Sink your right foot to the wood in a new Dodge Viper and — Hello, hyperdrive. Pulling hard in 1st is all about maintaining restraint. Too much gusto and the rear tires lose bite, but get it right and this Snake-Skin Green Viper will distort long-to-short like a carnival mirror. Straight sections of pavement are devoured in voracious gulps and belching exhaust rips. At full lunge, this 600-horsepower monster pummels the senses with thrust and a cacophony of exhaust blat that deafens passengers and onlookers alike. The Viper is all-consuming, compelling and corrupting — look out, Z06.
The introduction was held at beautiful Virginia International Raceway. Members of the press were allowed to lap the north course with little restraint. Back in 1992, the original 400-bhp Viper RT/10 was pegged as a brute. This SRT10 hasn't lost that hairy-knuckled character — going through the kink at VIR's straight isn't supposed to be difficult, but with 600 horses and a theoretically possible 150-mph cornering speed, it surely is.
Before heading onto the track, I sit in queue on pit lane, thinking hard about my mortality and watching others fly into Turn 1 — and, as if on cue, a Venom Red Viper spins in the kink at over 130 mph. All that's seen for 800 feet is a haze of tire smoke. The driver escapes with tires flat-spotted to the cords. I remind myself to concentrate. The Viper, for all its brute force, rewards smoothness with a precision typically reserved for race cars. Lose concentration, even for an instant, and the Viper will bite you.
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