Physics. When rumors came out about a month ago that an alleged Dodge Challenger ACR was in the works, we could only pause and cast doubt on such a program on the sheer basis of physics. The Challenger is, after all, is the heaviest two-door muscle car on the market. In Hellcat form, its curb weight comes in at 4,429 pounds. Meanwhile, the Charger Hellcat is an even heftier 4,586 pounds.
Moving that much metal around a road course to make it competitive with lighter (though still heavy) adversaries such as the Ford Mustang Shelby GT500 or the Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 would require incredible investments in engineering, while also attempting to contort the basic nature of what the Challenger happens to be. Which is going fast in a straight line better than pretty much anything else out there.
“Our cars are not going to be track cars, it’s just physics,” said FCA head of passenger cars Tim Kuniskis to MC&T. “They’re bigger, they’re heavier… when reports came out saying we’re going to build an ACR Challenger I’m like ‘we’re not going to do that.'”
Sticking to its guns, Dodge instead chose to offer up a family of go-fast machines in the quarter mile. And it’s not just high-priced muscle cars like the 2021 Challenger Super Stock, Challenger Hellcat Redeye, or 2021 Charger Hellcat Redeye. The track-read Dodge Challenger 1320 Edition can be had for less than $45,000. While impressively rare, the 1320 Edition has no production cap, and borrows much of the impressive hardware from the 840 hp Dodge Demon to make it the fastest naturally aspirated V8 production muscle car available. It features a trans brake, heavy duty splined half shafts, line lock, and Nexen drag-spec tires. Passenger seats are also optional for a dollar.
“(Around a road course) I can’t beat the GT500, I can’t beat the GT350R. I’d have to have a wing the size of a house, I’d have to have no seats… we can’t go into that space,” said Kuniskis.
Dodge also enjoys the youngest buyer in the muscle car segment with the Challenger. In a separate article from the same interview, Kuniskis outlines how Dodge has carved out its niche with market data demonstrating how more customers identify with drag racing versus road course racing by a ratio of 7:1. In short: not only will Dodge not build an LX-platform Challenger ACR, it simply doesn’t need to. After 2023, however, when the next-generation of Mopar Muscle likely shows up, we might have to ask about a Dodge Challenger ACR again.