Still destined for a mid-2010 departure, Dodge has deemed a number of good things still lie ahead for its seminal supercar, the Viper. While details of the farewell run of 500 Special Edition SRT10s remain under wraps until next week when it appears at the Los Angeles Auto Show, Dodge has been more forthcoming about changes to its top-gun 2010 ACR (American Club Racing) version. Although output of its 8.4-liter V10 remains at 600 horsepower and 560 lb-ft of torque, the six-speed manual transmission now carries a slightly lower fifth gear ratio that gives the car higher straightaway speeds and it gets shorter linkage for "a better shifting experience." The latest ACR also benefits from a revised rear wing profile with revamped endplates that enhance aerodynamics, improve rear yaw downforce and help bump top speed from 180 top 184 mph.
To demonstrate just how effectively these tweaks translate into real-world performance, a cadre of Street and Racing Technology (SRT) personnel rolled into Mazda Raceway at Laguna Seca in Monterey, California, yesterday and raced off with a new on-lap record for production cars. Driven by STR vehicle dynamics engineer Chris Winkler, the 2010 ACR Coupe clocked a 1:33.915 reading with its on-board Motech data recorder and 1:33:944 on the trackside timer around the 2.238-mile/11-corner road course, handily eclipsing the existing 1:35:075 mark that was set on August 9th by a one-off prototype called the Devon GTX -- which is also based on a Viper platform. The Viper is no stranger to lap records at Laguna Seca. Prior to this latest round of reclaiming bragging rights, the production car mark had been held by professional road racer Randy Pobst who drove a 2008 Dodge Viper ACR to a 1:35:117 mark.