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Hellcat Challenger quarter mile record drops to 8.05

by Patrick Rall on

The Epling family “007” Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat has done it again, resetting the quarter mile world record for a Hellcat car while inching ever-closer to the 7-second range. Back in April, Jason Epling drove the Challenger to an 8.15 with the wheels in the air and back then, Leon Epling believed that the car could get into the 7s in cooler air. However, the team isn’t waiting for fall to continue working towards being the first Hellcat car in the 7s and this past weekend, they nearly got there in August heat.

They aren’t quite in the 7s yet, but with an 8.05 at 173.5 miles per hour, the Epling Challenger is the quickest of its kind in the world by a comfortable margin. Thanks to the family hitting the track as a group, we have three different angles of that record run, all of which are included below.

Building the Record Car

I want to start by talking about what has gone into building a Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat that is nearly covering the quarter mile in the 7-second range. This is a Hellcat VIN car and when the Epling family began setting records a few years ago, it was done with many factory parts. However, as is the case with any big-power, record-setting car like the 007 Challenger, it has been heavily upgraded in just about every way.

Because of this, some people insist that it is no longer a Hellcat, but it has a Hellcat VIN and a Hellcat body, so while it is a heavily modified Hellcat Challenger – it is still a Hellcat Challenger. Claiming that a certain level of upgrades makes a car no longer a Hellcat is a slippery slope and we aren’t interested in determining where to draw that line, so with a Hellcat VIN, a Hellcat body, a Hellcat chassis and a whole lot of records with factory Hellcat parts a few years back, we believe that it is fair to credit Leon and Jason for their efforts in shooting for the 7s. After all, the Epling Challenger hasn’t had any real competition for the Hellcat record in quite some time, so when it comes down to it, this has been the quickest Hellcat in the world for years and with the big build, it still is.

Also, it should be noted that on these runs, Jason is going through 5 gears manually, with several of those gears coming and going with the front wheels in the air.

The Nuts and Bolts

Under the hood of the Epling Challenger is an Epling Garage/Hensley 6.2-liter Hellcat-based block that has been massaged out to 426 cubic inches (7.0 liters) and fitted with custom pistons. That big Hemi is equipped with a 4.9-liter Kenne Bell supercharger, Thitek cylinder heads sporting big valves a custom port job, Jesel rockers, a custom Comp Cam and the fuel is provided by a Holley EFI system similar to what the NHRA factory stock cars run, with help from 1,700cc injectors and dual Magnaflow fuel pumps. Leon Epling believes that with the current engine tune, this blown Hemi is making somewhere north of 1,500 horsepower on Q16 racing fuel, running a Snow Performance water injection system and a little nitrous oxide.

All of that Hemi power is sent to the rear wheels by means of a Liberty 5-speed manual transmission with a Ram triple-disc clutch and a Strange 9-inch rear differential. Bogart wheels wrapped in 2-inch Mickey Thompson drag radials put the power to the ground in a big way, allowing the Epling Challenger to lift the wheels and keep them up through 3rd gear.

Other upgrades include Strange brakes, Strange shocks, a Kirkley racing seat, a Shroud parachute and an MPR cage that is certified to 7.50.

8.0s with the Wheels Up

Now that the Epling Garage Hellcat Challenger is knocking on the 7-second range, they have the power, but they are working on suspension tuning. As you can see in the three videos here, the car is carrying the wheels way up in the air, as the beautiful wheelies ultimately slow the car down. These big wheelies are happening with low timing and low RPM on launch, but the wheels won’t stay down. As the team continues to tune and tweak the suspension to keep the front wheels down, they can launch the car harder and make more power earlier in the pass, which will almost certainly lead to runs well into the 7-second range.

Right now, running an 8.05 at 173 in August weather would easily lead to a 7-second run in October, but in running 8.0s with the wheels way up shows that the Epling Challenger can run in the 7s in the heat once the suspension setup keeps the wheels down. When that day comes, Leon and Jason both plan to make runs in the 7s, which will certainly make for a unique family moment.

Of course, when the Epling family Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat gets into the 7s, the information will be available here on Allpar.

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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