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Friday, June 21, 2024


ONE of the questions we were asked for our latest Q&A episode of the V8 Sleuth Podcast powered by Timken got our attention as it referred to a car we hadn’t thought about for a long time: Garry Waldon’s GT Production Car Championship Dodge Viper.

“Garry Waldon’s Dodge Viper … what happened to it?” asked Dave Emm.

Waldon was one of production car racing’s leading lights throughout the 1980s, claiming the national title in 1988 and a pair of Bathurst 12 Hour in 1992 and 1993 with Mazda RX-7s.

After he and John Bowe won the three hour GTP race at the 1997 Primus 1000 at Bathurst, Waldon returned to the championship full-time the following year.

“I’ve had the chance to drive some great cars over the years including the Mazda RX7 but last year’s stint in the Ferrari really whet my appetite to get back in the whole series,” Waldon said at the time.

“The Viper has been a real surprise as the package has come together a lot better than I would have thought. It has the horsepower and the handling but the brakes will be the testing point.

“The idea will be to try to get to the front and hold them back from there.”

An eight litre V10-engined Viper had already shown promise the previous year in the form of Ray Lintott’s car, which took pole for the Bathurst 3-hour with Neal Bates.

Waldon had his red Viper converted to GTP spec in New Zealand by Kevin O’Neil, and completed five days testing at Manfield Park prior to shipping the car to Australia.

He proved the car was more than just a straight-line menace by taking its first win at Oran Park, adding a weekend sweep at Phillip Island plus more wins at Eastern Creek and Lakeside on the way to third in the GTP standings.

Waldon pushed the Viper into the lead early in the 3-hour Bathurst Showroom Showdown in 1998 but retired soon after. Pic: an1images.com / Coventry Collection

Paired with Bates for the non-championship 3-hour Showroom Showdown at Bathurst, Waldon charged from fifth on the grid into the lead within four laps but retired soon after.

The Viper only made a handful of appearances in 1999, Waldon claiming pole position and a win at Sandown, then claiming another race victory in the season finale at Oran Park.

Waldon also claimed pole position for the Bathurst 1000-supporting 3 Hour Showroom Showdown, but he and co-driver John Bowe withdrew after discovering cracked wheels during the morning warm-up.

Bathurst was Waldon’s last appearance with the car. The 1999 season was the last in which the Viper was eligible for the GT-P championship with the exotic, high-performance sports cars moving into the new Nations Cup category for 2000.

So what happened to Waldon’s Viper? Did it race on? Has it gone back to being a road car? Is it sitting in a mate’s shed?

If you’ve got any leads or can add any info, drop us an email here.

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