AutoGuide News Blog
The AutoGuide News Blog is your source for breaking stories from the auto industry. Delivering news immediately, the AutoGuide Blog is constantly updated with the latest information, photos and video from manufacturers, auto shows, the aftermarket and professional racing.
SRT’s only product – the Viper – is getting a middle-of-the-road value bundle meant to improve performance.
He still isn’t the “director of excitement,” but SRT CEO Ralph Gilles has a pretty cool job.
Diesel is quickly becoming a new option for car makers looking to have powerful, yet fuel friendly engines. Mercedes and BMW’s AMG and M, in house tuning divisions have announced future diesel vehicles catered for performance driving, and it looks like the SRT brand will be offering its own in the future.
Love it or hate it, the 2013 SRT Viper is enough to turn heads, make necks crane and fire up cell phone cameras in a flash — something nobody knows better than SRT CEO Ralph Gilles.
If there’s one car that we’ve been looking forward to seeing at this year’s New York Auto Show, more than any other, it’s the next generation Viper. Very nearly sold off during Chrysler‘s turbulent years under Cerberus, like any great icon, it managed to endure.
Not only that, but even before the last fourth generation SRT 10 examples were rolling out the door, a plan was underway to introduce a new one; an American super car re-imagined for the 21st century. Now it’s been revealed to the world for the first time.
Ralph Gilles, President and CEO of Chrysler’s Street and Racing Technology Brand perhaps summed it up best. “Beyond being the flagship for the new SRT brand, the launch of the 2013 Viper proves that we simply would not let the performance icon of the Chrysler Group die,” he said to raucous reception. Indeed.
Sunday night’s profile on the Chrysler turnaround and on Chrysler/Fiat CEO Sergio Marchionne may have seemed a bit light on actual content, but perhaps you weren’t looking closely enough. Don’t worry, the folks at Allpar.com were.
A part of the piece involved an interview with Ralph Gilles, the man in charge of Chrysler design and the head of the newly minted SRT (Street and Racing Technology) brand. It’s not what Gilles said, however, but what he was standing in front of that’s so interesting.
Tucked behind his head in the shot is the majority of what appears to be a sleek coupe – one that isn’t currently in production. It’s bright red, with a sloping A-pillar and a short trunk.
Earlier this year, Chrysler filed for a trademark on the ‘Cuda name, hinting at a possible resurrection of the Barracuda – an iconic muscle car that ran under the now defunct Plymouth badge. PAst reports have indicated that Chrysler is planning to resurrect the car, with some saying it would be a higher-performance model based on the current Dodge Challenger platform, while other reports say it would used a downsized
With Chrysler planning a to reveal the all new 2013 SRT Viper at the New York Auto Show next week, perhaps we’ll learn more then.
Ford and General Motors could have an all-too-familiar rival in the V8 Supercar series and despite some rumors, it won’t be from German or Japan. Hailing from the other side of the world, where they’re cross-town rivals, Chrysler is tipped as the latest possibly entry into the touring car championship.
Top Chrysler designer and CEO of the new Street and Racing Technology (SRT) brand Ralph Gilles confirmed as much recently, telling Australian outlet The Age, that, “I am extremely interested (in V8 Supercars),” though he stopped short of confirming anything.
According to Chrysler Group Australia managing director Clyde Campbell his division is in constant contact with SRT and even made some strong hints about the future, commenting that, as SRT is all about incorporating racing technology into street cars, having a strong racing presence is important.
A possible timeline for entry into the series could see Chrysler coming in at the start of next season with a new “Car of the Future” plan that would make fielding a team more affordable. Estimates peg a two car team at roughly $10 million dollars for a season. There’s a catch, however, as fielding a team takes more than just money. Current regulations mean Chrysler would have to enter the series using an existing team, meaning they’d have to woo one of the Ford or Holden groups away from their current partner.
While Chrysler putting so much effort into an Australian-market-exclusive product seems like a long shot, the series’ plans for the future include expanding the championship to a wider audience. The Australian V8 Supercar series has already visited the Middle East and is scheduled to run one race in Austin, Texas in 2013.
[Source: The Age]
Today’s total nonsense rumor comes from Chrysler fansite Allpar, which is reporting that the 2013 Dodge Viper will get an 8.7L V10 and doesn’t cite any source, anonymous or otherwise.
While Chrysler boss Ralph Gilles has said that the Viper will retain a V10 engine, we have a hard time believing that an 8.7L motor would appear during a time when everyone is downsizing. Sure, the Viper has never been about fuel economy, but there’s no reason for Dodge to go this route whatsoever.
This coming Sunday, October 9th, a very special event will air on Versus at 3 pm Eastern Time. It’s the Duel in the Desert, a special edition of the Viper Cup race series, where a talented collection of drivers and motorsports heros, from all different forms of the genre, race against each other at Miller Motorsports Park, in Toole, Utah.
The race, actually run back in April, features such legends as Roger Penske, Jeff Gordon, Robbie Gordon, Sam Hubinette, Kurt Busch, Kuno Wittmer, Allen Johnson and Ralph Gilles to name a few.
Each of the 24 drivers competed in identically prepped Dodge Viper ACR-X coupes, and were split into two person teams, with single qualifying lap times from each averaged together in order to determine starting positions on the grid for the race.
Timed for just 50 minutes, the actual event required each team to make a pit stop and change drivers halfway through, making for some very exciting racing.
Besides competing, the celebrity drivers were also racing for a cause, with money donated by the top three finishing teams, to several charities, including the Haiti Rescue Effort, National Breast Cancer Coalition, Shriners Hospital, Tarrant Area Food Bank (Ft. Worth, Texas), Children’s Rare Disease Network and the National Breast Cancer Foundation.
“I can’t say enough about the generosity and mutual respect shown by each and every participant in the ‘Dodge Viper Celebrity Challenge,’ Ralph Gilles, president and CEO of Chrysler’s SRT Group and Dodge Motorsports. “I’m proud to share the same common thread of being racers at heart that can take the time out to not only come together and compete on the same stage, but also raise money for worthy charity causes.”
While some automakers appear intent on taking fun out of the equation, Chrysler group seems is doing the opposite. With a raft of performance vehicles on offer through its Street and Racing Technology (SRT) brand, the company caters to those that still like a good ol’ fashioned dose of American pavement melting horsepower.
With the recent launch of the Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT8, it was perhaps a logical step for sister ship, the Dodge Durango to gain an extra shot of oats. Although there’s been no official confirmation from Chrysler, sources inside the company believe the project is very much a work in progress, slated for a possible 2013 model year release.
Like the Grand Cherokee SRT8, if and when a hot rod version of the Durango does surface, expect it follow in the same vein, being all-wheel drive only and powered by a 392 ci (6.4-liter) Hemi V8, generating around 470 horsepower, along with an adjustable suspension and monster Brembo brakes.
However, some questions remain. The Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT8 has been criticized for its relatively high sticker price ($54,470); especially considering it debuted amid one of the worst economic slumps in years. If a Durango version was to be offered it would likely be priced at a similar level if not more, which could severely limit the vehicle’s appeal, making it a stillborn proposition. Adding further fuel to the fire is that the R/T model (shown), currently the hottest in the Durango lineup, has so far accounted for just 7 percent of total sales since its introduction back in March.
Ralph Gilles, president of SRT, has gone on the record stating that the brand plans to ‘de-couple’ some of the features on the Grand Cherokee SRT8 in order to make it more price competitive, so if a ‘super’ Durango does indeed make the cut it will likely follow the Jeep’s lead. Stay tuned for further developments.
GALLERY: Dodge Durango RT
[Source: Inside Line]
Having entered a three car team in this year’s
grueling Ferrari Enzo-killing Targa Newfoundland, Chrysler‘s SRT/Dodge Motorsports entry managed to rack up first and second place finishes in the event, as well as raising almost $26,000 for the Autism Society of Newfoundland and Labrador.
“We are really pleased to have raised [this money] to help the [local Autism society],” declared Ralph Gilles, president and CEO of the Street and Racing Technology (SRT) brand and senior vice president – Product Design, Chrysler Group.
Gilles, driving in his fourth Targa event, finished second place in the Modern Category, behind the wheel of a Dodge Viper SRT-10. Dr. Rob Pacione, a veteran Targa Competitor, who drove a modified Challenger SRT 392 during the event, finished first in the Open Class.
The third vehicle in the triumvirate, another Challenger SRT 392, piloted by Los Angeles based journalist George ‘MotoMan’ Notaras, finished ninth in the Grand Touring category.
It’s interesting to note that all three cars were true production models, even Pacione’s mount, despite running a 392 Hemi Crate engine and performance exhaust, sported factory designed and engineered parts.
The money raised from the team’s participation this year will go towards providing services and assistance for families affected by autism.
September is almost upon us, which means, for motorsports fans, that it’s time for the annual Targa Newfoundland. This year, Chrysler has announced that it will be fielding a three-car team for the event, comprising of a single Dodge Viper SRT-10 and two Challenger SRT-8s.
The Viper will be driven by Chrysler’s SRT brand chief and Head of Product Design Ralph Gilles (who is running the event for the fourth time); partnering him will be Jen Horsey, another Targa veteran. One of the Challengers, in fact the very same one that Gilles drove at the event in 2008, will be piloted by dentist, experienced road racer and long time Targa competitor Dr. Robert Pacione. His long-standing co-driver Brian Maxwell, will join him in the passenger seat.
The third car, another Challenger will be driven by Los Angeles based journalist George ‘Motoman’ Notaras, with co-driver Nick Chambers riding shotgun.
This year marks the 10th anniversary of this 1200 mile plus road rally, considered to be one of the most grueling motorsports events in North America and the Dodge/SRT triumvirate, is the largest single manufacturer sanctioned entry.
The primary object for the team this year, besides competing, is to raise money for individuals and families affected by Autism, with proceeds to be donated to the Autism Society of Newfoundland and Labrador.
“My adrenaline is pumping about this year’s Targa rally,” said Gilles in a recent statement. “I can’t wait for our team to take these three SRT products to the streets and drive them the way they were intended to be driven. Not only do our SRT products look great, but they are reliable and proven both on the pavement and on the track.”
The 10th annual Targa Newfoundland runs from September 10th to September 17th, starting and ending in the provincial capital, St. John’s.
Chrysler head of design, CEO of motorsports and rad dude Ralph Gilles recently talked about the future of SRT and the next Dodge Viper, as well as confirming this: there will be no new Dodge Magnum.
Appearing on Fox Car Report, Gilles noted the popularity of the fast wagon and mentioned that he misses it; despite that, there’s no plan to revive it. Those looking to haul on both ends can get a Caravan “Man Van,” which was designed with heavy input from Chrysler’s European division.
As for the hairy-chested Viper, it will feature cruise control as well as some real Big Gulp holders—surely, to the ire of the car enthusiast “purists.” “Cruise control and cupholders have been the longest argument for about 17 years on the Viper,” said Gilles, but according to customers, including the two in the next Viper “might not be a bad idea.” With throttle-by-wire, adding cruise control would be an easy task.
The Viper is one of the most profitable arms of the Chrysler juggernaut, and SRT has been raking in dough by commanding a higher premium towards enthusiasts. SRT is looking to get into sports car and road course racing, especially with the Challenger and the Viper. And if they do, the purists can bet those two won’t have cruise control or cup holders.
[Source: Fox Car Report]
With the recent launch of several big and powerful SRT models, including the Chrysler 300 and Jeep Grand Cherokee, high-performance boss Ralph Gilles is now looking down-market.
In an interview with Automobile Magazine the new head of the SRT division and an avid car-nut, Gilles admitted that while he loved the Dodge Neon SRT4, when it came to the Caliber version, perhaps the brand “over reached.”
However, “I’m a big believer in high-horsepower, small displacement cars,” he admits, “so I’d love to do another.”
Interest alone won’t get a car built though, but having the right tools at your disposal will. “We have some great [small car] platforms finally,” said Gilles, referring to the upcoming Caliber replacement which is expected to debut at the Detroit Auto Show next January.
When pushed further Gilles commented that a high-performance compact car is being investigated. “I definitely think we need an entry-level performance vehicle at some point,” he said.
With the Caliber’s replacement not due until early 2012, look for an SRT version to bow, at the earliest, a year after that.