As if the hoopla surrounding the new Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat, the quickest production musclecar in America’s history, hasn’t hit its zenith yet, the above video is going to add more fuel to the fire.
Praised for its 707hp, 650 lb-ft of torque and 199mph top speed, but criticized for its 4,450 pound curb weight, there’s no denying the Hellcat is a spectacle of American muscle power and aggression. After all, its sleek lines make it look mean, and it sounds brutal and mean, both at idle and upon hard acceleration.
However, in order to make a car of that much horsepower legal for the street as a mass-production vehicle, it had to be built sturdy and safe (a relative term – is 707hp ever “safe” on the street…?), hence the added weight. That 6.2L Hemi engine isn’t exactly a loaf of bread either, so even with all that power, increased weight will still hinder performance.
That is what becomes obvious in the closed course street race shown in the video above. The stock Hellcat is matched up against a GMC king-cab pickup, most likely AWD because of its quick takeoff. While no one but the truck’s driver knows what’s under the hood, it still beats the Hellcat off the line and down the majority of the track.
The Hellcat only barely catches, and some might say doesn’t catch, the truck at the very end. Race participants say “Hellcat” to the crowd, but the video shows a very close finish.
Now some might say ‘driver error‘ and that certainly could be the case here. Some might blame the eight-speed Torqueflite automatic transmission, but it can shift faster than just about any human and spends more time in the power band, so the old adage that a manual is always better than an automatic in street racing doesn’t really hold true anymore.
However, the Hellcat’s weight is an important contributing factor to its overall performance, as simple physics tells us that the more power something has and the less it weighs, the faster it will go. The Hellcat is marketed as having a 0-60 time in the low three-second range, but this video shows somewhat of a different story.
Whether you like it or not, the Hellcat surely is a ferocious beast with a mighty roar, although perhaps less of a cheetah than advertised. What’s your opinion? Did the Hellcat win, or that just one sleeper of a truck?