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The Illinois VCA hosted the 8th annual Viper War at Gingerman Racetrack in South Haven Michigan on August 28th and 29th. The racing on Saturday consisted of the last leg of the coveted Triple Crown. The best combination of drag racing, autocross and road course skills from different events throughout the year, allows the winner to take home an elegant 3 foot tall crystal trophy similar to that of the Indy 500 or the Stanley Cup. Scott Alexander won this year and will have his name engraved on the trophy next to all the previous years’ winners. Congratulations Scott!

Bill Sampangaro, the Illinois VCA President, and his family, always work extremely hard and put together the best events. Everyone in their family is hot shoes and very soon will be winning every class at the events. Race director Tom Shapiro keeps everything running at the track and his quick witted humor always makes me laugh. This year the club purchased timing equipment similar to what’s used in the Viper Days series. Gary Grube, the clubs electronics guru, orchestrated timing and scoring to a professional level. Helping Gary on the track in his SVS prepared Viper is always an entertaining affair. Video cameras, pace car lights, pop out screens with GPS and wireless lap time recorders hooked into the timing and scoring doesn’t hinder his aggressiveness on the track whatsoever. Gary’s wife Gale takes pictures of all the IL VCA events and hosts them at ShareOurPictures.com.

[image]http://www.supervipersystems.com/viperwar/pitlane.JPG[/image]

[image]http://www.supervipersystems.com/viperwar/lineup.JPG[/image]

[image]http://www.supervipersystems.com/viperwar/redlinup.JPG[/image]

[image]http://www.supervipersystems.com/viperwar/autoform.JPG[/image]

[image]http://www.supervipersystems.com/viperwar/stevelowden.JPG[/image]

[image]http://www.supervipersystems.com/viperwar/trailer.JPG[/image]

SVS went to the event to help instruct and test a supercharged viper that we recently completed. I persuaded two friends, Paul and RD to sign up for the event and told them I would instruct them for the 2 days of racing. It’s always interesting to uncover people’s personalities when they are learning on a road course.

Paul has a beautiful silver/blue GTS that is screaming with upgrades perfectly suited for road course conditions. Braking in the front is supplied by 8 piston Brembo’s, JRZ racing suspension handles the bumps and transitions, BBS wheels and 550hp at the crank finishes off this street/track Viper. Paul picked up the line immediately and increased his speed very cautiously. We were able to communicate through Peltor rally helmets with built in headphones and microphones that work off a 9 volt battery. This setup worked perfect for instructing on the track. For his first time on the track Paul learned what his Viper is capable of and has been bitten by the road course bug. He will definitely be back for more racing events.

[image]http://www.supervipersystems.com/viperwar/paulgts.JPG[/image]

[image]http://www.supervipersystems.com/viperwar/peltor.JPG[/image]

RD has a completely different approach to his driving technique. Where as Paul is an experienced 60 years old and a little more reserved, RD is 19 and totally fearless. RD took to the track like he was unable to take his foot off the gas pedal. RD’s first couple times on the track were difficult for him to find the line because of the speed he wanted to carry in every turn. Learning to control speed through the turns, and patience exiting the turns is very difficult when you don’t focus on the line. RD had the volume of his driving turned up to eleven. He possessed great braking skills and continued to work on his smoothness through the turns. After a day of spinning out, sliding off the track and banging my head inside his Viper, I needed some rest. In the 2 days of learning the track, RD had improved his times by over 10 seconds and brought himself close to being competitive with other drivers who finished on the podium. On Sunday RD took me on an off course excursion that would be similar to a loggers run water ride at an amusement park. While loosing the back end after a left hand turn 1, RD didn’t correct his slide and took us straight off the track into some standing water about 1 foot deep. I seen it coming as soon as we started to lose control and just relaxed to enjoy another RD OCE. The splash had to be about ten foot in the air and completely covered his 2001 yellow RT. RD’s Viper is completely stock except for a front splitter and rear wing. He broke his splitter in half while diving into the water. Even though everyone in the pits seen the drama and razzed RD, he took it in stride and handled it with great maturity. He will also definitely be signing up for more events and will be a controllable hot shoe quicker than most realize. Way to go RD!!!!!!!

[image]http://www.supervipersystems.com/viperwar/laughing.JPG[/image]

[image]http://www.supervipersystems.com/viperwar/rdandpaul.JPG[/image]

The best part of the whole weekend came on Sunday as we tested the SVS Stryker S/C Viper owned by Dan Spata. We finished this Viper a couple months ago and gave it to Dan with a safe road driven tune. We advised him to put some miles on it and not to run the engine at full rpm. Dan put about a 1000 miles on his Stryker S/C and we monitored while keeping in close contact with him. During his break in driving Dan drove about 3 hours up to Road America and did some conservative laps around the track and drove the 3 hour trip home. We felt ready to do some serious full out testing at the Viper War event. On Sunday, Dan drove the first 2 sessions at full throttle and we downloaded the data log for inspection. Dan won the Triple Crown last year and is an experienced driver. Everything was running beautiful so Dan asked me to take his baby out on the track and push it a little harder. I couldn’t refuse.

[image]http://www.supervipersystems.com/viperwar/danjosh.JPG[/image]

[image]http://www.supervipersystems.com/viperwar/datalog.JPG[/image]

[image]http://www.supervipersystems.com/viperwar/josh.JPG[/image]

We didn’t check temps on his tires and before I went on the track I asked Dan to set the tire pressures on the Hoosier DOT slicks at 24lbs. all the way around. We weren’t focusing on set-up or pressures as much as we were focusing on the engine. We also didn’t bleed the brakes since his 1000 mile break in period. The aerodynamics on Dan’s Viper produce’s a significant amount of down force that revealed to us the fact that our spring rates are almost 30% less than where we should be. This was confirmed at the event by Ralph Gielles who was running the Mopar SRT-10 factory built One Lap of America Viper. You will notice in the video’s a couple of area’s where the car bottoms out. With the brakes not being bled it was difficult to blip the throttle while trying to down shift when the mushy brake pedal went beneath the gas pedal. Gingerman racetrack is unsuitable for a 3:54 gear as you are constantly in between third and fourth gears in the turns. Now for my last excuse, I hurt my elbow this past week by dropping a shelf on it and I was in substantial pain. I guess the adrenaline took care of that during the racing.

Illinois VCA Prez Bill Sampangaro
[image]http://www.supervipersystems.com/viperwar/billsamp.JPG[/image]
Glen Davis SVS prepared racecar
[image]http://www.supervipersystems.com/viperwar/glendavis.JPG[/image]
Marshall D. Compe Coupe......Oh Yeah!
[image]http://www.supervipersystems.com/viperwar/compcoupe.JPG[/image]

Ralph Gielles (Team SRT engineer) was driving the Team Mopar SRT-10 and had captured the fastest time at the event. It was a pleasure talking with him and looking at all the trick factory built goodies that were incorporated into the SRT-10 that he was piloting. This SRT-10 took second place at the One Lap of America this past year. It surely is a beautiful looking SRT-10 that I would have loved to test on the track. It was great having him there and supporting the Illinois VCA Viper War. Little did I know that we soon would be in a dog fight on the track? Hey! I was only there to test! When I brought the SVS S/C Viper out of the pits and up to the line, Ralph pulled in right behind me. I knew that something was brewing and once we were on the track, if everything was reading safe in the cockpit, then there was no way I was going to let him pass me. I had the power and know that Ralph’s SRT also had significant mods to the engine. I found out once we were on the track that Ralph could out break me into the turns and that he had much better handling through the turns but I could out power him down the straights. I’m very confident that another test session focusing on the suspension and brakes will bring this Viper into the low 20’s and on a perfect day possibly into the teens. I easily left a second at every turn and with more than ten turns at Gingerman the results should be rewarding after another test session.

[image]http://www.supervipersystems.com/viperwar/moparsrt.JPG[/image]

[image]http://www.supervipersystems.com/viperwar/moparsrt1.JPG[/image]

Thanks to everyone that worked hard to put this event together for everyone to enjoy. It was a pleasure hanging out at the track and helping others improve. Thanks to Dan Spata for allowing me to drive and test the fastest Viper I have ever driven on a road course. Most important I would like to thank my girlfriend Mary for taking the pic’s and video that allows everyone to experience what it would be like to have been there.

[image]http://www.supervipersystems.com/viperwar/winners.JPG[/image]

[image]http://www.supervipersystems.com/viperwar/maryandjr.JPG[/image]

Ralph and I got along great at the track and he is a very cool guy......but looking at this picture you might think that we are ready to go toe to toe....I'm sure we will race again Ralph!

[image]http://www.supervipersystems.com/viperwar/ralphandjr.JPG[/image]

C-ya at the next event!

RjR
 

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Great post!

what a fantastic event, and looks like a great turnout for what Vipers were built for.

Was this well publicized - I don't think I heard of this before - or have I just been unattentive?
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Viper4life said:
Awesome pics and writeup.

That silver SRT10 with the roof and the guy in the pink shirt looks awesome. Any more details on it (mods)?
To everyone that's enjoying the post, your welcome!

The owner is Steve Lowden and Autoform Development built it for him. It looks very cool in person.

Last night at the club meeting SR coined a new name for RD. He's now known as the "Yellow Submarine". RD is now famous. /images/graemlins/laughing.gif

[image]http://www.supervipersystems.com/viperwar/rdsubmarine.jpg[/image]

We had already drove over the front splitter and Gale missed the initial splash. Gale is Gary's sister, not his wife. My bade. The hit was huge and the splash went all the way over the pit exit road that we are driving towards.

[image]http://www.supervipersystems.com/viperwar/rdsubmarine1.jpg[/image]

[image]http://www.supervipersystems.com/viperwar/rdsubmarine2.jpg[/image]
 
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