1998 Chrysler Viper GTS-R Pilots: E. Clérico, J-C. Lagniez, G. Martinolle Team: Paul Belmondo Racing Race: 16th overall (5th in GTS class) at Le Mans in 1999 Minichamps - 430991455 (diecast)
First seen in 1996, the GTS-R was a successful racing variant of the Dodge Viper and developed as an international joint venture. French Oreca would construct and maintain the racing cars in their shops, the car’s basic chassis and other integral parts would be the responsibility of British engineering firm Reynard Motorsport and the engine would come from USA’s Chrysler. The car body was heavily based on the Viper GTS of 1995, and the engine was basically the same 356-T6 unit of the passenger car. The 356-T6 engine was a huge 7998 cm³ naturally-aspirated V10 with aluminum alloy block and head and with 20 valves, capable of frightening 620 hp of power.
For the 24 Hours of Le Mans of 1999, Paul Belmondo Racing had two GTS-R in the race. This GTS-R #55 is chassis #C9, bought from Oreca at the end of 1998. After 310 laps it finished in 16th overall and fifth place in the GTS class. Its sister car, Viper # 54, came right behind in 17th. By the way: the 1999 race was a Viper Fest, with eight GTS-R on the grid.
Despite the good class result, in scale the GTS-R #55 is at most “just okay” for a Minichamps. It’s an older mold, with LOTS of decals and with almost pw-bad wheels. Certainly not even close to more recent offerings from the brand. Unfortunately, all Minichamps’ Vipers are kind of poor. This one in particular grabbed my attention because of the Playstation livery. I always liked video games, and had a PS2 and PS3. However, when my PS3 gave up the ghost I upgraded to an XBox One. In spite of not owning one anymore, I have fond memories of my Playstations. Specially playing the Gran Turismo series on both PS2 and PS3 😊.