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Mopar® Reveals Dodge Challenger Drag Race Package


17th July, 2008

Mopar modified Dodge Challenger

  • Mopar® is bringing the iconic Dodge Challenger muscle car to National Hot Road Association (NHRA) drag-racing competition in the US
  • Two Dodge Challenger Drag Race Package Car prototypes were revealed to drag-racing enthusiasts at Mopar Mile-High Nationals
  • Based on the Challenger SRT8, Mopar’s new race-prepped, drag-race-only Challenger will thrill a new generation of motor sports enthusiasts

Mopar is bringing the iconic Dodge Challenger muscle car to America's National Hot Road Association (NHRA) drag-racing competition. Mopar revealed two Dodge Challenger Drag Race Package Cars at the 29th Annual Mopar Mile-High Nationals before thrilled fans at Bandimere Speedway in Morrison, Coloroda. Mopar Mile-High Nationals is the longest-running NHRA sponsorship.

“Big Daddy” Don Garlits and Judy “Miss Mighty Mopar” Lilly were behind the wheels for their inaugural track run. Garlits drove the car featuring the Stone White paint scheme. Lilly was behind the wheel of the “Mopar Liquid Metal” prototype. NHRA named Garlits the #1 driver of the Top 50 drivers from its first 50 years. His victories and accomplishments are virtually unmatched in drag-racing history. “Miss Mighty Mopar” has 12 years on the NHRA circuit behind her.

Mopar built the first two Challenger Drag Race Package Cars for development and testing for its new Challenger Package Car programme. Based on the Challenger SRT8, the prototypes were finished in Stock Eliminator configuration. They ran successfully in June 2008 as proof-of-concept and for NHRA certification. Mopar dropped approximately 450 kilogrammes off the production Challenger SRT8 by eliminating major production components and systems. To accentuate the weight savings, they also feature added composite, polycarbonate and lightweight components designed for drag racing that will be part of the new Package Car programme.

The engine was repositioned to improve driveline angle and weight distribution. The 116-inch wheelbase was shortened by ½ inch. They also feature a front cradle with bolt-in crossmember and solid engine mounts.

“Today is a great day for Mopar, Dodge, SRT, drag racers and motor sports enthusiasts everywhere. Not made for the streets, our  drag-race-only Challengers will be running soon in NHRA competition—the best grassroots racing series in the world,” said Sunil Lahoti, Mopar Marketing and Brand Manager, Chrysler LLC. “And who better to drive our new Challenger Package Cars on their inaugural track run than ‘Big Daddy’ and ‘Miss Mighty Mopar' .......”

New Dodge Challenger Drag Race Package Car Programme by Mopar

The first drag-race, factory-prepped package cars built in 40 years, the new Challenger Drag Race Package Car by Mopar builds on the heritage of the limited-edition 1968 Hemi-powered Package Cars. Those '68 Dodge Darts and Plymouth Barracudas solidified the Mopar brand as a quarter-mile force.

Mopar will build a minimum of 100 Challenger Drag Race Package Cars to meet NHRA requirements. Based on the production Dodge Challenger SRT8, Mopar’s modern factory-prepped Challenger Drag Race Package Car will begin as a special Body-in-White (BIW) from Chrysler’s Brampton, Ontario, Canada, assembly plant. The body sealer, sound deadener and undercoat will be eliminated. To reduce vehicle weight, major production component and systems will also be eliminated including: windshield wiper assembly, complete HVAC system, all airbag components, rear seats, power steering system, exhaust system and underbody heat shields, cross-car and side impact door beams, rear bumper beam and rear spoiler.

The drag racer has three engine options—6.1-litre or 5.7-litre hemi or 5.9-litre Magnum® Wedge — as well as manual or automatic transmission.

A build book/owner’s manual will be provided to document the modifications made to the Challenger SRT8 as well as provide recommendations to finish the Package Car for Stock Eliminator competition. To accentuate weight savings, there are unique drag-race components in the Package Car programme including: composite lift-off bonnet with functional scoop, Viper-style front seats, polycarbonate door windows, lightweight cooling module with electric fan, manual rack and pinion steering, special cable-operated boot release, special lightweight front brake assembly and special cable-operated throttle linkage and pedal assembly.

The Challenger Drag Race Package Car will be eligible to run in three Eliminator categories — Comp, Super Stock and Stock — and potentially 40 classes. Each car will carry an identification plate with sequential serial number.

The Challenger Drag Race Package Car will be available, in America, for order in late August to early September.

Now in its fifth decade, NHRA is the world's largest motor sports sanctioning body with 80,000 members, 140 member tracks, more than 35,000 licensed competitors and more than 5,000 member-track events. NHRA is second only to NASCAR in terms of audience attendance.

Other Dodge content: here.

Other Chrysler Group content: here.

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