Now that even the Durango has a Hellcat option, where’s Dodge to take its old-school muscle car, the Challenger? Unfortunately, the rumored track-focused ACR model isn’t happening. But then, Dodge is arguably more synonymous with drag racing. So, while the Dodge Challenger Drag Pak isn’t an ACR, it is a genuine factory-prepped competition-ready drag race car.
The 2020 Dodge Challenger Drag Pak: a factory drag race car
Think of the 2020 Dodge Challenger Drag Pak as the Mopar equivalent of the Ford Cobra Jet Mustang and Chevrolet COPO Camaros. It’s not street-legal; instead, it’s the latest version of Dodge’s turn-key factor drag race cars.
Famously, the 2018 Dodge Demon was too fast to be competition-eligible. That’s because, thanks to an 840-hp 6.2-liter supercharged V8 and drag radial tires, it could run the ¼-mile in 9.65 seconds. That time, while impressive, meant the Demon needed a roll cage to be competition-eligible. Since it didn’t offer one, it couldn’t compete in NHRA races.
The Dodge Challenger Drag Pak, though, does have a roll cage, The Drive reports. It’s an SFI-spec one integrated with the car’s body, rated to a ¼-mile time of 7.50 seconds, Hagerty reports. And to get it going that fast, the Challenger Drag Pak has a supercharged 5.8-liter V8 (a nod to the 354 Hemi V8).
Dodge hasn’t released horsepower or torque figures, in order to avoid giving its competitors any hints, Car and Driver reports. However, the 2015 model’s optional 7.0-liter V8 let it run 8-second ¼-miles. And Dodge has been working on the 2020 Challenger Drag Pak since the Demon’s release.
Speaking of the Demon, the Dodge Challenger Drag Pak’s drag race modifications are significantly more extensive. It rides on Hoosier drag slicks and Weld bead-lock wheels, Automobile reports, as well as adjustable Bilstein shocks. Instead of independent rear suspension, the Drag Pak has a live axle, as well as a larger anti-roll bar and a wheelie kit.
Also, the engine’s hooked up to a 3-speed automatic with a Kwik-Shift manual shifter. The engine itself is also lower and further back, to improve weight distribution, The Drive reports.
Pricing and availability
Originally, the 2020 Dodge Challenger Drag Pak was unveiled during SEMA 2019 for a 2020 release. However, due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, that’s been pushed back to 2021, Motor1 reports.
And if you want one, you may have to wait awhile. Dodge is only making 50 of them, and pricing details have yet to be announced. So, if you can’t swing one now, you may have to wait until it shows up at a future auction.
Dodge Challenger Drag Pak vs. the competition
Despite its engine, the Dodge Challenger Drag Pak is going to face some rather stiff competition.
Firstly, there’s the Chevrolet COPO Camaro. Outside its optional 630-hp 5.7-liter supercharged V8, it shares a few features with the Challenger. Namely, a 3-speed transmission and a live rear axle. As such, it may also preview the Drag Pak’s pricing details. The supercharged COPO Camaro costs roughly $170k, the NHRA reports.
Ford only made 68 of its latest gasoline-powered Cobra Jet Mustang. However, the automaker’s currently developing a 1400-hp all-electric Cobra Jet to take its place. Actually, it’s working on two. That’s because there’s also a 1400-hp, 7-motor Mustang Mach-E Cobra Jet electric drag race car in the works. As of this writing, both of these EVs are one-off projects. But there’s no reason why Ford couldn’t offer customer versions at some point in the future.
In a drag race, the Dodge Challenger Drag Pak can beat the Demon. But we’ll just have to wait and see if it can do the same to its rivals.
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