The final Terminal Velocity of 2016 saw a stock 2015 Dodge Challenger Hellcat running against a vast array of high end gorgeousness. Skylines, GTR, Lambo's, Jaguar, BMW and Porsche's.
For those not in the know, the whole idea behind Terminal Velocity is to run your car down virtually 2 miles of runway with a timing gate at about 1.4 miles. The cars run two at a time but are not racing each other as such, just the clock. Believe it or not the braking is almost as much fun as the accelerating given that the run off is not very generous. Stock 6 and 4 piston Brembos on vented and slotted rotors should hopefully do the trick.......
The max speed (or terminal velocities) seen previously range from about 130-220mph. The 'magic' 200mph milestone being the holy grail for many of the drivers, although for some, its more just pushing your car to its limits. Now for a 2 tonne tank such as the Challenger several obstacles should be insurmountable. This after all is a 707bhp car with 620lb/ft of torque going through relatively skinny 275/45 ZR 20 P-Zero's at the rear. Now the Hellcat (& SRT/Scat Packs) have launch control and in the case of the SRT and Hellcat, active damping which should aid a swift exit from the start.
Now, understandably, the RAF doesn't rent out its runway for a bunch of people to turn it into Santa Pod, so burn-outs are forbidden, and the concrete launch area doesn't exactly lend itself to a grippy start, especially when its a cold and windy Norfolk day. However everything else is pretty much legit. There was us, the little Challenger Crew, with our picnic chairs from a recent show somewhere, just sitting quietly behind the Hellcat, waiting for the first runs, and all around us it looked more like Monza, groups of people changing onto slicks, taping every panel gap, reprogramming ECU's, filling with high octane race fuel and generally looking to strangle every last horse out of their engines. Some of these cars even arriving on Trailers, already race prepared. The event organisers were very good, there were toilets, some onsite catering (a bit too little for the numbers that turned up) and even a mobile tyre man, who even let us borrow his pneumatic jack (must get me one of them)
So after the drivers briefing and the sighting run, the cars started to do their runs, mostly in pairs, unless of course someone didn't want to play nice. For the majority of the day the pre-booked cars took turns, some doing their run coming back and joining the back of the queue, whilst others did their run and returned to the 'pit crew' for further tweaking. A few moments after each run the timing beacon would return the times to the starters hut where the times were recorded. At one stage the Hellcat was running 5th overall with a top speed of 188mph. Given that there were upwards of 60 cars on the day, i thought that was pretty good.
After a sausage butty and a drink for lunch, further runs, although the temperature started to drop, the Porsches seemed to thrive with the magic 200mph breached on several occasions by several of them. The fastest being a staggering 225mph They were in a class of their own, although i have since learned from a trusted source that it can cost about $10,000 to gain that extra second, so the magic 200 is not a cheap goal to reach.
The Hellcat managed 7 runs in total, and finished about 12th overall (with a 189mph) and top of the stock cars on the day. It beat all the supercars costing 3 or 4 times as much and for a 'redneck' supercar weighing over 4000lbs, that ain't bad for a hunk of muscle!!
Graeme tells me that the Hellcat won't be stock next year and that the high 190's should be possible and who knows, if the weather is just right, the holy grail maybe possible??