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You can ‘call it a comeback:’ SRT-backed Viper enters Le Mans for first time in 13 years

Viper SRT The Viper will take the world stage this weekend in its first factory-backed 24 Hours of Le Mans race in more than a decade.

Debuting in 1996 under a partnership with the French race and engineering firm Oreca, the Viper’s return to Le Mans follows a rich history with the original Viper GTS-R winning three consecutive one-two finishes at the 24 Hours of Le Mans from 1998 to 2000. 

The 2000 race at Le Mans would mark the Viper’s last race contested at Le Mans with Chrysler’s official factory-backed Viper racing program coming to an end in 2001. 

However, since the introduction of the fifth generation SRT Viper at the 2012 New York International Auto Show, there’s been buzz that Chrysler was revving the American icon up to make a return to the legendary endurance race in France.

Now, after racing in the American Le Mans Series (ALMS), the Viper is set to return to Circuit de la Sarthe this weekend to compete in this year’s 24 Hours of Le Mans under the SRT Motorsports brand with a pair of Viper GTS-Rs.

Herald as the most famous endurance race in the world, the 24 Hours of Le Mans has served as an iconic benchmark for high-performance in the world of automobiles since 1923 and is considered a premier showcase for cars aiming to compete on a global level. 

Ralph Gilles, President and CEO, SRT Brand and Motorsports, said that the company had always hoped to return to the race.

“I still remember the excitement and euphoria and spill-off effect of having been successful at Le Mans in the past,” Gilles said, in an official company press release. “We had a fantastic platform for the car and while our number one goal was to get back into ALMS racing, a return to compete at Le Mans again was also certainly on our radar too.”