Dodge Viper Cup Series Kicks Off Inaugural Season on VERSUS

Virginia International Raceway Hosts First Two Viper Cup Races

* Ten-race spec series features new Dodge Viper ACR-X – "the" ultimate special-edition model of America's ultimate sports car
* VERSUS to televise all 10 events in 30-minute show format
* MICHELIN signs on as official tire sponsor
* First two races of Viper Cup series celebrity driver program will feature Shaun Bailey of Road and Track magazine and Army National Guard Sergeant Mike Kohn of U.S. Olympic bobsledding fame
* Growing interest in the new series leads Dodge to produce 25 additional 2010 Viper ACR-X models

July 9, 2010 , Auburn Hills, Mich.

The next chapter in the racing legacy of the Dodge Viper is about to be written when 12 Dodge Viper ACR-X race cars take to the track to begin the 2010 Dodge Viper Cup series season at Virginia International Raceway (VIR) in Alton, Va., July 10-11, 2010.

"The Dodge Viper ACR-X is designed and built specifically for the race track," said Ralph Gilles, President and CEO, Dodge Brand. "Now with VERSUS on board, race fans will have the opportunity to see our untamed and unmatched road-racing machine along with some of our talented Viper owner/drivers compete on five of the best road courses in the county as part of the Dodge Viper Cup series."

Event Coverage on VERSUS

VERSUS, the fastest growing sports cable network in the U.S. will televise each of the 10 series races in 30-minute shows approximately two to three weeks after each race. Viewers should check local listings for the 2010 Dodge Viper Cup series schedule on VERSUS. If fans miss a certain race, each 30-minute show also will re-air on VERSUS at various times throughout the season.
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"We look forward to delivering coverage of the new Dodge Viper Cup series to a national audience," said Michael Perman, Senior Director of Program Planning and Acquisitions for VERSUS. "This is a great addition to our motorsports offerings, which includes the IZOD IndyCar Series as well as NASCAR events, and we are excited for the opportunity to provide viewers with even more racing action."

The 2010 Dodge Viper Cup series on VERSUS (subject to change) consists of two races per weekend for five weekends, including:

Race Date
Air Date / Time (Eastern)
July 10
Sat., July 24, 2 p.m.
July 11
Sat., July 31, 2:30 p.m.
Aug. 14
Hallett Raceway, Jennings, Okla.
Sun., Sept. 5, 3:30 p.m.
Aug. 15
Hallett Raceway, Jennings, Okla.
Sun., Sept. 12, 3:30 p.m.
Sept. 11
Pocono Raceway, Long Pond, Pa.
Sun., Oct. 10, 3:30 p.m.
Sept. 12
Pocono Raceway, Long Pond, Pa.
Sun., Oct. 17, 3:30 p.m.
Oct. 2
Miller Motorsports Park, Tooele, Utah
Sun., Oct. 24, 3:30 p.m.
Oct. 3
Miller Motorsports Park, Tooele, Utah
Sun., Oct. 31, 3:30 p.m.
Oct. 23
Spring Mountain Motorsports Ranch, Pahrump, Nev.
Sun., Nov. 7, 3:30 p.m.
Oct. 24
Spring Mountain Motorsports Ranch, Pahrump, Nev.
Sun., Nov. 14, 3:30 p.m.

Celebrity Driver Program

As part of the 2010 Dodge Viper Cup series season, various celebrity drivers will be invited to drive in the on-track completion, and if they win, their purse will be donated to the charity of their choice. Each celebrity driver is specifically chosen by Dodge Motorsports and specially trained for all on-track competition in the series by professional racer Cindi Lux of Lux Performance Group. Lux competed successfully in a Dodge Viper Competition Coupe and brings extensive experience in management of Dodge Viper SRT10 Clubs along with various celebrity driver programs.

Shaun Bailey – competing in the No. 52 Viper ACR-X at VIR – joined Road & Track magazine in 2000 and became Associate Engineering Editor in July 2010.

Bailey, from Newport Beach, Calif., is a graduate of California State Polytechnic University, Pomona, with a Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering. As a Manufacturing Engineer intern at Parker and Hannifin, he gained experience with robotics and motion control products. At CSU Pomona he joined the Formula SAE team, and the team's success lead to his position at Road & Track. Bailey has competed in numerous Sports Car Club of America and National Auto Sport Association races, in addition to his interests in motorcycle and kart racing.

Army National Guard Sergeant Michael Kohn – competing in the No. 53 Viper ACR-X at VIR – became a competitive athlete at an early age. In high school, he excelled at football and in track and field. He was first introduced to the bobsled in 1990 and, at age 18, he was the youngest competitor in the 1991 Olympic Trials.

After graduating from George Mason University, Kohn entered World Cup racing in 1998 and finished fifth in the 1999 World Championships. In 2002, he won the Bronze medal at the Salt Lake City Olympics in the four-man event-the first U.S. Olympic medal in men's bobsled since 1956.

Following the 2002 Olympics, Kohn switched from push athlete to driver. Since that time, he has won multiple National Championships and a World Cup Silver medal and has had many Top-10 finishes.
Kohn grew up in northern Virginia and currently resides in Potomac Falls, Va. He received a bachelor's degree in Exercise Physiology from George Mason University in Fairfax, Va. He joined the Army National Guard in 1999 as an Infantry Soldier, completing his Basic and Infantry AIT training at Fort Benning, Ga.

Every vehicle that competes in the Dodge Viper Cup series must be a new 2010 Dodge Viper ACR-X. A contingency program sponsored by Dodge Motorsports and Mopar – Chrysler Group LLC's source for all original equipment and performance parts for Dodge, Ram, Chrysler and Jeep vehicles – will pay out more than $200,000 in cash and parts. Top 5 finishers of each race will receive both a cash payout and a Parts Voucher, as credit toward purchase of Mopar parts and accessories.

Additional cash awards will be made to the top-three finishers in the final Dodge Viper Cup series standings. The 2010 champion will win $25,000, second-place will receive $10,000 and third-place will pay $5,000.

MICHELIN North America Inc.

Tires are an important component of racing and one of the most studied components during a race. The 2010 Dodge Viper ACR-X was developed using the MICHELIN Racing Slick for the traction needed to hold the ACR-X through the turns and utilize the torque of the V-10 engine.

MICHELIN will provide contingency awards along with trackside and technical support at each race.

"The" Ultimate Special-Edition Viper

Combining the best performance attributes of the record-setting, street-legal Dodge Viper American Club Racer (ACR) and the safety equipment of championship-winning Dodge Viper Competition Coupe, the Viper ACR-X is powered by the SRT-developed 8.4-liter V-10 engine, equipped with factory headers and a low-restriction exhaust system that produces 640 horsepower (40 more than the production model) and 605 lb.-ft. of torque (45 more than the production model).

The suspension also is tuned and upgraded specifically for on-track usage with unique springs, two-way adjustable shocks and adjustable sway bar links.

Curb weight is a full 160 pounds lighter (compared with the standard-production Viper) to take on even the most challenging road course. Additional aerodynamic upgrades, including quad-dive planes and underbody ducts, improve downforce, while enhancing stability and significantly improving grip in high-speed cornering.

Following the initial production run of 25 units of the turn-key, non-street legal race car that were quickly purchased by racing enthusiasts and collectors, Dodge has built an additional 25 units, bringing the total of 2010 Viper ACR-X models to 50.

Similar to the Dodge Viper Competition Coupe, the Viper ACR-X contains factory-installed safety equipment such as a factory-designed roll cage, fire suppression system, fuel cell and race seat.

Additional racing components, including a transmission cooler, rear differential cooling system, unique front rotors with larger surface area and improved brake cooling via scoops in the front fascia, are added to meet the significant durability and reliability requirements for on-track competition.

The Viper ACR-X is designed to compete in the Viper Racing League, Sports Car Club of America and National Auto Sport Association events.

"We're continuing to work hard to make this final year of production for the current-generation Dodge Viper in 2010 the most exciting year for Viper and Viper Nation alike," added Gilles. "The production of the Viper ACR-X and the launch of the Dodge Viper Cup series will continue the momentum for years to come." - The Ultimate Blog for American Muscle Cars and Muscle Vehicles