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Watch a Le Mans-Winning 1996 Viper GTS-R Hit the Track Before Heading To Auction

Former Top Gear Stig Ben Collins drives the "racing car with a truck engine."
Sotheby's

Between Ford’s now movie-immortalized victory over Ferrari in the ’60s and the hilariously big NASCAR Camaro looking properly silly ahead of this year’s 24 Hours of Le Mans, cantankerous Americans showing up to to the iconic French race and causing a ruckus is not a new phenomenon.

One example of this you may have forgotten about is the Chrysler Viper GTS-R, a V10 American coupe that won its class three years in a row from 1998 to 2000. Based on the then-new Dodge Viper (but competing as a Chrysler because Dodge was not a thing in Europe), the GTS-R was developed in collaboration with French race team Oreca. The company previously had a hand in helping Mazda take its 787B to an overall Le Mans win back in 1991. The Chrysler also happened to come first at the Nurburgring 24-hour race in 1999, 2001, and 2002, took the overall victory at the day-long endurance race at Spa in 2001 and 2002, and won at Daytona in 2000.

Good news for collectors of notable Le Mans racers (as opposed to collectors of unnotable Le Mans racers), a Viper GTS-R is being auctioned off by RM Sotheby’s this Friday at this year’s race.

And here’s a video of Ben Collins—a.k.a. the racing driver formerly not-known as The Stig—mildly hooning it around the very track that made it famous.

“It was met with derision by the local competition, they said that it was a racing car with a truck engine,” recounts Collins. The GTS-R was powered by a positively massive 8.0-liter V10. Even if you aren’t in the market for a classic Chrysler race car (and something tells me you probably aren’t), the video is worth watching for the V10 engine noise alone.

Got a tip or question for the author? You can reach him here: chris.tsui@thedrive.com