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Speed Demon: Dodge Claims Title of Fastest Production Car

*See photos by clicking the photo gallery below

Dodge just introduced the 2018 Challenger SRT Demon, an 840-horsepower production vehicle that records a 9.65-second quarter-mile, at the New York International Auto Show.

Quick points on the car from Dodge:

  • 840 horsepower and 770 pounds-feet of torque from supercharged 6.2-liter HEMI Demon V8 engine
  • Highest horsepower V-8 production car engine ever produced
  • First-ever front-wheel lift in production car (2.92 feet) as certified by Guinness World Records
  • World’s fastest quarter-mile production car with an elapsed time of 9.65 seconds and 140 mph as certified by NHRA
  • Challenger SRT Demon is too fast for the drag strip – officially banned by NHRA
  • World’s fastest zero to 60 mph production car: 2.3 seconds
  • zero to 30 mph in 1 second
  • Highest g-force acceleration of any production car: 1.8 g
  • Air-Grabber induction system includes the largest functional hood scoop (45.2 square inches) of any production car
  • Larger 2.7-liter per rev supercharger; increased boost pressure to 14.5 psi
  • Higher rpm limit of 6,500

BONUS READING: Demon Custom Crate Loaded for Speed

Key Features

The Challenger SRT Demon’s record-setting performance is the result of collaboration among the Dodge//SRT, design, engineering, powertrain and manufacturing teams inside FCA US. Every component of the street-legal car was scrutinized and optimized for weight, capability and durability on the strip.

The performance records flow from impressive list of street-legal production car industry firsts, according to Dodge, including:

  • Factory-installed wider, Nitto street-legal drag radials for improved grip, 40 percent more launch force compared with SRT Hellcat tires
  • Available Direct Connection engine controller calibrated for 100-plus unleaded high-octane fuel
  • SRT Power Chiller redirects air conditioning refrigerant to chill the charger air cooler
  • After-Run Chiller runs the cooling fan and the low-temperature circuit coolant pump after engine shutdown
  • TransBrake locks the output shaft of the TorqueFlite eight-speed automatic transmission to hold the car before launch, allowing the driver to increase engine rpm for higher torque and quicker response
  • Torque Reserve boosts engine air flow and supercharger rpm before launch, delivering wickedly fast acceleration
  • Drag Mode suspension tuning maximizes weight transfer to the rear wheels for better traction
  • Drag Mode Launch Assist uses wheel speed sensors to watch for driveline-damaging wheel hop at launch and in milliseconds modifies the engine torque to regain full grip and then continues accelerating the car down the track
  • Available narrow front runner wheels for use at drag strips cuts front-end weight
  • Wide-body exterior styling, with concealed wheel well attachments house Challenger SRT Demon’s massively wide 315/40R18 tires
  • Front passenger seat and rear seat deleted to reduce weight (can be optioned back for $1 each) 

Production of the limited-edition single model year Challenger SRT Demon begins later this summer, with 3,000 vehicles for the U.S. and 300 vehicles for Canada. Deliveries to Dodge//SRT dealers will begin this fall. 

Dodge has named Hagerty as its official insurance provider of the Dodge Challenger SRT

Demon Heart

The supercharged 6.2-liter HEMI Demon V8 engine has been certified to the SAE J1349 industry standard for its horsepower and torque ratings. The engine also meets all applicable legal emissions regulations. 

While the Demon V-8 shares its architecture with the 707-hp 6.2-liter supercharged HEMI Hellcat V8, it is not simply a Hellcat engine with more boost. The Demon V-8 engine has 25 major component upgrades from the Hellcat engine, including supercharger, pistons, rods, valve train and fuel injection system.

Among the changes, compared with the Hellcat V8, the Demon’s supercharged V8 features:

  • Larger supercharger: 2.7 liters versus 2.4 liters
  • Increased boost pressure: 14.5 psi versus 11.6 psi
  • Higher rpm limit: 6,500 rpm versus 6,200 rpm
  • Fuel: Two dual-stage fuel pumps versus one
  • Larger induction air box with three sources of intake air: Air-Grabber hood, driver-side Air-Catcher headlamp and an inlet near the wheel liner

In addition, the HEMI Demon V-8 includes a high-speed valvetrain, strengthened connecting rods and pistons, and improved lubrication system. The upgrades enable the engine to sustain higher output and pressures while meeting FCA US LLC’s stringent durability requirements.

One key to the Challenger SRT Demon’s best-ever power output is air—the supercharged Demon V-8 takes in plenty of it. The SRT Demon’s Air-Grabber hood includes the largest functional hood scoop (45.2 square inches) of any production car.

The Air-Grabber hood is sealed to the air box, which is also fed from the driver-side Air-Catcher headlamp and an inlet near the wheel liner. Combined, those sources give the Demon V-8 an air-flow rate of 1,150 cubic feet per minute, 18 percent greater than the Hellcat V8 and the largest air induction volume of any production car, according to Dodge. 

The additional air inlets help reduce the temperature of the intake air by more than 30 degrees Fahrenheit compared with the Hellcat V-8, which improves overall throttle response.

Performance 

The keys to unleashing the SRT Demon’s full performance fury are in the Demon Crate: Direct Connection Performance Parts include a new powertrain control module calibrated for the high-octane unleaded fuel and a new switch bank for the center stack that includes a high-octane button.

The SRT Demon leaves the factory with a powertrain control module configured for 91-octane premium unleaded pump gasoline, which delivers top level performance.

The switch to the Direct Connection controller enables the supercharged HEMI engine to extract the maximum power from the knock-resistant fuel at high pressures and optimum spark timing. Drag racers can anticipate improvements in elapsed times (ETs) and trap speeds with the high-octane fuel.

The Challenger SRT Demon is engineered to be able to run on a mix of 100+ octane and premium unleaded fuels without hurting the engine, but the high-octane function won’t activate if the combined fuel octane is too low. A message in the gauge display tells the driver the car will use the premium fuel calibration until the engine is shut off and restarted. 

The SRT Demon carries dual fuel pumps, larger fuel injectors and fuel lines that handle higher pressures.

Driveline

Driveline components have been upgraded to get all that power and torque to the rear wheels, on every run, according to Dodge.

Changes include:

  • Upgraded prop shaft with a 15-percent increase in torque capacity. The prop shaft uses high-strength steel. Shaft tube thickness increases by 20 percent and the stub shafts are heat treated for enhanced durability
  • The rear differential housing has 30 percent more torque capacity. The housing is made from heat-treated A383 aluminum alloy. New material for the gear set has higher fatigue strength, with a deeper case hardening depth and two-step shot-peening manufacturing process to increase compressive residual stress
  • The rear half shafts are larger in diameter; use a high-strength, low-alloy steel; and have 41 splines (up from 38), delivering a 20 percent increase in torque capacity. Eight-ball joints handle more torque, while reducing operating temperatures by more than 86 degrees Fahrenheit

Eliminating Wheel Hop

SRT engineers went digital to isolate and resolve one of the biggest challenges to clean launches and driveline integrity – wheel hop.

In simple terms, wheel hop happens when tires quickly slip and regain traction at launch, rapidly storing up and releasing energy in the driveline. These high torque spikes can quickly and severely damage driveline components—and up until now, the only solution was to back out of the throttle, according to Dodge.

Not with the Challenger SRT Demon. In a first for a factory-production car, the SRT Demon’s Launch Assist uses the wheel speed sensors to watch for signs that the tires are slipping/sticking. If slip is detected, the SRT Demon’s control module momentarily reduces engine torque to maximize traction almost instantly—without the driver having to lift. Launch Assist reduces loads in the driveline from wheel hop by more than 15-20 percent, dramatically reducing component damage.

More Traction, Less Weight

The main mission of the 2018 Dodge Challenger SRT Demon is to cover the quarter mile as quickly as possible. To do this, it combines the best of both mechanical and electronic tuning to deliver maximum launch grip while still maintaining precision directional control.

The Bilstein Adaptive Damping shocks have been tuned for drag racing, shifting as much weight as possible on the rear tires at launch for maximum traction. The weight transfer improves rear tire grip by 11 percent.

Mechanically, weight shift in the Challenger SRT Demon is aided by softening up some key suspension components. Those changes, compared with the Challenger SRT Hellcat, include:

  • Softer springs: 35 percent lower rate front/28 percent lower rate rear
  • Softer, lighter, hollow sway bars: 75 percent-lower rate front/44-percent lower rate rear

 When Drag Mode is activated, the front Bilstein shocks are set for firm compression and soft rebound damping, while the rear Bilstein shocks are set for firm compression and firm rebound damping.

That configuration is maintained as long as the car runs at wide open throttle. When the driver backs off the gas pedal, the system switches to firm compression and firm rebound front and rear for improved handling. 

Also during Drag Mode, the traction control system is disabled to enable the rear wheels to spin for a burnout, but the electronic stability control system remains engaged to help the driver with straight-line performance. 

In pursuit for every tenth of a second, engineers looked to cut as much weight as possible. The result: Equipment removed from the Challenger SRT Demon weighs more than 200 pounds.

How the weight was lost:

  • 58 pounds—removed from front passenger seat and belt
  • 55 pounds—removed from rear seat, restraints and floor mats
  • 24 pounds—removed from 16 audio speakers, amplifier and associated wiring
  • 20 pounds—removed trunk deck cover trim, carpeting, spare tire cover
  • 19 pounds from using smaller, hollow sway bars
  • 18 pounds—removed from mastic, body deadeners, insulators and foam
  • 16 pounds form using lightweight all-aluminum four-piston brake caliper and smaller, 360-mm two-piece rotor
  • 16 pounds from switching to lightweight wheels and open-end lug nuts
  • 4 pounds from switching to manual tilt/telescope steering column
  • 2 pounds—removed park sensors and module

Options

Buyers have the option to add back the front passenger seat, rear seats and trunk carpeting kit for $1 each. Other options include the Harman Kardon 19-speaker, 900-watt audio system, power sunroof, heated and ventilated leather front seats with heated steering wheel, painted Satin Black hood, or new painted Satin Black hood, roof and decklid package.

Seating configurations:

  • Driver seat only, premium cloth covered
  • Driver and front passenger seat, premium cloth covered
  • Driver and front passenger seat, Laguna leather and Alcantara suede covered
  • Driver, front passenger and rear seats, Laguna leather and Alcantara suede covered

The 2018 Dodge Challenger SRT Demon will be available 14 exterior colors: B5 Blue, Billet Silver, Destroyer Grey, F8 Green, Go Mango, Granite Crystal, Indigo Blue, Maximum Steel, Octane Red, Pitch Black, Plum Crazy, TorRed, White Knuckle and Yellow Jacket.  

All exterior colors are available with Satin Black hood, roof and decklid. 

Production of the 2018 Dodge Challenger SRT Demon begins later this year at the Brampton Ontario Assembly plant.   

Official Driving School of Dodge/SRT

All customers who buy new 2018 Dodge Challenger SRT Demon receive one full-day session at Bob Bondurant School of High-performance Driving. The Bob Bondurant School of High Performance Driving in Chandler, Arizona, is the Official High Performance Driving School of Dodge//SRT. All customers who buy a new model SRT will receive one full-day session of high-performance driving with professional instruction and time on the track as part of the Dodge SRT Package.