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Will 2021 Challenger ACR beat the best Mustang—and approach the Viper?

by David Zatz on

Longtime Allpar source “Muther” has been giving us the lowdown on the rumored Dodge Challenger ACR (American Club Racer).

Following the highly successful Neon ACR and Viper ACR, this car would have weight reductions, more aerodynamic work (to glue the tires to the track, not to reduce noise and increase economy), and better brakes, among other features. The car will carry much of the Challenger’s excitement until a completely new model is available—and, not surprisingly, that new model will come out later than expected.

2017 Dodge Viper ACR

There are reportedly to be two cars, most likely one using the 392 Hemi, with instant-on power, and one using the 797 horsepower 6.2 supercharged Hemi.  The supercharger is not allowed in some amateur racing series or classes, so the 392 makes sense. According to rumor, the car was benchmarked against the Viper ACR itself—which means that the aerodynamic work, not to mention suspension upgrades, must be fairly intense.

Carbon fiber will replace steel or aluminum wherever practical (which includes financially). The wing is reportedly straight off the Viper ACR-E, while the splitter is modified from the ACR-E design. Brakes would not surprisingly be from Brembo. The suspension would be similar to factory units, but altered so drivers could set the height, caster, and camber at the track, as well as shock damping and rebound. Shocks may be adapted from the Viper design, along with the brakes.

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As usual, SRT’s goal is for the Challenger to be raced; racers are the target customers. It’s not meant to be a daily driver; it’s more appropriate for towing in and racing, though it will be street legal.  Ralph Gilles, who races himself, takes that aspect seriously; and the car will be well developed when launched.

“Muther” claimed that the goal is to weight in below 4,000 pounds (curb weight); he estimated that, at Road America, it would be within  two seconds of the Viper ACR-E. What’s more, as with all SRT cars, it can maintain its speed for multiple successive laps, without overheating.

The car has its work cut out; the Mustang GT500 was just released to the press, and ran 10.6 seconds at 133 mph down an admittedly prepped drag strip, with its Tremec dual-clutch automatic (and fuel economy of just 14 mpg, combined). New versions of the mid-engine Corvettes are also promised at a rapid rate, though they’re not quite what the Challenger is going up against.

The ACR hold great promise, but they won’t change one thing about the Dodge Challenger: among the muscle cars, it has a fine combination of immediate power gratification, comfort, and space. If you need to, you can go from a race to pick up your parents at the airport… which is a bit harder to do with a Mustang, Corvette, or Camaro.


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