The second coming of the muscle car era in the late 2000s and early 2010s has brought about the reintroduction of factory-built drag cars. And Chrysler is no stranger to this realm. Hell, its Challenger Hellcat could hold its own against plenty of amateur dragsters, but for semi-pro and lower-level pro drag racing, you need a little more. This is where the Challenger Drag Pak comes in to play, and Chrysler and Mopar have just shown off the first test vehicle for this upcoming rig.
What is so awesome about these factory-built drag cars is that they are true-to-the-original racers. Unlike so many race cars , these models have real headlights, taillights and other details, and not just stickers in the places where these items would be.
We’ve already seen what the latest Mustang Cobra Jet and COPO Camaro have to offer, now it’s time to see what Mopar and Chrysler can do to get the new 2015 Challenger down the quarter mile as quickly as possible.
Click past the jump to read more about the 2015 Dodge Challenger Drag Pak Test Vehicle.
Up front, the Challenger Drag Pak test car has 15-inch wheels embraced by 28-by-4.5-inch skinnies.
On the outside, it is noticeable that this is not your typical 2015 Dodge Challenger, but not overly obvious. It is draped in all white, save for the black hood and the "vintage stripe" on each of the rear quarters. It is also adorned with plenty of "426 HEMI" badges to go along with the front and rear trim borrowed from the Challenger SRT.
Laying the power to the asphalt is a set of 15-inch wheels wrapped up in 30-by-9-inch rubber. Up front, the Challenger Drag Pak test car has 15-inch wheels embraced by 28-by-4.5-inch skinnies. Even with only a quick glance at the wheels and rubber, it is obvious that this Challenger is set up to go in a straight line really fast.
Short of the drag-racing rubber and the hood scoop, the Challenger Drag Pak test car looks like little more that a warmed-over road-going model. I actually prefer this near-sleeper look to the racier COPO and Cobra Jet.
On the inside, the Challenger Drag Pak tester is based on the 2015 Challenger SRT . The only items that give it away as a racer are its Mopar gauges, racing front seats, racing shifter, safety nets, five-point harnesses and the NHRA-spec full roll cage.
Open up the trunk and there are a few more racing bits, including a weight box and a 12-volt battery.
Drivetrain and Suspension
Around back, there is a four-link setup with a Panhard bar, a solid axle and a nine-inch, aluminum third member.
Under the hood of the Challenger Drag Pak tester, there is a 426-cubic-inch Rage HEMI engine. This custom-calibrated engine features an aluminum block to help keep the weight as low as possible. Unfortunately, Mopar chose not to reveal its output, but given the Mopar 426 HEMI crate engine pumps out 540 horses, I think nearly 600 ponies is about right for this application.
The engine mates to a 727 automatic transmission. This transmission features a line lock for expert burn outs and an aluminum driveshaft to reduce weight.
The suspension system includes a Mopar K-Member up front and adjustable struts. Around back, there is a four-link suspension setup with a Panhard bar, a solid axle and a nine-inch, aluminum third member. The rear end also features adjustable shocks.
Braking this beast is a precision performance front and rear brake kit with updated rotors, calipers, and master cylinder.
2015 Dodge Challenger Drag Pak Test Vehicle - Drivetrain Specifications
|Engine||426 C.I. HEMI V-8|
|Output (HP @ RPM)||TBA|
|Torque (LB-FT @ RPM)||TBA|
|Acceleration (0-60 MPH)||TBA|
There is no pricing information as of 8/29/2014, but "expensive" should cover it until Dodge and Mopar apply an entrance fee to this wild ride.
The Mustang Cobra Jet is a thing of beauty, thanks to its 5.0-liter V-8 with a 2.9-liter supercharger strapped to it. There are no official specs on it, but a good estimate is somewhere in the 550-to 600-horsepower range. But it’s not all about power here, as the Cobra Jet also receives a lightened body.
This car is tuned specifically to handle the quarter-mile and is limited to only 50 units in 2014. The grand total for this mighty dragster is a relatively affordable $97,990.
Gallery Ford Mustang Cobra Jet
The COPO Camaro has roots that trace back to the 1960s, and the 2014 COPO Camaro continues in its footsteps. On the outside, like many of these factory-direct models, the COPO Camaro is strikingly similar to its road-going model, save for the massive hood scoop and the drag-racing tires.
With the COPO, Chevy offers a choice of engines, including a 427 C.I. V-8, a supercharged 350, a naturally aspirated 350 and a free-breathing 396. There were no pricing details or power number revealed, but let’s just say "really expensive" and "a whole lot" sum it up nicely.
Gallery Chevrolet COPO Camaro
Sure, the Challenger Drag Pack is nowhere near as insane looking as the Cobra Jet and COPO Camaro, but chances are that it is just as fast. I only wish Dodge would have released some basic output figures, but I guess it doesn’t want the world knowing what its buyers have under their hoods. A Hellcat engine would likely fit nicely under the hood too, but it probably wouldn’t be up to the stress of constant drag racing.
- Looks like a sleeper
- Massive meat hooks for great launches
- The Challenger really looks the part of a muscle car
- May lack in power compared to the COPO
- Likely nearing the $100k mark
August 28, 2014 , Indianapolis - When looking to build a better, more competitive race car for the quarter-mile drag strip, who better to ask for feedback than the Sportsman drivers and the drag racing legends who have helped Chrysler Group’s Mopar brand build the reputation and heritage it has in motorsports?
The best place for that to happen of course would be at the prestigious 60th annual National Hot Rod Association (NHRA) U.S. Nationals event as the largest contingent of Sportsman and professional racers get set to compete at Lucas Oil Raceway in Indianapolis, Indiana, this weekend.
On Thursday evening, Sportsman racers were invited to meet many of the Mopar legends in the sport of drag racing including Don Garlits, Roland Leong, Ted Spehar, Herb McCandless, as well as members of the original Ramchargers — Tom Coddington, Al Adams and John Wehrly — at Mopar’s racers reception held at Lucas Oil Raceway. All then got the chance to preview the first 2015 Mopar Challenger Drag Pak test vehicle and to talk with Mopar Performance Parts and SRT Motorsports engineers about the proposed next generation drag pak.
Representing the Mopar Motorsports program at the reception are Tricia Hecker – Director Marketing, Dale Aldo – Motorsports manager, and Ed Hessell – Mopar Performance Parts manager. Engineers on hand to take the Sportsman racers’ questions and feedback include David Bailey –SRT Motorsports Engineering Senior Manager, Patrick Baer – SRT Motorsports Engine Group Engineering Supervisor, Steven Kouzoujian – SRT Motorsports Engine Group Senior Engineer, and Richard Talbot – SRT Motorsports Engine Group Engineering Specialist.
Mopar celebrates the 50th anniversary of the introduction of the Gen II 426 Race HEMI® this year. More than 45 years after the 1968 Dodge Dart and Plymouth Barracuda Mopar package cars contributed to building the brand’s reputation at the drag strip, Mopar still lives up to its heritage by continuing to add to the lineage of high performance quality products.
Remaining true to its roots, the brand is continuing its commitment to Sportsman racing with the development of the next generation Mopar Drag Pak. The 2015 Mopar Challenger Drag Pak test vehicle is the next step in the evolution of the modern day package car whose earlier incarnations include more than 150 V8 Challenger Drag Paks, an additional fifty V10 versions, as well as 426 Race HEMI® upgrade kits. The Mopar Challenger Drag Pak is the only modern era package car to win the Stock Eliminator title at the U.S. Nationals and has also won Factory Shootout races.
The test vehicle is built on the 2015 Dodge Challenger platform and sports a white body, a vintage stripe package, and 426 HEMI® identification. The drag pak test vehicle also includes the 2015 Dodge Challenger SRT front and rear fascia trim, rear spoiler and a full roll cage fabricated to NHRA specifications.
Under the hood, Sportsman racers saw a 426 cubic-inch Race HEMI® engine with an aluminum block, steel liners and custom engine calibration. The car boasts a Chrysler-based 727 automatic transmission, a race-style stick shifter with integral line lock, and an aluminum driveshaft. The vehicle also is equipped with a weigh box in the trunk and a trunk-mounted 12 volt battery.
The interior is currently based on the 2015 Dodge Challenger SRT interior with the addition of Mopar gauges, driver and passenger lightweight racing seats, along with safety nets and five-point harnesses.
The Mopar drag pak test car also is equipped with 15-inch front and rear wheels, 28-inch diameter drag style front tires (4.5 inches wide) and 30-inch diameter rear tires (9-inches wide). It currently features precision performance front and rear brake rotors, calipers and master cylinder.
The test vehicle’s front suspension currently sports the 2015 Mopar K-Member and strut suspension geometry, front struts with adjustable compression and rebound. At the back of the car, racers will find a four-link rear suspension with Panhard bar, rear solid axle with 9-inch aluminum third member, rear shocks with adjustable compression and rebound, and an anti-sway bar.
All specifications on the 2015 Mopar Challenger Drag Pak test vehicle are still preliminary and being evaluated, as they are pending NHRA approval as well as feedback from the Sportsman themselves. The vehicle will be shown at the Mopar display in the manufacturer’s midway area on Friday and Saturday during the NHRA U.S. Nationals event weekend for racers and fans to view. Also on display will be an original 1968 HEMI® Dodge Dart package car.
As proud supporter of Sportsman racing within the NHRA, Mopar continues to recognize its roots with a robust contingency program, support of the Mopar HEMI® Challenge for a 14th consecutive year and last year’s addition of the “Tom Hoover Sportsman Challenge” that rewards a Sportsman class racer that amasses the most points earned in a season during NHRA sanctioned races at the wheel of a Chrysler Group vehicle, competing in either Stock or Super Stock classes nationwide.
About Mopar Motorsports
Mopar’s commitment to professional motorsports competition was established in the 1950s when a partnership ignited with drag racing pioneer Don Garlits, resulting in the breaking of numerous speed and performance barriers in HEMI® ®-powered vehicles over the next several decades. In 2013, Mopar looks to defend its two NHRA 2012 World Championship titles in Pro Stock and Funny Car categories, and celebrates 25 consecutive years as title sponsor of the Mopar Mile-High NHRA Nationals in Colorado. While Mopar remains involved in a various professional motorsports series, it continues to honour its roots by being a proud supporter of amateur racing within the NHRA with its sponsorship of the HEMI® Challenge and Mopar Sportsman Cup.
Mopar (a simple contraction of the words Motor and PARts) was trademarked in 1937 with the launch of an antifreeze product but truly made its mark in the 1960s during the muscle-car era. From Mopar Performance Parts to enhance speed and handling for both road and racing use, the brand soon expanded to include technical service and customer support.
Today, Mopar is Chrysler Group LLC’s service, parts and customer-care brand and distributes more than 500,000 parts and accessories in more than 130 markets, integrating service, parts and customer-care operations in order to enhance dealer and customer support worldwide. Mopar is the source for genuine parts and accessories for Chrysler Group brands as well as FIAT brands.
Mopar parts are unique in that they are engineered with the same teams that create factory-authorized vehicle specifications for Chrysler Group and FIAT vehicles – a direct connection that no other aftermarket parts company can provide. A complete list of Mopar accessories and performance parts is available at www.mopar.com.
Mopar has introduced numerous industry-first features including:
Vehicle-information apps: first to introduce smartphone vehicle-information applications, a new channel of communication with customers
Electronic owner manuals: first to introduce traditional owner manuals in a DVD and brief user-guide format. First to offer complete vehicle-information kits in Spanish
Wi-Fi: first to offer customers the ability to make their vehicle a wireless hot spot
Wireless charging: first to introduce in-vehicle wireless charging for portable devices
Electronic Vehicle Tracking System (EVTS): first to market with interactive vehicle tracking device that sends owner a text when vehicle is driven too fast or too far based on pre-set parameters
wiAdvisor: first to provide factory-connected tablet technology in the service lane for instant vehicle diagnosis
wiTech: first to support vehicle diagnosis and software updates leveraging off-the-shelf personal computers and a dedicated wireless tool network
2011 Mopar Challenger Drag Pak: first to introduce a 500-plus cubic-inch V-10 drag-race package car