2019 Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat Redeye: Drag-Strip Tested — Cars.com

Earlier this year we introduced you to
this monster. This is the 2019 Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat RedEye wide-body.
Now that’s a mouthful of words and this really is a handful of car. It’s big
claim to fame is that it has the now-discontinued 2018 Challenger Demon
engine in it so it makes 797 horsepower instead of the Demon’s completely mental
840 horsepower but that’s still 80 horsepower more than a regular Dodge
Challenger Hellcat. Now when we first drove it it was at a circuit track just
outside of Portland, Maine and we came away a little less than impressed
because let’s be honest here the Challenger is really not a good circuit
track car. It’s too big, it’s too heavy and when you could put it up against
something like the Mustang which is much more sharp or the Camaro which weighs
less it doesn’t hold its own all that well. But I think the Dodge folks will
agree that this thing really does better on a different kind of track, a drag
strip. So we brought it here to Union Grove, Wisconsin to Great Lakes Dragaway
because we thought maybe we should just try putting this big cat on the right
track. Dodge Engineering has done some work on the Hellcat Redeye to really
make it handle better. It does have a fully adjustable suspension but most of
the components that they’ve included with the Redeye are meant for
straight-line acceleration and it goes beyond just the supercharged engine. This
has a system called the SRT power chiller. We first saw that on the Demon
and they’ve included it here. You can only get it on the Redeye however. What
it does and this is a little complicated, so bear with me a second, is that it
cools the coolant that’s going through the superchargers intercooler. Now when
air comes into the engine through the supercharger it gets compressed and that
makes it hot so eventually they put it through an intercooler which cools it
down a little bit. Now what the power chiller does is it cools the intercooler
even more and ideally what it does is it drops the intake charge by 45 degrees
Fahrenheit over the ambient temperature. Now colder air is denser air, denser air
means more oxygen, in a given volume more oxygen, bigger explosions, more power. Now
it only works on temperatures above 55 degrees Fahrenheit ambient temperature
and today we’ve got temperatures in the mid 40s so it’s really not going to be a
factor but if you’re drag racing your car on a warm day this
could really make a difference. The power chiller works while you are actually
racing but there’s another feature called after run chiller that works when
you’re going between runs. So you’ve done your run down the drag strip, you’re
going back to get in line. If you shut the engine off to prevent it from
getting too hot the air conditioning system will still run and it will still
run the power chiller and it continues to cool down that intercooler coolant.
You can actually monitor how hot the intercooler coolant is on the Dodge
performance pages inside and you can time your next run when it’s at the
optimal temperature so you can be making the most power. If you specify the
wide-body package for your Hellcat Redeye you get these enormous tires
these are Pirelli PZero in 305 35 Zr 20. They are massive and they come with
these fender flares as well because they stick out beyond the edge of the car. Now
they put down a lot of grip both in corners and on a straight line drag way
like this. Now you don’t have to order the wide-body package when you get the
Redeye but quite frankly, why wouldn’t you? In order to really get some good
times on the drag strip you’ve got to clean off those rear tires and get some
heat into them and Dodge makes that easy with the integrated line lock control.
All you have to do is get into the central multimedia display. You push SRT
and it takes you to the race options menu, push line lock then activate line
lock control. Hold the brakes, push the okay button and hold it down. Let off the
brakes, give it some gas to burn off the tires amd when you’re ready to roll out
you let off the okay button and your tires are now hot and ready for racing.
All of these components taken together should add up to be what creates a
pretty spectacular drag race car so there’s really nothing left to do except
throw it down the quarter mile and see exactly what she’ll run. Before the Challenger could start making
runs down the quarter mile there are a few things that have to be adjusted in
order to optimize the cars acceleration. Dodge has engineered a lot of
adjustability into the Hellcat Redeye allowing you to adapt it for street
cruising circuit track racing or blasting down the drag strip as quickly
as possible. That’s what we’re going for here
and after a chat with Dodge’s engineering team here’s how we set up the car for
our drag strip runs. First, select the custom drive mode. That lets you adjust
the cars various systems independently. Put the power slider in 797 horsepower
mode, obviously, as you want all the ponies at this party. The most important
adjustment is to put the transmission in track mode. That will bang off shifts as
quickly as possible which is what we want here. Paddles you can leave on or
off. We turned them off. The transmission shifts faster on its own than we ever
could manually. Traction control is also switched to track mode. This switch is
off the traction control entirely but leaves stability control on in its most
forgiving mode. Suspension can be in sport or street but we left it in street
mode to enable the most weight transfer to the rear wheels as possible.
Finally, steering we put into sport mode as we like a little bit of firmness and
feedback when we’re going over 125 miles per hour at the end of the drag strip.
Finally it’s time to run. We started by giving the tires a good warm-up burnout
using the line lock feature these are street tires and you want them as warm
as possible but being street tires they don’t hold heat all that well so a good
two-second burnout followed by a 10-foot rollout is crucial as is getting to
those starting timing lights as quickly as possible.
Launching is tricky in a Hellcat. You have to feather the throttle as mashing
it will just set up wheel spin and axle hop. You can’t get on the gas hot and
heavy until after the 1/2 shift and even then you have to be careful. When it all
hooks up perfectly however the results are impressive. Our first few runs generated low 11 second times
but finally we nailed it. 10.8 seconds at 126 miles per hour, just as quick as Dodge says it is. That this car can do
this on pump gas and street tires is amazing. Even more amazing, the best zero
to 60 time being measured for the Hellcat Redeye was 3.17 seconds beating Dodge’s official 3.4 second zero to 60 time
for this car. After testing all morning out here at
the drag strip we can unequivocally state that the new 2019 Dodge Challenger
Hellcat Redeye is in fact a 10-second car right off the showroom floor. That is
extraordinary. What times we live in folks. If you’d like to read more about
the new Dodge Challenger Hellcat Redeye or any of the new Dodge Challengers look
it up on Cars.com you you


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