-oriented cabin of the 2014 SRT Viper TA uses the same standard premium ballistic fabric racing seats from Sabelt, featuring a lightweight fiberglass shell created by a state-of-the-art resin transfer molding technology for mass reduction and long-term durability. Both driver and passenger seats can also accommodate a 3- or 6-point harness for racing belts.
The standard black interior combination includes unique orange accent stitching on the cloth seats, instrument panel (through the cowl), center stack, console, pull brake, shifter boot, shifter head, steering wheel and upper doors.
Curb weight is 3,390 pounds.
Production of the 2014 SRT Viper TA is underway at the Conner Avenue Assembly Plant in Detroit. Vehicles will begin to arrive at dealerships in the fourth quarter of 2013.
Ford’s latest police vehicle is the most fuel-efficient police car sold in the United States, with an EPA-estimated rating of 20 miles per gallon city, 30 mpg highway and 24 mpg combined. The special service police vehicle combines the durability of Ford’s Police Interceptor sedan with the fuel efficiency of its 2.0-liter EcoBoost® engine.
The fuel savings potential of the new special service police sedan compared with the most fuel efficient competitors is significant, especially for larger fleets spending tens of thousands of dollars per month on gasoline for police vehicles.
Both Dodge and Chevy’s most efficient police sedans achieve an EPA-estimated rating of 21 mpg combined; neither hit the 30 mpg mark on the highway cycle.
Based on the EPA-estimated ratings, when driven 30,000 miles per year – common for police-agency work – and with gas prices at $3.21 per gallon (national average based on EPA survey Nov. 18), the Special Service Police package could save agencies approximately $1,720 over three years compared with the most efficient competitors in the market today, which are rated at 21 mpg combined.
For police agencies operating fleets as large as 150 vehicles, the savings estimate over three years jumps to approximately $257,940. Agencies operating smaller fleets of only 50 vehicles could still see their three-year savings add up to approximately $85,980.
“Agencies looking to reduce their fuel expenditures, especially for non-pursuit vehicles in small rural agencies, universities and for detective work will want to take a look,” said Jonathan Honeycutt, Ford police marketing manager. “We’ve had great feedback on the vehicle and had a lot of agencies asking about it.”
The addition of the 2.0-liter EcoBoost engine means agencies will have four powertrain choices in the Police Interceptor sedan, including a V6 lineup that outperforms V8 engines of years past. Police Interceptor sedan is available with a 3.5-liter V6 with front-wheel drive, a 3.7-liter V6 with all-wheel drive and the powerhouse 3.5-liter V6 EcoBoost engine with all-wheel drive – allowing police to choose the powerplant that best meets their patrol requirements.
To help achieve best-in-class fuel efficiency, the special service police sedan will offer Active Grille Shutters that manage airflow to optimize the balance between engine cooling and aerodynamics. With the addition of the new engine, Ford remains confident in its “Power of Choice” strategy that includes not only retail customers, but fleet customers as well.
The new Special Service Police sedan equipped with the 2.0-liter EcoBoost retains all the essential police DNA that goes into pursuit-rated Police Interceptor sedans, including safety and durability features. Plus it is upfit-friendly and purpose-built. Commonality of parts remains an integral part of the special service police sedan.
Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR) has reorganized its competition department as the championship-winning race team expands to field four cars in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series beginning in 2014. The changes are as follows:
Greg Zipadelli has been named vice president of competition where he will manage all four Sprint Cup teams, with each crew chief reporting to him.
Matt Borland has been named vice president of engineering. In this role, Borland will oversee all of the team’s technical initiatives and various research and development projects. He will also transition from being an active crew chief to that of a mentor, specifically in regard to the crew chief position on the No. 41 Haas Automation team of driver Kurt Busch.
Daniel Knost has been promoted from race engineer on the No. 39 team to crew chief for the No. 41 Haas Automation team with Busch. Knost joined SHR in 2008 when it was Haas-CNC Racing after earning master of science and doctorate degrees in mechanical engineering from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University (Virginia Tech). Knost graduated from North Carolina State University in Raleigh with a bachelor of science degree in mechanical engineering in 2001.
In his six-year tenure with SHR, Knost has run the team’s seven-post shaker rig and assisted with at-track simulation support from 2008 through 2011. He became the race engineer for SHR’s No. 10 GoDaddy Chevrolet and driver Danica Patrick for eight races during its limited schedule in 2012 before moving to the No. 39 team in the same role.
Chad Johnston has been named crew chief for the No. 14 Bass Pro Shops/Mobil 1 team of three-time Sprint Cup champion Tony Stewart. Johnston comes to SHR from Michael Waltrip Racing (MWR) where since June 2011 he was the crew chief for the No. 56 team and driver Martin Truex Jr. Johnston joined MWR in 2010 as a race engineer. Johnston replaces Steve Addington, who has left SHR to pursue other opportunities.
Like Stewart, Johnston is an Indiana native. The two have worked together previously, as Johnston was the race engineer for the Morgan-Dollar Motorsports NASCAR Camping World Truck Series team in 2004-2005 where Stewart competed in three races, scoring two top-three finishes. Johnston graduated from Indiana State University in 2003 with a mechanical engineering degree.
Rodney Childers will be the crew chief for the No. 4 Budweiser/Jimmy John’s team of driver Kevin Harvick. Childers joined SHR in late October from MWR, where since 2009 he was a crew chief, first with the No. 00 team of driver David Reutimann (2009-2011) and later with the No. 55 team of drivers Brian Vickers, Mark Martin and Waltrip (2012-2013). Childers has been a crew chief since June 2005 when he was at MB2/MBV Motorsports with driver Scott Riggs.
Tony Gibson remains as crew chief for the No. 10 GoDaddy team of Patrick.
“Our greatest asset at Stewart-Haas Racing is our people,” said Stewart, co-owner of SHR with Gene Haas, founder of Haas Automation. “Obviously, there is a lot of change happening for 2014 as we grow to four teams and bring in Kevin Harvick and Kurt Busch. But with our new management structure and the crew chiefs we have in place, we’re well positioned to handle whatever challenges come our way. Collectively, we have the experience and wherewithal necessary for each of our teams to perform at the highest level possible.”
“In Haas Automation, we built the largest, most modern machine tool manufacturing operation in the United States. And the company’s philosophy of Bigger, Better, Faster, Lighter is also employed by Stewart-Haas Racing,” Haas said. “Bigger, Better, Faster, Lighter is what we strive for in the machining industry and it’s what we strive for in motorsports. This reorganization seamlessly marries our engineering expertise with our collective racing experience.”
Officials with the three automakers entrenched in NASCAR say their companies have been pleased with the move to the Generation-6 car, and none expect major changes to their entries as development of a 2014 rules package continues during the offseason.
The return of manufacturer identity was one of the key elements of the Gen-6 car, which debuted in 2013, with Chevrolet, Ford and Toyota groups given more leeway in addressing the appearance of their respective vehicles.
General Motors teams introduced the new Chevrolet SS for NASCAR Sprint Cup Seriescompetition in 2013 and will continue to field the model next season. Ford teams will once again field the Fusion while Toyota teams continue to compete with the Camry model.
“The biggest thing … that we were able to accomplish was that it really stays true to the look of the production car,” Pat Suhy, NASCAR group manager for General Motors, said of the new look for the cars on the track. “Now the focus has shifted from being about the common elements of the car — how do they fit my design — … to ‘OK, we’re testing new packages for 2014; here’s what we think we need to look at.’
“It’s evolved from creating a car to evolving a car.”
Part of that evolution involves working with NASCAR to develop a rules package that will provide close, competitive racing. The 2013 package might have been a step in the right direction, but it was just a step.
“I think … we’ve fixed some problems that were inherent in the Gen-5 car, but at the same time some new problems have cropped up,” said Andy Graves, vice president of chassis engineering for Toyota Racing Development and Toyota NASCAR program manager. “All the manufacturers and teams are working with NASCAR to try and solve those problems and make it better racing yet. We think there is still some work to do. It’s not a major overhaul, just fine-tuning.”
“We were able to put a ton of character in the cars and get the looks of the vehicles that, if all the cars were painted in gray primer, you could easily spot what cars are the Camrys,” he said. “And at the end of the day, that’s the goal. We’re really happy right now in that balance of performance versus character.
“When you look back at photos of all the cars in 2012 versus what we have today, it’s unbelievable the amount of character that we’re able to put in cars and still keep a level playing field amongst the three manufacturers.”
From a competitive standpoint, 17 drivers won one or more races this past season. Chevrolet teams won 16 of 36, the Toyota camp won 14 times while Ford teams registered six victories.
Track qualifying records took a beating, with 19 of 32 qualifying sessions (four qualifying sessions were canceled due to weather) resulting in new records.
“Performance wise … we’re not that far off,” said Pat DiMarco, Ford Racing NASCAR program manager. “We’re not the top of the heap right now, but I don’t think we’re that far off. With all the due diligence that we as OEMs did with NASCAR … I think there is enough in the engine and in the aero and the underbody and the setups and tires … that any little gain in any one of those areas will put you at the top at this point.
“I think (the Gen-6 car) did what it needed to do as far as the look; I think we have a good process in place with NASCAR.”
DiMarco said he expects the 2014 season to be “a game-changer” with the rules package undergoing alterations in an effort to improve competition on the series’ 1.5-mile venues.
“It’s not … going to be a body change that will be different … everybody won’t be focusing on that one thing,” he said. “There were a lot of things that did change from 2012 to this year with different camber rules, changes in weight, things like that. What really is the difference between the teams as well as the manufacturers out there? I think all in all we could be better every weekend. And I think every other team out there that doesn’t win would say the same thing.”
When NBC last televised NASCAR races between 2001 and 2006, executive producer Sam Flood knew there was one driver he could turn to for an opinion on whatever issue was most prominent in the sport at the time. So when NBC regained NASCAR broadcast rights beginning with the 2015 season, Flood knew he wanted that same driver in his broadcast booth.
Jeff Burton was announced Tuesday as the first member of an NBC booth that will begin calling NASCAR races in the summer of 2015. The 21-time race winner in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series will trade his steering wheel for a microphone, but Flood wants Burton to retain the same honest, outspoken style that’s long made him a favorite of the media he will join next season.
“If any story was going on, there’s one guy we’d go to for an interview. And it was Jeff, because he had an opinion, and he wasn’t afraid to say strong things and make strong comments about anything or anyone on the race track,” Flood said at the NASCAR Motorsports Marketing Forum, which kicked off Champion’s Week. “And when we started thinking about getting back into NASCAR, I knew the first phone call for an analyst up in the booth was going to be to this guy.”
NBC and NASCAR came to terms in July on an agreement that will see the network return as a broadcast partner beginning in 2015, and Flood said two days later he placed his first phone call to Burton. The timing worked out for both parties, given that Burton was approaching a career crossroads from a driving standpoint with Richard Childress Racing, the organization he parted ways with after this past season.
“It took me a while to really get myself in a place to say, I’m not going to drive in ’15,” Burton said. “That to me was the big step; was I willing to commit to that. Internally, that was my battle. And I came to that conclusion early this year, May or June. I didn’t publicly say it, but I told Richard that I was not going to drive in ’15. I had come to that conclusion. And, of course, that led to all the things that happened later. But it took me a while to get to that point.”
Ryan Newman will take over Burton’s former No. 31 car at RCR beginning next season. Monday, Michael Waltrip Racing announced that Burton would test for the organization and drive in a limited number of Sprint Cup events in 2014. Burton said Tuesday his schedule would probably be between six and 14 races. His deal with MWR is for one year, while he characterized his agreement with NBC as long term.
Although he may continue to test or even compete occasionally beyond next season, Burton said once the NBC broadcast season begins, he’s committed to the booth.
“I am 100 percent committed to being in the booth and doing my job for NBC. … It would be unfair for me to treat this as a part-time gig,” Burton said. “… It’s a job, and it’s going to take effort and it’s going to take work. And you can’t do that as effectively as you need to if you have too many other things going on. You just can’t do it. The job deserves more effort than that.”
Burton will begin to appear on NBC’s networks in 2014, as a regular guest on a daily NASCAR program on NBC Sports Network. NBC on Monday named Jeff Behnke its vice president of NASCAR production, and will base the former Turner Sports producer out of Charlotte, N.C. Flood said more talent announcements are still to come, with one anticipated as early as Wednesday.
The network has not yet revealed whether it will use a two- or three-person booth during races.
NASCAR and NBC Sports Group reached an agreement in July that grants NBC Universal exclusive rights to the final 20 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races, final 19 NASCAR Nationwide Series events, select NASCAR Regional and Touring Series events and other live content beginning in 2015. Of NBC Sports Group’s 20 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series events, seven will be carried on NBC annually, with 13 airing on NBC Sports Network. Four of NBC Sports Group’s 19 NASCAR Nationwide Series races will air on NBC, with 15 airing on NBC Sports Network. A central figure in all that will now be Burton, who pledges to remain as candid as always.
“I think you’ve just got to tell the truth,” he said. “What I’ve learned throughout the years is, you can say almost anything you want to say, it’s just how you say it. You have to say it correctly, and you have to be educated about it. Make sure you understand what you’re talking about before you talk about it. And if you don’t know, say you don’t know. It’s OK to tell the truth. I’ve thought a lot about it. What if Matt Kenseth, who’s a friend of mine, spins somebody out? What am I going to say? Well, I’m going to say, ‘Matt Kenseth spun him out.’
“I’m used to having to be a little more diplomatic than that, because when you’re racing against people, you essentially live with them. … You’ve got to make sure you can get along, and I think that’s still got to continue. But at the same time, you’ve got to call it the way you see it.”
Added Flood: “He’s not going to get along with everyone on race day. He’s going to have disagreements on strategy and what’s happening down on pit road, and that’s all part of it — seeing all different sides of the race day and the race experience.”
And yet, from the vantage point of the broadcast booth, Burton would rather tell the story than be a part of it.
“I’m not looking to create a Watergate moment,” he said. “What I want to do, I want to tell the story of what’s going on. I don’t want to create the story. It’s there. There’s 43 teams. There are more than just six or seven, there’s 43. And all of those 43 have something going on. … There’s something always going on, we’ve just got to do a good job of understanding what that is.”
Following the extremely productive recent tests at Sebring and Daytona, TRG-AMR North America has taken the next step for 2014. The team has officially entered the TUDOR United Sports Car Championship GTD class with two full season “Platinum” entries. The entries and approvals by IMSA will guarantee that two of the internationally successful Aston Martin V12 Vantage GT3 vehicles will be a part of the full 2014 season.