While the factory program may have come to an end, the chances of seeing a Dodge Viper GTS-R in this year’s 24 Hours of Le Mans appear to be increasing, as Riley Technologies is working to finalize what could be a single-car privateer effort for the French endurance classic.
“I always hope I’m racing at Le Mans,” Bill Riley told Sportscar365. “The 24 Hours of Le Mans and Daytona 24 Hours are the two highlights of my racing each year. Any way we can get back to Le Mans, I’m all in and we’ll try for that.
“Right now, we’re just making sure we have our ducks in a row. We look good.”
Riley wouldn’t divulge any details on the proposed program, although it’s understood to include multi-time TUDOR United SportsCar Championship race winner Ben Keating, who co-drives Riley’s TUDOR United SportsCar Championship GT Daytona class Viper GT3-R with Jeroen Bleekemolen.
It’s unclear if Riley’s possible entry request would be for GTE-Pro or GTE-Am, as the team would need a Bronze-rated driver to join the Silver-rated Keating should they go for the GTE-Am class.
An entry in GTE-Pro, meanwhile, would allow for the possibility of two pro drivers to complete the lineup, with three of SRT Motorsports’ ex-factory drivers currently unemployed beyond this weekend’s Rolex 24 at Daytona.
“It’s always been a dream of mine to go to Le Mans,” Keating said. “I went last year as a spectator to check it out and see how things work. We’ll see what happens.
“I hope to be in a car. I know a few other drivers in the paddock have made announcements that they’re planning on going. I’d love to be there. There’s a lot of things that would have to happen to get that done.
“I hope a really good result at Daytona would influence a decision. We’ll see.”
Riley has fielded two Viper GT3-Rs in this weekend’s TUDOR Championship season-opening Rolex 24 at Daytona, with Keating listed to drive both of the V10-powered beasts alongside a lineup featuring Bleekemolen and ex-factory drivers Dominik Farnbacher, Kuno Wittmer and Marc Goossens.
The Riley-built Viper GTS-R made its Le Mans debut in 2013 as part of a two-car factory program but withdrew its entries last year in order to focus on the TUDOR Championship, where it claimed the driver and teams’ championships.
Entry requests for Le Mans are due by Jan. 27, with the 56-car entry list to be unveiled in Paris on Feb. 5.