On Your Mark, Get Set: 2016 Dodge Viper ACR

Recently, the reengineered Dodge Viper was seen on the track with a completely different look than ever before. Dodge has claimed that the ACR is far and away the best yet. We take a closer look at this amazing machine and examine what makes a race car a race car.

The Heart

Every car needs an engine and the Viper ACR is no different. It uses a massive 8.4-liter V10 with nearly 650 horsepower and 600 pounds of torque. The liters refers to the amount of air the engine pulls in with each stroke. The more air, the bigger the burst when the fuel explodes, equaling more power. The cylinders add to the ability to turn the crank and drivetrain, resulting in more power and the all-important torque for quicker acceleration after turns or when passing competitors.

The Body

The Viper, like all race cars, relies on something called downforce. Racers typically use a rear-wheel drivetrain because when a car accelerates, the weight of the car is pushed onto the back wheels due to inertia. As the rear of the car lowers, the back wheels can remain in full contact with the road and get the most power. Downforce, though, comes from spoilers, wings, and fins. Race cars are designed to use the wind force while driving to push down on the car. It creates drag, but it also gives a car greater stability and keeps it from sliding around at high speeds. The result is going even faster around turns. The Viper ACR, for example, can only get up to 177 MPH, relatively low by racing standards, but with as much as 2,000 pounds of downforce, the Viper doesn’t need to slow down nearly as much at corners or bends.