World Challenge Finish with Mopar Dodge Viper at Long Beach
Team Mopar Racer Takes Ninth in SPEED GT Season Debut
Cindi Lux (Aloha, Ore.) unveiled the liquid metal livery of Mopar in true "More Power" style yesterday at the Grand Prix of Long Beach (Calif.). The female driver scored her career-high finish in the Sports Car Club of America (SCCA) SPEED World Challenge GT Series with a ninth-place result. Lux, who will represent the parts division of Chrysler as the road racing representative to Team Mopar in 2008, ran has high as sixth in the hour long event. However, three caution periods, including one that was still waving when the checkered flag fell, broke the forward momentum of the No. 2 Mopar/CORSA/MOMO Dodge Viper Competition Coupe potentially costing Lux an even higher finish. Today's event was Lux's first with Mopar and her first SPEED GT race of the season.
The 1999 American Le Mans Series Women's Global GT Series Champion started 11th but was quickly up to ninth by the end of the first lap. The first yellow came on Lap One and lasted through Lap Four. Two laps later the 12-time road racing champion had captured another spot to move to eighth in the running order. The competition was so intense that, even eight cars back, the Mopar Dodge Viper Competition Coupe was only 5.4 seconds behind the leader and just inches off of seventh-place. The nip-and-tuck fight continued across the top-ten on the narrow, 11-turn circuit that winds through 1.968-mile of city streets along the Pacific Ocean. The NayKid Racing entered and Lux Performance Group, LLC prepared and managed Dodge Viper moved into seventh with the second caution period on Lap 11. Lap 14 brought Lux to her highest running position of the weekend when she overtook fellow Dodge Viper racer Jason Daskalos for sixth. The two V10-powered, American supercars fought for the spot before Daskalos regained the position on the next lap. Lux, who has more than 75 victories, over 150 podium finishes and nearly 50 pole positions in various disciplines of road racing, would lose two more positions when the limited-slip differential/'rear-end' began to overheat in the closing stages of the race. A final yellow flag would keep Lux from attempting to retake the positions so hotly contested for earlier when the timed event reached its one hour maximum before the green flag flew again.
Both the sixth-place high-running position and the final standing of ninth marked the all-time best for Lux in the intensely competitive road car-based series. Her previous top had been 11th, twice, in her rookie season of 2007. Last April, Lux made her SPEED GT debut here at Long Beach finishing 17th. In today's race, she set a best race lap of one minute, 27.210 on Lap 16. That time bettered Lux's best qualifying time earlier in the day when she turned a 1:27.312.
Originally used in the 1920s, Mopar (a simple contraction of the words MOtor and PARts) was trademarked for a line of antifreeze products in 1937. It was also widely used as a moniker for the CMPC. The Mopar brand made its mark in the 1960s - the muscle car era. The Chrysler Corporation built race-ready Dodge and Plymouth "package cars" equipped with special high-performance parts. Mopar carried a line of "Special Parts" for super stock drag racers and developed its racing parts division called Mopar Performance Parts to enhance speed and handling for both road and racing use.
Today, Chrysler LLC's Global Service & Parts division is responsible for the manufacturing and distribution of nearly 250,000 authentic Mopar replacement parts, components and accessories for Chrysler, Jeep® and Dodge vehicles sold around the world. To assure quality, reliability and durability, all Mopar parts and accessories are designed in strict adherence to Chrysler Engineering standards.
The Long Beach SPEED GT will be shown Wednesday, April 30, at noon (EDT)/ 9 AM (PDT) on SPEED. The No. 2 Mopar/CORSA/MOMO Dodge Viper Competition Coupe will contest its next race on May 18 at Miller Motorsports Park in Tooele, Utah outside of Salt Lake City.
QuotesCindi Lux: "We rolled the dice on setup like we never had before. We uncharacteristically made some huge chassis changes before the race and we were either going to be a hero or a zero in the deal. Thanks to my engineer Matt Bejnarowicz we looked like heroes but he is the real hero of the weekend. In a typical street race you have to drive the wheels off this thing and there is absolutely no hanging back and that is what we did. This Mopar Viper was phenomenal in the first half of the race. It was the best it has ever been in my career in the World Challenge. We had to fight the differential at the end but one of the great things about the relationship with Mopar is that they had the Motorsports Engineering group here. They were already in development mode before the race was over. It is great to have that kind of support from a partner. We just keep chipping away at this deal and the team is getting more solid each weekend. I am pretty excited to head to Salt Lake City next month."
Mike Stephens, Program Manager, Mopar Motorsports: "I am absolutely delighted with this weekend. I couldn't imagine a better start to our season. The car ran well, Cindi did a great job and I can't wait for Miller [Motorsports Park]."