Dodge Takes a Page Out of the Old Viper Book for the 2021 Dodge Challenger
Dodge introduced its American Cup Racer (ACR) nameplate on the 1999 Viper model. Functioning almost like a special edition trim, the ACR treatment was bestowed on only one other Dodge vehicle in the brand’s history, the long gone compact Neon sedan. The ACR trim level represents the best that the brand has to offer when it comes to on-track performance. Dodge discontinued the Viper model in 2017 due to underwhelming sales, and the ACR designation has been on hiatus ever since. However, a recent report from Allpar indicates that ACR is due to make a comeback on none other than the 2021 Dodge Challenger model.
Longtime sources of the publication indicate that Dodge has a slew of upgrades for its 2021 Challenger, hoping to steer the model in pursuit of pure performance as opposed to it being simply a muscle car. Changes include reworked tires, brakes, suspension, aerodynamics, and more. These rumored modifications will transform the Challenger from a hefty two-door into a massive sub-two-ton beast on the track. Dodge will rely on some existing components to accomplish this, including the rear wing from the Viper ACR-E, some adjustable suspension components, and a modified version of the Viper’s splitter.
Allpar’s source didn’t have any news with regards to the transmission, so it’s expected that the Challenger ACR will have to make do with the six-speed manual transmission currently available on the Challenger Hellcat. Engine choices are rumored to be the following: Dodge’s 392 HEMI with 485 horsepower, and the colossal 6.2-liter HEMI V8 with its 797 horsepower. Brembo will likely provide the brakes, but they’ll have to work hard to bring the car to a halt given the model’s immense girth. Dodge is pouring its resources into the new Challenger ACR so they can compete head-to-head with Ford’s new GT500 — it’s got a 760 horsepower V8, a dual-clutch transmission, and aggressive aerodynamics.
Dodge didn’t provide any information about the car’s release date, as the brand does not customarily comment about ongoing production. Given that the next-generation Challenger, a model that hasn’t had a complete overhaul in over a decade, is delayed by the ongoing Coronavirus crisis, it’ll be a while before we get a glimpse of the Challenger ACR. That said, the Challenger ACR could also be a one-off or a prototype as opposed to a vehicle slated for production. Time will tell. The real point of intrigue is if Dodge can shave 500 pounds off of the existing Challenger.
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