2002 CHRYSLER VIPER GTS-R GT1
The VIPER GTS-R C37
There are many American cars that have become icons through the mark they have left on the history of racing. The Viper GTS-R is one of those that forged their legend at Le Mans! As a contemporary of the Corvette C5-R, which it fought several fierce battles with at Sebring, Daytona and Le Mans, the Viper GTS-R embodied a unique vision of Grand Touring! This sleek and timeless car was tailored for speed, and produced the characteristically raucous sound of its Chrysler V10 engine. It was entered for racing by Chrysler, which aimed to make an iconic car with a history, and not just another "muscle car". Chrysler made every effort to use parts from the production version wherever it could, thereby making the Viper a true GT in its spirit and its DNA.
Ascott Collection is now offering for sale one of the 55 GTS-R cars produced - a car with a well-documented race-record from the model’s initial period, and which is currently a leading contender in historic races.
The early days of the Viper programme
The Chrysler Viper GTS-R (called the Dodge Viper GTS-R in the United States) was derived from the production version of the Viper. After the public presentation of the very first prototype in 1989, the Viper made its first appearance in 1992, and quickly took to the race-track in national races in North America. But the first model (a roadster) lacked rigidity and was not entirely suited to high level competition. When a coupe model - the Viper GTS - joined the range, Chrysler decided to develop a major sports programme in parallel. The idea was to create a true synergy between the GTS road model and the GTS-R racing car (the ‘R’ standing for ‘racing’), to serve as a flag-bearer for the firm, particularly in Europe. This commitment was approved in 1995 and led to the start of international competition in 1996.
A number of service providers were selected to launch the programme. Engineers from Caldwell Development Inc worked with support from J&P Motorsports. Chrysler personnel were also directly involved in aerodynamic studies in the United States and England, in partnership with Reynard Motorsports. Riley & Scott, another well-known American firm, also helped construct the first prototypes before this job was then given to Roush Industries.
In North America, Chrysler initially commissioned the Canaska/Southwind team to race the cars. After a season racing in the IMSA GT series in 1996 and the presence of two cars at the 24 Hours of Le Mans the same year (with one of them finishing 10th), Canaska/Southwind withdrew from the Viper development project in 1997.
It was the French team Oreca, also selected at the start of the project, that was chosen to build and maintain the cars in its workshops in Signes, and to act as a relay for official Chrysler race entries in Europe and then worldwide. Oreca took charge of assembling all the components from England and the United States. Based on the C9 chassis, the Vipers "saw the light of day" in the Var department.
An exceptional track record
We could detail the complete track record of all the Vipers entered in competition, but the list of victories is such that it would make your head spin. The takeaway from the Viper epic is the way the car truly took off thanks to Oreca.
In 1997, Oreca won the driver and team titles in FIA GT (GT2 category), giving the car its first major victory.
Further successes quickly followed. The Viper GTS-R won four other FIA GT world championships (1998 and 1999 in GT2, 2001 and 2002 in GT1), and three consecutive category victories at the 24 Hours of Le Mans (from 1998 to 2000), two American Le Mans Series championships (1999 and 2000), and the overall victory at the 24 Hours of Daytona in 2000.
Vipers chalked up multiple overall wins in other 24-hour events and over 10 national championships around the world. The 2000 season was certainly the car’s high-water mark. Oreca’s triumph at the 24 Hours of Le Mans was total, with the real domination of the American car prompting more and more teams to switch to it. This partly explains why the Oreca workshops built 14 of the cars in 2000 (from chassis C25 to C38) - by far the most prolific vintage. This emblematic year thus produced the C37 we are now offering for sale.
The Viper GTS-R chassis C37
Based on the order of assembly and the chassis numbers, the Viper GTS-R C37 was built in 2000 but was only officially raced for the first time in 2002, by Peter Cook. It has a complete race record, with entries in several championships: in the Kumho Euro GT Series, in the FIA GT and the Belcar Championships, and then in the French FFSA GT Championship.
It was in the French championship that the car was entered for the most races, over two seasons (2005 and 2006) with the CD Sport team. In 2005, Laurent Cazenave shared the wheel of the car bearing No 22 with Jean-Claude Police, Johnny Guitard and Didier Moureu. In 2006, the most frequent pairing was Laurent Cazenave and Jean-Claude Police.
07/04/2002 - Barcelona - Kumho Euro GT Series - 8th and 5th - Peter Cook (n°2)
04/05/2002 - Silverstone - FIA GT - 10th - Carl Rosenblad / Peter Cook / Neil Cunningham (n°26)
15/09/2002 - Spa-Francorchamps - Kumho Euro GT Series - retirement and 3rd - Peter Cook (n°2)
08/06/2003 - Spa-Francorchamps - Belcar - 26th - Peter Cook /Franck Pelle (n°26)
08/24/2003 - Spa-Francorchamps - ADAC - double retirement - Peter Cook (n°14)
05/06/2004 - Spa-Francorchamps - Belcar - retirement - Peter Cook /Franck Pelle (n°20)
26/09/2004 - Spa-Francorchamps - Belcar - non-starter - Peter Cook /Franck Pelle (n°20)
28/03/2005 - Nogaro - GT FFSA - 19th and non-starter - Laurent Cazenave / Johnny Guitard (n°22)
04/17/2005 - Lédenon - GT FFSA - withdrawal and 8th - Laurent Cazenave / Johnny Guitard (n°22)
05/08/2005 - Pau - GT FFSA - 19th - Laurent Cazenave / Johnny Guitard (n°22)
05/29/2005 - Dijon - GT FFSA - withdrawal and 11th - Laurent Cazenave / Didier Moureu (n°22)
26/06/2005 - Val de Vienne - GT FFSA - 9th and retirement - Laurent Cazenave / Jean-Claude Police (n°22)
04/09/2005 - Albi - GT FFSA - 17th and retirement - Laurent Cazenave / Jean-Claude Police (n°22)
25/09/2005 - Le Mans - GT FFSA - 9th and 12th - Laurent Cazenave / Jean-Claude Police (n°22)
16/10/2005 - Magny-Cours - GT FFSA - 8th and 29th - Laurent Cazenave / Jean-Claude Police (n°22)
17/04/2006 - Nogaro - GT FFSA - 9th and 11th - Laurent Cazenave / Jean-Claude Police (n°22)
04/30/2006 - Lédenon - GT FFSA - 26th and non-starter - Laurent Cazenave / Jean-Claude Police (n°22)
21/05/2006 - Dijon - GT FFSA - 9th and 10th - Laurent Cazenave / Jean-Claude Police (n°22)
25/06/2006 - Pau - GT FFSA - 14th and 27th - Jean-Luc Beaubélique / Laurent Cazenave (n°22)
10/09/2006 - Albi - GT FFSA - 22nd and 23rd - Pascal Destembert / Michel Nourry (n°22)
15/10/2006 - Le Mans - GT FFSA - 28th and non-starter - Laurent Cazenave / Simon Abadie (n°22)
22/10/2006 - Magny-Cours - GT FFSA - 14th and 14th - Thierry Rabineau / Luc Paillard (n°22)
The C37 joined the Viper Museum in Switzerland before being acquired in 2017 by the current owner, who entered it in historic Masters and Peter Auto events. In its last race at the 2021 Historic French Grand Prix (Masters Endurance Legends), it lapped at under 2'10 (with the Mistral Chicane - races can also be run on the Paul Ricard circuit without the Mistral Chicane). The C37 is thus a highly competitive GT1 car, maintained by a renowned French workshop. It is sold race-ready. The car is offered for sale with a basic set of parts, with the option of acquiring an additional large set of parts.