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Dodge Vipers slither home as Chrysler pulls out of road racing

It’s a sad day for Mopar fans, because Chrysler is pulling the plug on its factory-backed road racing program.

That means red-and-white Dodge Vipers will no longer threaten Chevrolet Corvettes, Ferrari 458 Italias, and Porsche 911s in the IMSA Tudor United SportsCar Championship.

The announcement cam just after the Viper team won both the manufacturer and driver championships for its class at the season-finale Petit Le Mans at Road Atlanta.

This was the first season for the Tudor series, which absorbed the American Le Man Series and Grand Am to become the premier sports-car racing series on this side of the Atlantic.

A victory in this inaugural season seems like a pretty good start, but Chrysler plans to focus its resources elsewhere.

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A company release said Dodge will “redirect its focus and efforts on the brand’s product lineup.”

Dodge is currently working to reincorporate the Viper into its lineup and absorb the formerly-separate SRT performance brand, and the race team apparently isn’t a part of that reorganization.

The team was rebranded from SRT to Dodge mid-season, with the cars shedding their previous silver livery for the classic red with white racing stripes worn by Viper GTS-R racers in the 1990s.

However, despite a successful record and some cool-looking race cars, Chrysler’s interest in the program has wavered.

The team declined its invitation to the 2014 24 Hours of Le Mans – an historic Viper stomping ground – when Auburn Hills decided to concentrate exclusively on the U.S. United SportsCar series.

Now that the program is completely kaput, Chevrolet will be left to uphold America’s honor in sports-car racing, at least until the rumored Ford GT successor arrives.