1996 Porsche 993 C4S 

vs 

Dodge Viper GTS

By

Doug Malone


 

I attended Bobby Archer's racing clinic the other day. If any of you don't know, Bobby is a former Speedvision champ and he races Vipers. He and his teammate, Debra Loth, both are currently campaigning T1 Vipers. Needless to say there were seven Vipers at the school, two of them were trailered to the track with one being a TNT555, plus Debra brought her T1 Viper. My C4S was the only non-Viper; there was a Boxter scheduled for the class, but he didn't show up.
This was the first time I attended an instructional event and it was surely a humbling experience. Bobby also drove my car in addition to riding with me, and its amazing how fast he is, but makes it seem like he's out for a Sunday drive.

I also appreciated the comradery shown by the Viper guys, as I was thinking they would snub me and my P-car. They really praised the C4S and were surprised how fast it is. One of the Viper owners also brought a guest who is an expereinced shifter kart driver. He told me don't tell the others I said this, but I would much rather have your Porsche than a Viper.

In the afternoon, one of the Viper guys asked if we could swap cars, so here is my 5 lap compare of a Viper GTS vs C4S using a 10 pt scale:

Acceleration: 
This comes as no surprise, 3350 lbs, V10 with 410 RWHP, this is truely a rocket sled; but the thing that impressed me the most was the low end torque/power and how quickly you can accelerate out a very slow corner even in 3rd gear. I previously owned a 400 RWHP Mallett C5, and I was still surprised how much faster the Viper felt due to the low end power. Now if my C4S had another 100HP, shed another 150 lbs and had some RS gears this might have been a more interesting compare. 
Verdict: Viper 10, C4S 6

Handling:
Well, I only did 5 laps in the Viper, but was surprised at how well the car handled, very flat with little roll and it went where I pointed it. However, it is still a big car to throw around and in comparison the C4S feels like a go-kart. 
Verdict: C4S 10, Viper 8

Brakes: 
The brakes on the Viper really did not give me much confidence to come into a corner fast, you really had to stand on the brakes and it was obvious that you were trying to stop a heavier car. When Bobby drove my car he said, boy, its obvious this car has brakes. 
Verdict: C4S 10, Viper 6

Styling: 
This one is very subjective, and beauty is in the eye of the beholder. The Viper is also pretty curvacious, and I suspect on the street it would turn alot of heads. These are both beautiful cars, so to be fair. 
Verdict: C4S 9, Viper 9 (we'll reserve a 10 for the Ferrari's)

Interior: 
Actually, I didn't focus too much attention on the Vipers interior, but it is very cramped, I didn't like the feel of the pedals, and there is a lot of plastic. I would not want to take a long road trip in a Viper. 
Verdict: C4S 10, Viper 5
 

Overall:
I am very happy with the way the C4S performed, however, it seems that the Porsche would be a lot better with a nice 3.8L upgrade, with an RS transmission/clutch/flywheel. The Viper owner walked away amazed at how good the Porsche is, especially the handling and brakes. Debra, also gave me a ride in her T1 Viper and it felt like an amusement park ride, WOW!!! After that I can't imagine what an F1 or Indy car would be like to drive.

Further, as others have said repeatedly on this board, the best investment anyone can make in their car is in the "nut" (Calvoism) behind the wheel. Bobby Archer's school was excellent and a great way to spend the day. I'm ready for more.

Doug Malone


Visit Doug's D&M racing web site

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