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Mopar’s new Funny Car looks more like a Dodge Charger Hellcat

by David Zatz on

The next-generation Dodge Charger Funny Car, with over 10,000 horsepower, will run for the first time this weekend at a National Hot Rod Association (NHRA) event.

Racing car and production Hellcat Charger

Two-time Funny Car world champion Matt Hagan, driving for Don Schumacher Racing, will pilot the first runs; his team-mates (Jack Beckman, Ron Capps, and Tommy Johnson Junior) will move to the new body during the 2018 season.

The car looks more like the supercharged, 707-horsepower Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat, the quickest, fastest and most powerful production sedan in the world; but it’s still a race car that surpasses 330 mph and covers a thousand feet in less than four seconds.

The bodyside scallops more closely track those of the Hellcat cars; the deeper character lines also mitigate the “body burn” from the exhaust headers, a problem for all Funny Cars. The nose was tweaked, and a new carbon-fiber-and-Kevlar splitter mimics the look of the production car’s splitter, while increasing downforce; and new graphics simulate the Hellcat grille, badging, air extractors, and hood scoop.

The burst panel is now centered over the top of the engine, more efficiently releasing energy and pressure in the event of engine issues (which are common in race cars that are pushed to the razor’s edge of performance).

Developing the Charger SRT Hellcat Funny Car body took over a year of cooperation between Don Schumacher Motorsports in Indianapolis and  FCA in Auburn Hills, Michigan, with the teams working from creation of the original body mold to track testing.  Don Schumacher (a Dodge Charger Funny Car driver in the 1960s) said, “It’s been a great project, working together with Mopar, Dodge//SRT, DSR, and DSM to get the whole project finished and done in this period of time.”

The current Mopar Dodge Charger R/T race car was launched at the dragstrip in 2015, and has racked up 50 wins to date, including back-to-back wins by Hagan, and 42 runner-up finishes. Ron Capps claimed his 2016 NHRA Funny Car World Championship in the Charger R/T body.

Hagan, who has spent ten years piloting Mopar-powered Charger drag cars, added that “It was already a great design, a great body. But now, we’re going to have a little more downforce, a little more traction on these racetracks and it will be a huge performance advantage.”

fluid dynamics

The first public run of the Mopar-powered car will be at the “Dodge Mile-High NHRA Nationals Powered by Mopar at Bandimere Speedway” near Denver on July 20-22. The car itself will be revealed this afternoon, during a pre-race press conference.

The new body was only going to be used briefly this weekend, but Hagan said that after test runs in Ohio, “We put the body through a lot of different things and were really, really pleased with it. I really think it’s going to translate over to performance on the race track, and hopefully more win lights in the future.”

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