In a move we have been hotly anticipating since Indy of last year, Mopar has pulled the curtain off a pair of new Challenger Drag Pack options for their sportsman drag racing customers. One is a naturally aspirated 426ci engine and the other is a 354ci Whipple blown hemi combo that will have the horsepower to stare down the blown Coyote and blown LS combos that Ford and Chevrolet currently offer in their package cars.
It was the US Nationals in 2014 when Dale Aldo and the Chrysler team first showed the “concept” for this machine and after a year they have gotten it approved for stock and super stock combat. Orders will be taken in July of this year and we’re not sure when deliveries will be scheduled. It seems too tight a window to expect one (or more) to be at the US Nationals in late August/September but who knows, maybe they have an ace up their sleeve. We can only keep our fingers crossed and hope.
With the current engine generation hemi platform being very stout and wearing some of the best factory cylinder heads every produced for an Amerian V8 engine, the other companies may have something to be concerned about. The fastest Mustangs and Camaros of the Cobra Jet and COPO persuasion are running in the 8.30s now and we have reason to believe that this car will be there (or better?!) very quickly given the right conditions. We ran THIS VIDEO A WHILE BACK which was shot at Arrington Performance the well known engine shop that has been on the forefront of the late model Hemi since it appeared on the market. That is a 9oohp (corrected to STP) blown engine that is listed as being 426ci. Only they know if it is or it isn’t and we are not sure of the blower that will reside on the Drag Pack engine but if nothing else it is an idea of the potential that these engines have.
Before we share the release with you, we will say that all of this is moving in one direction and while we have NO concrete evidence, confirmed statements or documents to indicate this as 100% truth, we’re on the verge of a new age in NHRA pro stock. The pieces are in place now to move back towards a factory based competition, which has not been the case in many, many years and people would love it. Again, our speculation but rumors abound. Stay tuned!
HERE’S THE OFFICIAL STATEMENT FROM CHRYSLER AND PHOTOS!
Focused on Performance: New Mopar Dodge Challenger Drag Pak Revealed
- New Mopar Dodge Challenger Drag Pak marks the first time Mopar will offer racers a supercharged engine option
- Sportsman racers will have the choice of a 354-cubic-inch supercharged HEMI® engine or a naturally aspirated 426-cubic-inch HEMI
- Orders open in late July, with information on the new Mopar Dodge Challenger Drag Pak available atwww.mopar.com/mopar-drag-pak
The naturally aspirated 426 Race HEMI engine is built off of a Mopar aluminum block with pressed-in steel liners and aluminum cylinder heads. Like the supercharged engine, the 426 HEMI also includes a custom engine calibration. The new Drag Pak features a race-prepped automatic transmission, upgraded from the previous generation vehicle, for both the 354 and 426 engine options.
The vehicle’s front suspension sports a unique Mopar K-Member and suspension geometry, with double adjustable compression and rebound struts. At the back of the car is a four-link suspension with Panhard bar, Strange Engineering 4-inch solid axle with 9-inch aluminum third member, 40-spline gun drilled axles, shocks with adjustable compression and rebound and an anti-roll bar. The rear axle mounting has been strengthened from the previous generation Drag Pak to help the car launch faster and harder.
The new Drag Pak includes the Dodge Challenger front and rear fascia trim and a redesigned full roll cage fabricated to NHRA specifications. The cockpit
reflects the Dodge Challenger interior, but with the addition of a Mopar gauge pack, driver and passenger lightweight racing seats, along with a safety net and a five-point harness.
The Mopar Drag Pak is equipped with 15-inch front and rear lightweight wheels displaying the unique Mopar logo. Mounted on those wheels will be Hoosier drag radials with front tires that measure 28 inches in diameter by 4.5 inches wide, and rear tires that are 30 inches in diameter by 9 inches wide. The car will also feature slotted front and rear brake rotors, with race-specific calipers and master cylinder.
Development of the new Mopar Dodge Challenger Drag Pak has spanned nearly a year. A prototype was first revealed in 2014 at the 60th NHRA U.S. Nationals to elicit feedback from NHRA Sportsman racers on potential upgrades to make the Drag Pak even more competitive at the drag strip.
The resulting new vehicle is the next step in the evolution of Mopar’s modern-day package car, whose earlier incarnations include more than 150 V-8 Challenger Drag Paks, an additional 50 V-10 versions and plenty of 426 Race HEMI upgrade kits.
“We are extremely pleased with the results obtained during our testing,” said Dale Aldo, Mopar Motorsports Marketing Manager. “In the first runs the new Drag Pak ran consistently in the eights (eight-second range) while improving times at the 60-ft. mark and also performing very well in the quarter mile. Once our customers get the car on the track, we feel it’s going to be a clear winner.”
The Mopar Dodge Challenger Drag Pak will be open for ordering through authorized Dodge dealerships, beginning July 23 as the Mopar Mile-High NHRA Nationals kickoff with the Mopar Block Party in downtown Golden, Colorado. The manufacturer’s suggested retail price (MSRP) for the naturally aspirated 426 version of the Mopar Challenger Drag Pak is a “cubic inch appropriate” $99,426, with the 354 supercharged race car available for $109,354 MSRP.
For ordering information on the new Mopar Dodge Challenger Drag Pak, visit www.mopar.com/mopar-drag-pak.
Mopar package car heritage
The Mopar Dodge Challenger Drag Pak’s roots were firmly planted in the early 1960s with the factory production of Max Wedge package cars. In 1968, famously coveted 426 HEMI-powered Dodge Dart and Plymouth Barracuda package cars were unleashed on the strip. Those vehicles continue to compete in the Super Stock/Automatic-HEMI (SS/AH) class of NHRA Sportsman racing and the annual fan favorite Mopar HEMI Challenge, held during the NHRA U.S. Nationals at Lucas Oil Raceway in Indianapolis, Indiana, since 2001.
In 2008, Mopar delighted speed lovers by announcing the first drag race, factory-prepped package cars in 40 years – the first V-8 Mopar Dodge Challenger Drag Pak. The return of the Mopar package car was a hit with racers, and the 2009 program saw a first-year sell out of all 100 factory-built vehicles.
Building on that success, the 2010 Mopar Dodge Challenger Drag Pak program offered racers an available 6.4-liter HEMI engine. Then in 2011, Mopar introduced a race-ready V-10 package car, becoming the first original equipment manufacturer (OEM) to offer a 500-plus cubic-inch V-10 drag package car.
Mopar has continued to mark many firsts. The Drag Pak has captured numerous NHRA National title wins and records, and the previous generation Mopar Drag Pak was also the first modern-era package car to win the Stock Eliminator class crown at the U.S. Nationals.
The 426 Drag Pak was also the first naturally aspirated package car to make an eight-second-range quarter-mile pass at a NHRA national event. During the 2014 season, while celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Gen II Race HEMI, the 426 Drag Pak won a majority of the factory stock naturally aspirated class races and has posted national event class wins in recent years.
The newly revealed Mopar Dodge Challenger Drag Pak adds to Mopar’s package car heritage, marking the brand’s first offering to racers of a supercharger. As the most powerful Drag Paks to date, both the new generation 354 Gen III HEMI supercharged engine and the 426 Gen III Race HEMI will take their aim squarely at quarter-mile success as Mopar continues to lead the way in street, track and off-road performance.
For more information and for photos of the new Mopar Dodge Challenger Drag Pak, visit media.fcanorthamerica.com.