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Following Viper production halt, SRT kills Le Mans racing program

by Justin King

Company denies that Le Mans decision is based on poor sales.

Chrysler's SRT division has reportedly decided to kill its Le Mans racing program for the Viper GTS-R.

The move has been announced just one week after the company confirmed plans to temporarily shut down its Viper production facility in Detroit amid poor sales entering 2014.

"We regretfully and respectfully decline to participate in this year's 24 Hours of Le Mans," SRT chief Ralph Gilles said in a statement published by .

The timing of the Le Mans announcement has naturally fueled speculation that the company is attempting to tighten all expenditures associated with its flagship sports car, which is believed to have sold less than 100 units in the first two months of the year.

The decisions mark ongoing uncertainty in Chrysler's Viper strategy. The sports coupe was discontinued in 2010 in its fourth generation, then revived last year with an annual sales target of 1,600 units. The push coincided with two Viper GTS-R race cars re-entering Le Mans the same year.

In a follow-up statement, an SRT spokesperson denied that there was a link between the production halt and the racing program. Gilles also noted that the company will still be involved in factory-supported racing in North America.

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