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Kevin Wesley talks Pikes Peak race cars, aftermarket support plans

by Patrick Rall on

There are arguably no modern Mopar road racing program that is better known than that of Wesley Motorsports. The team’s Bilstein-sponsored blue-and-yellow Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat Widebody race car has proven its mettle in the Pikes Peak Hill Climb and on the GridLife circuit. The team also campaigned a Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat Widebody at Pikes Peak, but rain prevented them from making a good run with the supercharged sedan. Of course, we learned after the fact that both of these cars were running upgraded engine parts that would be used on the Hellcat Redeye production models, but in the long run, Wesley Motorsports and team president Kevin Wesley are best known for showcasing the cornering ability of the modern Mopar muscle cars.

Unfortunately, many people assume that the cars that Wesley campaigns are heavily modified, especially in the case of the Challenger. With the big wing, front splitter, aftermarket wheels and tires and roll cage, it is often assumed that this car has been heavily modified from stock, but that isn’t the case. In fact, the Wesley race cars are less modified than many Hellcat cars that we see at the local drag strip, yet they are still shining bright in the road racing world.

We had a chance to talk to Kevin Wesley about the race cars and about his company’s upcoming aftermarket entry with suspension components that will help the Dodge Charger and Challenger perform better on the road course or the drag strip.

Wesley Race Car Details

First up, Kevin Wesley talked about the current race cars, including the familiar Challenger Hellcat Widebody and the newer Scat Pack Widebody. These are their most active race cars and these are the cars which many onlookers assume are heavily modified compared to a stock production road car, but that is not the case at all.

Both of these cars are very, very stock.  I can’t stress that enough.  Yes, they are wrapped and look racy.  Both have completely functional production electronics, full wiring harnesses, production glass, etc… They are not lightweight one-off built race cars,” said Wesley. He then went into the details on each of the Challenger race cars, beginning with the Hellcat that competed at Pikes Peak.

Pikes Peak Challlenger – Safety cage, interior removal of all the non-essential items and the door window glass has been pulled.  We still run all the stock dash and Body Controller with the production shifter and console.

The car is a Widebody Redeye with American Racing Headers, open exhaust and has been converted to run on Ignite E90 with a Radium/Fuel Safe 22 gallon fuel cell.  We run stock boost, no pulleys.  The engine has over 7,000 track miles and has never been apart, not an easy life.

For the suspension, we run a Bilstein Coilover Package and we are finally converting over to Poly bushings this season with AAD upper front control arms and a couple heim jointed rear arms for Toe adjustment. The front and rear cradles are locked out by welding tabs to the frame rails, nothing fancy.

Production 3.09 diff and limited slip. Production 8HP90 that we manually paddle shift. Brakes are usually Viper ACR Brembo calipers with Demon Performance lightweight rotors and Pagid RS1 pads.  Sometimes we will run production 6 piston Brembos and we also have an Alcon kit we run with 18″ wheels.  Wheels are generally 19×12.5″ Jongbloed 3 piece with anywhere from a 325/30/19 up to theViper ACR Rear 355/30/19.  All the tires and wheels fit without modifications and still running the production wheel liners.

Everyone can see the aero, but again it’s off the shelf parts.  Viper ACR-E rear wing and ACR-E front splitter.  Both have modifications to their mounting points to fit the Challenger, but are really just straight out of the Mopar replacement parts bin.

Depending on configuration, the car will range from 4,150 – 4,350 lbs.  The brake and tire package has a significant impact on final weight.  It’s heaviest with production rotors and the 355 tire, lightest with the Alcon brakes and the 18″ slicks.”

The list is considerably shorter for the Challenger Scat Pack Widebody race car.

Scat Pack Challenger – Bilstein Coilover Package, Jongbloed 19×12.5″ wheels with 325/30/19 Toyo R888R… that’s it. The car is still riding on the factory alignment it was delivered with and sometimes we will run an aftermarket pad, but mainly we run the OE pads.  The car weighed 4,274 when we picked it up and that’s how we currently run it.”

So for everyone who has been wondering what Wesley Motorsports has done to make their Challenger Hellcat and Scat Pack Widebody race cars so competitive, there you have it in full detail. Both cars are modified, but they both still run many production-level components.

Now, you may have noticed that Wesley references the Bilstein Coilover Package on both cars. That leads us into the next portion of this piece, as Kevin Wesley and his race team are using their track experience to offer a series of performance handling upgrades for the consumer market. Best of all, while their expertise is road racing, their suspension upgrades can help both road racers and drag racers.

Wesley Motorsports Shocks by Bilstein

The first big announcement from Wesley Motorsports is their shock offerings, which were developed with the folks from Bilstein.

There will be several variants of these offered with Road Race Valving and Drag Race Valving in each variant.

a) Non-Adjustable Steel Body for production-based springs (OE, Mopar lowering, Eibach, etc…)
b) Non-Adjustable Steel Body Coilover with optional coilover springs and top mounts
c) Double Adjustable MDS Steel Body for production-based springs (OE, Mopar lowering, Eibach, etc…) d) Double Adjustable MDS Steel Body Coilover with optional coilover springs and top mounts
e) Non-Adjustable Aluminum Body Coilover with springs and top mounts
f) Double Adjustable MDS Aluminum Body Coilover with springs and top mounts

All of these variants that are adjustable will be a manual adjustment (twist the knob) and nothing in this release will be an electronic variant.  We would love to do an electronic version of these products, but nothing is planned for production at this time.  Look for something in this area for 2021.

These products have all been thoroughly tested on our cars over the last 3 years.  The valve coding used in the all the variants were validated over many weekends racing on Road Courses, as well as many trips only a quarter-mile at a time.”

The ACME “Big Stick” Traction Enhancement Module

Next, we have one of the more interesting aftermarket upgrades we have seen in the Hellcat world, and that is the ACME “Big Stick” Traction Enhancement Module. This is a four-link full rear cradle replacement that uses the factory differential, axles, brakes and driveshaft while allowing far more rear suspension tuning.

The ACME “Big Stick” Traction Enhancement Module – Designed and built by ACME Hi-Performance Laboratories out of Statesville, NC, this is a completely new take on a bolt-in suspension system.  Wesley Motorsports approached ACME about installing a 4 link rear suspension in some of our Challengers to improve straight-line acceleration and corner exit power application.  The main premise behind that request, however, was to limit cutting up the cars as much as possible.  Preferably no cutting, since no one wants to touch off the welder on their brand new Redeye and that includes us!

With those simple requirements, ACME took the lead on the design and really knocked it out of the park.  We received the performance characteristics we desired in a package that is 100% bolt-in… no welding required.  The system maintains the factory ABS system and parking brake while utilizing your existing differential, half shafts, and brakes.  It’s packaged around the more robust 2015 and later ZF rear differential and 4 piston Brembo braking system.  It will allow Drag Racers that have converted to 15” wheels to utilize their aftermarket brake packages as well as aftermarket half shafts and 9-inch conversion differentials.”

It should be noted that while the Big Stick allows Dodge Challenger and Charger owners to use their factory differential, axles, brakes and driveshaft, ACME will sell the unit with the differential, axles and brakes installed, but to help keep costs down, racers can buy it without those items as well.

If you are interested in this unit, we suggest that you check out all of the details on the ACME website, where you can check out all of the options for the setup when ordering.

Wesley Motorsports Builds

Wesley Motorsports is currently working with all of their sponsors and suppliers to begin offering everything that they use on their own cars to Dodge Challenger and Charger owners who want to improve the handling or launch grip. In addition to Bilstein and ACME, Wesley plans to offer components from American Racing Headers, Jongbloed Racing Wheels, Radium Engineering, AAD Performance, Anderson Composites and Kumho Tires on their website. To sweeten the deal, Wesley also plans to begin doing installations at their shop in Michigan and as time goes on, they hope to launch a national dealer network.

One of their key marketing points, other than the on-track development experience, is free installation.

We are finalizing dealer agreements with all of our major sponsors and suppliers.  Our goal is to have everything that we run on all of our cars available from our site.  One-stop shopping, review what works and you’ll be able to order at the same time.  Our installation center will be up and running this winter for custom builds and package cars.  We will be trying to disrupt the market a bit with free installation offers on most of our parts.  With MAP pricing and internet shopping, parts “deals” are getting harder to come by.  Installation offers will hopefully allow us a leg up on the competition in the parts market and keep the lights on in the shop.”

In other words, if you want to go road racing with your Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat Redeye Widebody, you will be able to send the car to the Wesley Motorsports shop in Michigan where they will install the items that you purchase for free. Of course, you will have to pay for the components, but the installation labor is free and the end result will be a modern Mopar muscle car that offers world class handling and better grip on a hard pull.

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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