CHRYSLER VIPER GTS-R For sale
Chassis C20 - 1999 ORECA factory car
Scored 3 wins in the 1999 FIA-GT / 2000 & 2001 French GT Champion
Fantastic condition and race ready
Price: Please Inquire
1999 was a year of important changes in GT Racing with the GT1 cars being banned and this led to new categories « LM GTS & LM GT » for the ACO and « GT & N/GT » for the FIA. Basically the new LMGTS/GT regulations would be based on the former GT2 whilst the LM GT & N/GT would be created for race cars more closely derived from road cars.
Consequently ORECA modified its already highly successful Viper to the new regulations. The cars received notably a slightly wider track, better suspension including Dynamic shocks, refined aerodynamics and a new Brembo braking system. On top of these modifications, a lot of attention was given to the reliability which was still an issue with the 1998 cars.
In 1999 ORECA retained its beautiful 1998 « American & French » livery of red white and blue, and built five new cars, namely C17-C20-C21-C22-C23. The program was pretty ambitious as they competed in FIA GT, Le Mans and the first edition of ALMS. From the first tests at Le Castellet, the 1999 car displayed impressive pace, giving no real chance to the poor Porsche 993 GT2.
C20 was designated to be the car number 2 in FIA - GT driven by Jean Philippe Belloc. In a recent conversation with him, he recalled : « I had a fantastic opportunity to race with ORECA and the Viper after my career in F3000. I did all of the season in the car number 2 and was paired with various drivers for marketing reasons. At Silverstone I had Bell, at Zolder Duez, Donohue in the US and also Dupuy who was a top driver. At Watkins Glen, a fast and dangerous track, with Donohue we were keen on doing great and win the race. I did the pole, set the fastest lap and we won. Winning there with an American driver, in an American car was something special. The Viper GTS-R was a fabulous car to drive, it had down force, was agile due to its wheel base and had a lot of torque, the car was simply unbeatable.Driving the car under the rain was even more fantastic. I won three times that year beating the highly experienced Beretta / Wendlinger duo, then got my credibility as a factory GT driver. »
Indeed Watkins Glen was an all American victory for both car & driver. Back then this victory had an important impact and helped to fill the order forms for the Vipers in the US.
Below are the results of C20 in the 1999 FIA GT :
- Hockenheim 25-27/June/1999 : Belloc / Dupuy - 1st in qualifying -result : 1st
- Hungaroring 4-7/July/1999 : Belloc / Dupuy - 2nd in qualifying - result : 1st
- Zolder 17-19/July/1999 : Belloc / Duez - 6th in qualifying - result DNF ( Gearbox )
- Oschersleben 6-8/August/1999 : Belloc / Duez - 7th in qualifying - result 2nd
- Donington 3-5/September 1999 : Belloc / Bell - 6th in qualifying - result 16th
- Homestead 24-26/September 1999 : Belloc / Donohue - 2nd in qualifying - result 4th
- Watkins Glen 1-3/October/1999 : Belloc / Donohue - 1st in qualifying - result 1st
- Zhuhai 26-28/November/1999 : Belloc / Vosse - 5th in qualifying - result 5th
Belloc ended by being crowned FIA-GT vice-champion with 53 points, only beaten by the Beretta & Wendlinger duo with 78 points. ORECA largely dominated the Team Championship with 137 points ahead of Chamberlain ( Viper ) with 40 points whereas the first Porsche team Freisinger only scored 23 ! C20 is one of the four cars used to win the Team Championship in 1999. In 1998 & 1999 the Viper had virtually no competition in FIA and totally outpaced the Porsche 993 GT2. The Viper's supreme domination caused Porsche to retire from GT racing in the higher class for more than a decade.
At the end of the season, Dominique Dupuy set up a racing team called DDO ( Dominique Dupuy Organisation ) with co-driver and partner François Fiat to enter a Viper in the 2000 French GT Championship. Being then an ORECA factory driver an agreement was soon found with Hugues de Chaunac for DDO to race as a top private Viper team and thus demonstrate to potential customers the Viper’s superiority. In a conversation with Dominique, in 2008 he informed us : « I was invited to choose among the 1999 factory ones the car I would like to race in the GT FFSA, naturally I made up my mind for C20, this car was like a bike and it was to date the best handling Viper I had ever driven ».
C20 was delivered by ORECA in the early days of 2000 to DDO, completely overhauled and repainted in an immaculate white. Upon delivery the car completed a shake down and was immediately repainted in black. The 2000 and 2001 seasons proved to be extremely successful for C20 and indeed it twice won the French GT Championship. Dupuy was then at the pinnacle of his driving ability. Indeed in 2000 he notched up wins at Daytona, Le Mans and Sebring with ORECA and his national championship with DDO ! During the 2000 season it won six out of the thirteen races, and at the end of the 2001 season it won no less than thirteen of the thirty three races it entered and even achieved 23 podiums.
By the time of the 2002 and 2003 seasons, C20, which was still largely based on the original 1999 specifications, was outdated by newer generations of cars. From 2001 the FIA regulations were radically changed and allowed a lot of development to be done on the car. DDO was now looking to buy a newer generation car and didn’t develop it significantly as they bought a Saleen S7R for the 2004 season. At the end of 2003 the car was sold to the highly regarded Autovitesse team, then a front runner in the GT2 class with a multitude of Diablo GTR's.
Benefiting from the development work completed by ORECA to turn the Vipers into a proper GT1 car, Autovitesse sent the chassis to ORECA for modifications to comply with the 2003 specifications which included new suspension and pick up points plus the full upgrade with Hollinger gearbox, wider track and body, carbon fiber brakes, 2 meter rear wing and a high down force splitter & diffuser. The chassis and body were repainted in orange. In the hands of capable drivers the car did very well in the French GT FFSA from 2004 to 2006. Despite the strong opposition from the Saleens, Ferrari and Aston Martin Prodrive, C20 managed another four wins. Anthony Beltoise achieved the best results with the car, often outpacing the other Vipers and at Dijon in 2004, it took the pole by almost a second. During the Autovitesse days the car was always perfectly maintained and was prevented from being molested like many GT1 cars at the end of their careers.
When it was offered for sale at the beginning of 2007, C20 was in splendid condition and purchased by a collector. It was immediately decided to restore it back to its original 1999 FIA-GT condition and the car was finished in the Belloc-Donohue colors from the Watkins Glen victory. Fortunately most of the older specifications parts removed by DDO and Autovitesse had been kept and after a 8 months meticulous restoration, C20 was back to its ORECA glory days conforming to the exacting 1999 FIA GT specifications.
In the 2010's the car participated in some of the most prestigious events both in Europe and USA such as the Daytona, Sebring and Le Mans Classic. Indeed this is the most intensively raced historic Viper to this day. The owner has maintained the car both mechanically and aesthetically regardless of the cost. Now having turned 70, the time has come for him to sell C20 to someone that will take good care of her.
In 2019 it received an extensive mechanical rebuild including the engine, gearbox, differential, brakes, water cooler, shocks, suspension and fuel cell. In 2022 C20 was completely repainted and also received a new windscreen, windows, lights and wheel arches. All of this work has cost in excess of 150,000 €.
C20 is offered in stunning condition, ready to race with less than three hours on the mechanical components, and would satisfy the most demanding collector or racer. It is fully eligible for historic events both in Europe and the US. Such a 1999 factory specification GTS-R, would be unbeatable in its class ( GT from 94 to 99 ) as it was in its hey day in the 1999 GT Championship.
Art & Revs would be delighted to provide to the new owner of C20 full technical and race support.
In 1989 very few thought that Lee Iacocca’s Viper Concept and its V10 engine would one day be put into serial production, but in 1992 the RT/10 which was very close to the Concept arrived as a ground breaking development in the automotive world.
Iacocca was the man behind the Mustang and the Ford GT program, and after leaving Ford he saved Chrysler notably with the Voyager and Cherokee. After this success, his aim was to resurrect Dodge, whose image in the 1980's was nothing more than « Grandpa’s car ». The Viper was a huge success and was primordial in the renewal of Chrysler’s image and notoriety in the 90's, becoming the world’s most profitable car company.
However, to support the image of the Viper and to promote Chrysler sales in Europe, a proper racing program was needed but there was no real knowledge at Chrysler on how to build a Le Mans race car. At the time François Castaing, a Chrysler executive who had known ORECA’s Hugues De Chaunac for a very long time, proposed the French company to Chrysler’s board in 1995 in order to give ORECA the mission to run the racing version of the Viper, the « GTS-R » at Le Mans and the FIA-GT in the GT1 category. In 1996 with GT1 heading to GT monsters such as the Toyota GT One, Porsche GT1 or Mercedes CLK, De Chaunac convinced Chrysler that the Viper would make a perfect GT2 and in a first step the class victory at Le Mans was a more reasonable project.
Starting from the GT1 basis, ORECA and Mopar Performance spent the winter of 1995/96 re-engineering the car to GT2 specifications and developing a proper racing engine with Caldwell Development Inc. As a result the Viper won the FIA GT2 championship with Justin Bell, out pacing the Porsches, the absolute reference in GT for decades but success eluded the team at Le Mans. For 1997 the GTS-R was further developed with a lighter chassis, better aero and a more reliable engine. For the 1998 and 1999 seasons, ORECA Vipers had no real contender and largely dominated the FIA-GT championship, Le Mans and the ALMS.
From 1999 ORECA also created a proper customer version of the GTS-R, supplying parts and assistance which would continue until the end of the 2006 season.
2000 would be the last year of Viper Team ORECA as a factory team and this final season saw intense battles with the all new and much improved Corvette C5R built following the new regulations. However, the Viper dominated again and won Daytona 24h overall, Sebring 12h, Le Mans 24h and the ALMS GTS Championship.
In 2001 the regulations changed as the GT saw the arrival of the new « GT1 » category. The Vipers still had considerable potential and were upgraded to the new specifications and developed by the private teams. Finally in 2003 ORECA developed a new GT1 homologation package for the Viper.
Throughout these years of involvement in motorsport the Viper wrote some of the best pages of GT racing history and listed here are the main achievements :
- 1997 : FIA GT2 Driver and Team Championships
- 1998 : FIA GT2 Driver and Team Championships Le Mans 24h
- 1999 : FIA GT Driver and Team Championships Le Mans 24h 1/2/3/4/5/6th places - ALMS Driver and Team Championships
- 2000 : Daytona 24h 1st overall - ALMS Driver and Team Championships - Le Mans 24h - French GT Championship
- 2001 : FIA GT driver and manufacturer Championships
- 2002 : FIA GT driver and manufacturer Championships ) French GT Championship
- 2003 : French GT Championship - Italian GT Championship - Belgian Championship
- 2004 : French GT Championship - Italian GT Championship - Belgian Championship
- 2005 : French GT Championship
The supremely iconic GTS-R's with their legendary speed, handling and reliability, have an incredible future on the historic race car scene.