While Dodge may have pulled the Demon out of production, it isn’t easing up its assault in the horsepower wars. In fact, it’s got a new Hellcat that it expects will churn out more than 10,000 horsepower when it makes its official debut this coming weekend.
Unlike the Challenger SRT Hellcat Demon, however, there has been no pretense at making the 2019 Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat NHRA Funny Car street legal. It’s designed to dominate the quarter-mile adding to the 50 wins and one NHRA Funny Car World Championship the previous Dodge Charger Funny Car racked up.
“The Dodge//SRT brand is all about performance, and the introduction of the Mopar Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat NHRA Funny Car body showcases our commitment to performance and excellence at the dragstrip,” said Steve Beahm, who heads up North American passenger car brands, including Dodge, for Fiat Chrysler Automobiles.
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Two-time Funny Car World champion Don Schumacher will be the first to try to push the beast’s limits during the Dodge Mile-High NHRA Nationals in Denver this coming weekend.
Visually, the Charger Hellcat Funny Car will have a lot in common with the old dragster, but there have been a number of updates. Up front, there’s a redesigned nose, with a new splitter built out of carbon fiber and Kevlar, in line with the rest of the dragster’s body. The splitter is designed to look a lot like the one on the production Charger Hellcat, even while increasing downforce on the new racer.
The scallops on the side of the Funny Car also are meant to evoke the look of the production car, especially the deep character lines. But, as with the splitter, there’s a practical purpose, as well, the design changes aimed at reducing the “body burn” that Funny Cars are prone to because of the heat of their exhaust headers.
The other key revisions comes with the “burst panel” on the Charger Funny Car’s hood. It’s been reworked to help ensure it gives way and releases energy and pressure, Dodge explains, “in the event of engine issues, a common occurrence in race cars that are pushed to the razor’s edge of performance.”
Add to all that new graphics meant to further replicate the look of a street-legal Charger Hellcat, including its iconic grille.
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The new dragster was jointly developed by Dodge, FCA’s parts division Mopar, as well as Don Schumacher Racing, the team that will campaign the new Funny Car. The project took more than a year to complete.
“Our job at Mopar is to put the best race car underneath our drivers and keep them winning. We know this new body, developed in collaboration with the Dodge//SRT brand and Don Schumacher Racing, will do just that,” said Pietro Gorlier, Head of Parts and Service (Mopar), FCA. “The changes made to this new Funny Car body will improve on-track performance and help us carry on the Mopar brand’s long tradition of success at the dragstrip.”
The partners are being coy about specific engine details, though the Hellcat is expected to make well over 10,000 horsepower in the mere seconds it will run down the Mile-High track. The dragster is expected to hit 330 mph before its chute pops, covering 1,000 feet in less than four seconds.
The new Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat NHRA Funny Car will have a big set of tires to fill. The outgoing dragster, which made its first run in 2015, has claimed 50 wins – including that World Championship – while landing in the runner-up spot another 42 times.
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