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Trackhawk vs Hellcat Challenger: drag race

by Patrick Rall on

The folks from Hennessey Performance got hold of a 2018 Jeep Grand Cherokee Trackhawk. After making a baseline dyno run, they lined up the 707-horse super-SUV with a Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat.

In a battle of supercharged Hemi V8s, the all-wheel drive Jeep knocked off the muscle car in a quarter mile drag race. This comes as a surprise to some people, but it really shouldn’t.

Jeep VS Hellcat

A Tale of Two Hellcat Vehicles

If you are somehow unfamiliar with the specifications of these two vehicles, here is a quick rundown on the two Mopar monsters in action.

Both have the 8-speed automatic transmission (Challenger can also have a stick). The Hellcat Challenger packs 707 horsepower and 650 lb-ft of torque with a curb weight of 4,450 pounds. The Jeep Trackhawk packs the same 707 horsepower, but it “only” has 645 lb-ft of torque, with a curb weight of 5,350 pounds.

Thus, the Jeep has a touch less torque and it weighs some 900 pounds more than the Challenger, but it has a massive advantage with the high performance all-wheel drive system.

AWD allows the driver of the Trackhawk to hammer the throttle to the floor with confidence, as all four tires grip and get the big SUV to 60 in the mid-to-low 3-second range. On the other hand, the Hellcat Challenger can get to 60 in around 3.6 seconds, but that requires a great launch and unlike the Trackhawk – the ideal launch with the Hellcat cars can be tough to achieve.

The Trackhawk also has the Torque Reserve system that allows the supercharged Jeep to launch with far more initial torque than the Hellcat Challenger, but that system is not being used in this race. When one of the blown Jeeps uses that system, it does so via the Launch Control system, but we can hear this Jeep launch from idle or just above it.

In any case, it does not appear that the Trackhawk driver is using the brake-boosting system that the Challenger only offers in Demon trim. Had that system been used, this race would have likely been even more lopsided.

The Race

The drag race between the Jeep Trackhawk and the Hellcat Challenger is pretty much decided at the starting line. Even without the Torque Reserve/Launch Control system, the AWD system of the Jeep allows it to jump out to a big lead right from the start. The Challenger driver is forced to ease the car out of the hole, so while the Jeep is 900lbs heavier – the ability to launch it so hard gives the supercharged SUV a big early lead.

As the two Mopar machines head down the track, we can see that the Challenger begins to close the gap a bit as its aerodynamics and weight begin to play a bigger role at higher speeds. At speed, the Trackhawk’s AWD system doesn’t offer anywhere near as much help as it does on the launch, so in a highway roll race, the Challenger should have a much better shot at winning.

However, in this standing quarter mile drag race, the Jeep Grand Cherokee Trackhawk makes short work of the Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat.

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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