News Racing

This Race Team Used to Run a Viper. Now, It’s Entering a VW Beetle at the Nurburgring

Hard-to-get parts brought an end to the Viper's racing career. Its replacement is a little unexpected, but the TCR-tuned Beetle is plenty rowdy.

When you get tired of racing a Viper around the Nürburgring, switching it out for a Beetle is the natural next step, right? What? No handraisers? Well, leave it to the Germans to be the crazy ones.

White Angel for Fly & Help is a German race team that for years piloted a Dodge Viper Competition Coupe GT3 in the ADAC RAVENOL 24h Nürburgring, a 24-hour race that has been held continuously since 1970. The Dodge, dubbed White Angel Viper, hadn’t been racing the “Green Hell” for that long, but it’d been competing for enough years to make it a fan favorite

Unfortunately, it was the Viper’s production demise that led to the eventual end of the White Angel racer. Team boss Bernd Albrecht told that it wasn’t a bad car but rather an old one. The Viper was discontinued in 2017, and sourcing parts became problematic. 

“We wait two years for a control unit or a year for a transmission part,” Albrecht told the online German autozine in 2022. “If we have to have seals sent in an envelope from Australia, or have to go to great lengths to get a rear window made to order, we have reached the limits of what is possible.” The team agreed that the Viper would be retired. Its final lap around the Nordschleife was that year, which coincided with the 24-hour race’s 50th anniversary.

But the race nuts didn’t sit around twiddling their thumbs for very long, even if they were volunteers. Just a month after the Viper graduated from racing duty, the team was already at work on a Volkswagen Beetle Cup Car. The Beetle was given the full Touring Car Racing treatment, including a TCR-based turbocharged 2.0-liter engine said to produce up to 370 horsepower.

To help this newly christened Beetle RSR really fly, the vehicle was outfitted with an aerodynamic package developed 100 percent in-house. This included widened fenders and a rear wing so large it’d make Herbie blush in embarrassment and envy. The White Angel Beetle is still in a front-wheel-drive configuration, but the team plans to add an all-wheel-drive system and other tech assistance bits. The long-term plan is to continue racing the car until at least 2028.

The White Angel Beetle makes its North Loop debut this weekend, wearing the same No. 13 as its predecessor. The Beetle will be one of five cars racing in the SP 3T Class, but as 24-hour races go, everyone is on the track at the same time. The official race website lists 127 entrants in 23 classes for this year’s competition. 

Regardless of how the Beetle navigates its maiden voyage on the Green Hell, the vehicle is a project built to focus on fun and funds. Ah, the catch. If you were wondering about the awkward team name, well, it is in support of the Fly & Help Foundation. The foundation’s objective is to promote education across the globe, and donations are used to build schools in developing countries. To date, and thanks to more than 37 million Euros in funding, Fly & Help has worked on more than 800 school projects worldwide, enabling thousands of children the ability to attend school and perhaps be angels to others in the future.