The Ram's Eye - A Driver's Blog: Challenger SRT10 or SRT8 ACR to go against the Z/28?



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Sunday, 7 April 2013

Challenger SRT10 or SRT8 ACR to go against the Z/28?




Well, it didn't take long for the SRT team to notice the Camaro Z/28 and respond. At the New York Auto Show, SRT boss Ralph Gilles told Motor Trend that SRT will soon have an answer for the Camaro Z/28. Ralph Gilles said that the Barracuda, the car that is supposed to eventually replace the Challenger, is not that far along so the answer will have to be a variant of the Challenger. No details were given so we're left to speculate as to what upgrades the Challenger will get.

There is one possibility.. and that's an SRT10 Challenger. It has been shown that there's room for a V10 under the hood of the Challenger. The 2011 Dodge Challenger V10 Drag Pack takes a Dodge Challenger and stuffs Mopar's 512 cubic-inch (8.4 litre) V10 crate engine along with a 2-speed automatic transmission and suspension, chassis and interior modifications to prep it for drag racing (for more info, visit: V10 Dodge Challenger revealed: 2011 Mopar Challenger V-10 Drag Pak).

An SRT10 Challenger would be great for the brand in my opinion. The Challenger has always been viewed as the more comfortable and convenient pony since the return of the retro muscle cars. It's not necessarily a bad thing. I actually like that comfort and convenience seem to have been put above performance to create a great cruiser. But when it comes to competition or sports car enthusiasts, it's always Camaro vs Mustang out of the 3 ponies because the Challenger isn't as competitive. An SRT10 would differentiate the Challenger further from the rest of the lineup and show the market that they mean business.

Another option would be a Challenger SRT8 ACR (or TA - Time Attack). ACR stands for American Club Racing and Dodge has made several ACR variants in the past of their performance vehicles, namely the Neon SRT4 and the Viper. The first ACR version of the Viper included a horsepower bump of 10 hp but the SRT4 (Neon SRT4) ACR and the last Viper ACR received no increase in power so it could go either way. I have no doubt that a Challenger SRT8 ACR would receive a significant increase in power, though. Other areas of improvement included with the ACR treatment are tires, chassis, suspension, weight and aerodynamics.

Whichever way SRT decides to go, there are a few things that you should fully expect - upgraded tires, brakes, shocks, springs, roll bars and aerodynamics along with a significant hp bump and some chassis stiffening components. I, unfortunately, don't expect to see a Challenger SRT10 but I hope I'm wrong. An alternative to going to a V10 for a lot of extra hp would be to thoroughly rework the 6.4 litre HEMI currently in the SRT8 392 - much like the same way Ford did with the 5.0 Coyote to create the 5.0 Roadrunner they put in the Boss 302. There's a lot of room for extra power in the 6.4 litre HEMI but, in my opinion, it would be much better for the car's image to rework the entire engine.

Another area that's very important (and probably very likely to be addressed) is weight. A new Challenger SRT8 392 comes in at around 4,160 lb. (according to Dodge's website) which is about 300 lb. heavier than what the Z/28 is going to be and about a whopping 500 lb. heavier than the now-out-of-production Boss 302. Although the Boss 302 is significantly slower than the Z/28 is going to be, it will always be some sort of a benchmark since it was the first track-focused focused, high hp N/A muscle car since the retro muscle cars came into production.

Will Ford have an answer too? I don't doubt it. I wouldn't be surprised if Ford waits until the next gen Mustang comes out to have a model to compete with the Z/28. It's hard to say, though, if Ford will bring an extra variant (i.e. Cobra, Mach, etc.) or simply make the GT500 (or whatever model goes above the GT) very, very fast. Regardless of the way Ford goes, it's going to be great and I am VERY looking forward to a three way comparison and seeing what they bring to the table!

As for the Challenger, which would you prefer to see, an SRT8 ACR with significant engine upgrades for the addition power or a Challenger SRT10?

Source: Motor Trend and Allpar

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