Chrysler axes Dodge Viper United SportsCar programme despite title

Chrysler has axed its Dodge Viper United SportsCar Championship campaign less than 48 hours after winning the GT Le Mans drivers' title

Chrysler axes Dodge Viper United SportsCar programme despite title

The US car giant announced on Monday that it would discontinue its programme with the Riley Technologies-run SRT Motorsports squad in what was described as a "business decision" that would lead to a redirection of the Dodge's "focus and efforts on the brand's product line-up".

The announcement followed Canadian Kuno Wittmer sealing the USC GTLM drivers' title at Road Atlanta on Saturday with third place in class aboard the Dodge Viper SRT GTS-R he shared with Marc Goossens and Ryan Hunter-Reay.

SRT also claimed the teams' title at the Petit Le Mans 10-hour race and finished second to Porsche in the GTLM manufacturers' standings.

Ralph Gilles, senior vice-president of product design at Chrysler, said that the marque was "very proud of the amazing achievements of our fantastic teams, drivers and partners".

The decision follows Chrysler's withdrawal from this year's Le Mans 24 Hours, which was understood to have been based entirely on financial considerations, and comes against a backdrop of pauses in production of the Viper to clear backlogs of unsold cars.

Chrysler returned to racing with the current-generation Viper under the SRT brand with a car developed to the GTE rules by Riley for a short campaign in the 2012 American Le Mans Series.

This was followed by a full programme in 2013 and a return to Le Mans, scene of trio of class victories for the first-generation Viper in 1998-2000.

The cars were rebranded as Dodges in the middle of this season's attack on the merged USC.

The Riley-run SRT team knew that its programme was not confirmed for next year, but was continuing to make preparations for the 2015 season through last weekend's USC finale.

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