Ralph Gilles Calls Out Motor Trend Driver For Being Afraid Of The Viper

Illustration for article titled Ralph Gilles Calls Out Motor Trend Driver For Being Afraid Of The Viper

The magazine currently known as Motor Trend has essentially become Car Comparison Test To Upset Or Please Fanboys Monthly. I'm sure they create other kinds of content, but they've taken a common magazine schtick and made it the core of what they do. You didn't learn enough from the ATS v. 3 Series test? That's ok, we'll do it a few weeks later as ATS v. 3 Series v. C-Class.


It's a wildly successful formula and this article being written is proof of that. Their latest comparison pitted the 2013 SRT Viper against the outgoing Corvette ZR1. The Corvette won, and now SRT President Ralph Gilles is alleging that the problem is not with the car, but with those timorous drivers at Motor Trend.

For the record, the article may have been written by proud Jalopnik alum Jonny Lieberman (sarcasm) but he had the good sense to bring in a hot shoe. This is what most publications do. Even the best of us are not race car driver fast, and the worst of us (myself included) are just plain slow. It's why we have Alex Lloyd drive the fastest cars we test.

You could argue "what's the point then?" since the market of former race car drivers is a small one, with skills that don't relate to the average buyer, but it's a reader demanded feature and there's insight to be had from someone who can squeeze the last little bit performance out of the bottle.

In this case, the driver was Randy Pobst, a.k.a. the guy who won the SCCA World Challenge GT Championship three different times and has two class wins at the 24 Hours of Daytona. Not slow. That didn't stop SRT's steward Ralph Gilles from again taking to Twitter to call BS where he sees it. Here's the exchange:


We see Gilles' point, but there's no reason to believe someone like Pobst is "afraid" of getting the most out of the car and, even if he is, that's a reasonable response to the car as many reviewers have noticed. If someone like Pobst is fearful of the car, what does that mean for mere mortals like us? Am I going to start shitting myself uncontrollably when I get the chance to drive it?


Actually, that's a part of the appeal, so maybe Gilles is just spinning this the best way possible.

Besides, we know how Motor Trend works. This is exactly why they do it. It's thoughtless trolling and they do it all the time because it works every time.


Have no fear Ralph, a Viper, perhaps an ACR or something, will be pitted against a Corvette again. Trust us. Hell, it might happen next month. This is also what they do. It's called "building a narrative" and this is only the latest chapter. Useful reportage? Maybe not, but it is good theatre and Gilles is playing along nicely.

UPDATE: See what we mean...



I have driven a Viper as my company car before. The first time I picked one up my boss tells me... "If you stay all the way in it through to the top of 4th gear... you've got balls of steel" I don't have the skill to push that car the way these guys do but I can also say that I'm not afraid to go fast in just about any car... Except the Viper.

In that car if you get it wrong there is no getting it back. You can't recover from a poor maneuver. This is what I gathered out of the 1st and 2nd gen cars I've driven. This gen car I'm sure is a little more tame in the sense that it has stability control and a few other driver aids but there's no magnetic ride control, launch control or other pieces of bullshit to get you around the track while making up for your lack of skill. The Viper requires a truly fearless driver will true skill to pilot that car to the limit.