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Demon: beefed up for the track

by Patrick Rall on

Drag racing can be tough on a car; driveline parts tend to break under extreme conditions. The most commonly destroyed items in any drag car are the driveshaft, rear differential, and the axle shafts; so the 2018 Challenger SRT Demon team has beefed up each one, compared with the Hellcat, to handle the abuse of repeated drag strip launches.

The driveshaft of the 2018 Dodge Challenger SRT Demon is made  of high strength steel, with tube walls 20% thicker than the normal Hellcat’s. It can safely send 15% more torque to the rear wheels.

Once the Demon’s power passes through the driveshaft, it enters a new rear differential, which is stronger inside and out. The case is made out of heat treated A383 aluminum alloy; inside it are higher strength components, to handle 30% greater torque levels.

After the rear gears, power goes to the Demon’s lightweight wheels by means of 41-spline half shafts, made of a high strength alloy that can handle 20% greater torque levels.

When the sticky Nitto tires grip, the 2018 Dodge Challenger SRT Demon’s tremendous power stresses the driveline. These stronger components will help Demon owners make lots of hard launches without breaking something behind the transmission.

Next, engineers turned their attention to one of the most common problems for high performance cars with independent rear suspensions — wheel hop. Wheel hop occurs when a tire quickly loses traction; it spins a bit and often causes the rear suspension to shudder a bit..or hop. This both slows the car down, and can cause massive destruction to the driveline components. For that reason, the new Launch Assist system on the 2018 Challenger Demon uses the wheel speed sensors to detect a loss of traction, and pull some  power from the wheels to prevent damage.

When you combine these “race hardened” parts, the 2018 Dodge Challenger SRT Demon will be far more durable than the Hellcat Challenger; and the new Launch Assist system will make it a bit easier to get away from the line for more novice drivers.

Finally, to make it easier to install a racing harness, Dodge worked with Speedlogix to develop a four-point safety bar which bolts in behind the front seats. The Demon comes without a rear seat, so this harness bar bolts in place without cutting or drilling, making it easier to make the car safer for the track.

Patrick Rall was raised a Mopar boy, spending years racing a Dodge Mirada while working his way through college. After spending a few years post-college in the tax accounting field, Patrick made the jump to the world of journalism and his work has been published in magazines and websites around the world.


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