The first-ever Saudi Time Attack series, held at the Reem International Circuit in Riyadh, saw Abdul Aziz, the SRT ambassador sponsored by United Motors Company (UMC), speed to the top spot in the inaugural three-round racing series, which started in October last year and ended in December.
The UMC is the sole distributor of Alfa Romeo, Chrysler, Dodge, Fiat, Fiat Professional, Jeep, Ram and Mopar.
As the event was being held for the first time in Saudi Arabia, excitement levels were high — so much so that the entry list was massively over-subscribed and the organizers even ran out of transponders (which are used to record data, times, etc.) and eventually had to stop accepting entries earlier than planned.
The competition facing the Dodge Viper was fierce, with a plethora of supercars competing, including the new Corvette ZR1, McLaren 675LT, Lamborghini Aventador, Ferrari 488 and new Porsche 911 among others.
Abdul Aziz’s Dodge Viper ACR was bone stock as sold from the factory, but he was forced to move up a class because the specially developed soft compound Kumho tires (exclusively made for the Viper ACR) and the Viper’s huge rear wing were deemed as an advantage.
The first round was all about key learnings and vehicle set-up and the team went about dialing in the Dodge Viper ACR. Being a manual — the Viper ACR is equipped with a Getrag 6-speed box — it took the team, assisted by the skilled factory-trained mechanics from UMC, some time to get the car up to speed.
This meant that the other teams, with their hi-tech computerized systems had an initial competitive edge. At this point, the main protagonists were Prince Mohammed in his McLaren as well as the new Corvette ZR1. A qualified racing driver who has participated in 24-hour events, Prince Mohammed was soon at the top of the time sheets.
Once the Dodge Viper ACR was dialed in though, Abdul Aziz put it through its paces and by the last session it was the fastest in its class — so fast that the Prince’s McLaren was pushed down the order, making an early exit.
Abdul Aziz took first position in his category, posting the second fastest time of the day and only trailing a fully modified Porsche pushing 700+ hp and on full racing slicks, by just 0.7 of a second.
Eventually, with three wins out of three, Abdul Aziz was crowned champion of the series. The Dodge Viper ACR was the most consistently fast car and the synergy between car and driver was clear for all to see.