2018 Dodge Challenger SRT Demon: The Starting Line

July 20th, 2017 by

So let’s be real: The 2018 Dodge Challenger SRT Demon is a very, very fast car.

On top of the 6.2-liter supercharged V8 engine that produces 840 horsepower and 770 lb-ft of torque, the Challenger SRT Demon can go from 0-60 mph in 2.3 seconds and it is capable of running a quarter-mile in 9.65 seconds – FAST BABY! Now, understanding the power that the Challenger SRT Demon embodies comes with understanding drag racing. Just outside of Indianapolis, Lucas Oil Raceway has a very strict policy on toeing the National Hot Rod Association’s (NHRA) drag strip rules, which states “any car running below 10 seconds in the quarter-mile needs to be equipped with a roll cage.” So, what’s it really like to watch a quarter mile disappear right before your very eyes? It’s like watching the world through a kaleidoscope kicked into hyperdrive with the euphoric tunes of a heavy metal soundtrack playing in your head.

The tires on the Challenger SRT are specialized Nitto drag radials that are designed to provide maximum straight-line acceleration while adhering to the regulations that make a tire street-legal. Owners have the option of leaving the tires equally sized or installing small front runners so those wheelies can be accomplished flawlessly. At the Lucas Oil Raceway, they put a water box ahead of the staging lights to avoid the tires sticking from the heat caused by the drag radials. Makes for a pretty good show!  

Dodge has really gone to exceptional lengths to show the public just what kind of “demon” this car really is. When put into dragmode, the a/c immediately turns off to provide cooling power to the SRT Power Chiller, a device that can drop the intake temperature by as much as 18 degrees by cooling the liquid in the liquid-to-air intercooler circuit.

Another distinctive feature of the Challenger SRT Demon is the TransBrake – which holds the car still in drive by engaging both first and reverse gears, effectively locking the transmission and allowing the driver to build engine speed without moving the car. This is specifically used in drag racing and the TransBrake is always on and available only in drag mode.

To engage this feature, it requires both feet and both hands. Starting with the left foot on the brake pedal while pulling and holding both shifter paddles, the driver releases one of the paddles and the brake pedal. Then the TransBrake is still engaged and the only thing keeping a driver from launching down the strip is the grip of their hand. Weird, huh?! Something else is weird too, it’s the exhaust node. SRT calls it Torque Reserve. However, it’s basically a two-step ignition – kind of an anti-lag system but it happens on the intake side instead of the downstream.

After everything’s said and done, the acceleration itself is actually pretty simple. While keeping the throttle pinned and keeping the steering straight, the transmission will upshift automatically and the car remains stable. Keep a good look-out for that finish line, you’ll pass it faster than you think.

Photo Credit: FCA Media

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