It was last summer that Dodge showed off a prototype of its new drag racer based on its latest Challenger muscle car, the 2015 Challenger Drag Pak, and now the final version has made its debut. The big news is that a supercharged engine is being offered for the first time, in this case a supercharged 5.8-liter (354-cubic-inch) HEMI V-8. Of course, a naturally aspirated V-8 is still available, the 7.0-liter (426-cubic-inch) HEMI V-8 that we saw in the prototype.
The new supercharged engine features a cast-iron block, forged steel crankshaft, Mopar-spec camshaft and a custom performance engine calibration. Opting for the Challenger Drag Pak with this engine will set you back $109,354. The naturally aspirated engine is built off an aluminum block with pressed-in steel liners and aluminum cylinder heads. Like the supercharged engine, the naturally aspirated mill includes a custom engine calibration and loom. Cars equipped with this engine will set you back $99,426.
Specific performance figures are yet to be delivered but Dodge says the car, regardless of engine, is the most powerful Challenger Drag Pak to date. That’s impressive considering previous incarnations came with the Viper’s 8.4-liter V-10. And what we do know is that a Chrysler-based 727 automatic transmission, upgraded from last year’s model to handle both engines, is standard and comes with a race-style stick shifter with integral line lock. Drive goes to the rear wheels via an aluminum driveshaft, and in the trunk sits a weigh box and battery.
2015 Dodge Challenger Drag Pak
Furthermore, the front suspension sports a unique Mopar K-Member and suspension geometry, with double adjustable compression and rebound struts. Up back is a four-link setup 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. One major upgrade over the previous car is strengthened rear-axle mounting, which is said to help the cars launch faster.
The vehicle is equipped with 15-inch wheels at all four corners, and mounted on these are Hoosier drag radials with front tires that measure 28x4.5 inches and rear rubbers measuring 30x9 in. Stopping power comes from slotted front and rear brake rotors, with race-specific calipers and master cylinder.
So how does the 2015 Challenger Drag Pak perform on the strip? “In the first runs the new Drag Pak ran consistently in the eights while improving times at the 60-foot mark,” Mopar Motorsports marketing manager Dale Aldo explains. “We are extremely pleased with the results obtained during our testing.”
Like previous Challenger Drag Paks, the latest 2015 model is designed for several of the National Hot Rod Association classes. This means they get a full roll cage fabricated to NHRA specifications, along with lightweight racing seats, safety nets and harnesses. The order books will open in late July, and as in previous years production will be limited.