Remaining true to its performance roots, the Mopar brand has unveiled the next-generation Mopar Dodge Challenger Drag Pak….
The factory-prepped package car specifically geared for drag racing. The vehicle, revealed today at the FCA US LLC Chelsea Proving Grounds, is built on the Dodge Challenger platform and will come with the option of either the brand’s first ever offering of a supercharged 354-cubic-inch Gen III HEMI® engine or a naturally aspirated 426-cubic-inch Gen III HEMI engine.
The new Mopar Dodge Challenger Drag Pak is designed for passionate Sportsman racers who compete in nationally sanctioned drag racing series, such as the National Hot Rod Association (NHRA). The new generation Drag Pak combines the latest in Sportsman racing technology, a host of upgrades and improvements from the previous generation Drag Pak and unique heritage design cues.
“Today, we write the next page in our performance playbook with the reveal of the production Mopar Dodge Challenger Drag Pak, a vehicle that offers, for the first time, a supercharged engine that provides our racers more options,” said Pietro Gorlier, President and CEO — Mopar Brand Service, Parts and Customer Care, FCA. “Our brand is committed to supporting Mopar drivers who compete at all levels. In 2014, we debuted a new Dodge Dart NHRA Pro Stock car that won right out of the gate. In 2015, our new Dodge Charger R/T NHRA Funny Car did the same. Now, Mopar is supercharging our Sportsman racers.”
Under a factory hood is the supercharged 354 HEMI engine, with a cast-iron block, forged steel crankshaft, Mopar spec camshaft and a custom performance engine calibration. The 354 nomenclature pays homage to the heritage of the early Gen 1 HEMI engines, which originally displaced 354 cubic inches.
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 rear 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.
Each engine version carries a unique graphic identification package. The supercharged hot rod displays a Mopar Blue stripe and a “354 Supercharged” graphic insignia, while the naturally aspirated (N/A) Drag Pak sports a horizontal black stripe along its side with a 426 HEMI engine graphic identification.
The new Drag Pak includes the Dodge Challenger front and rear fascia trim and a redesigned full roll cage fabricated to NHRA specifications. The inside of 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.
The vehicle also includes a more user-friendly hood, hinged at the rear to make between rounds under hood maintenance an easier task. Another small but essential detail that racers will appreciate is the addition of integrated trailer tie-down loops on the front and rear of the new Drag Pak.
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 http://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.
Posted by: Pat Caporali