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The Chrysler SRT team has returned to the One Lap of America week-long competition (as covered from the inside by the Mopar Action team). The series kicked off at the Tire Rack facility in South Bend, Indiana.
(Tire Rack is a sponsor, and all teams must use their tires). This year, over 70 competitors have entered.
In 2005, a Chrysler 300C SRT8, driven by engineer David Zelkowski and dynamics specialist Erich Heuschele, won its class; it beat 9 of 10 Porsches, 7 of 9 Corvettes, all
8 BMW M cars, Acura NSX-R supercharged race cars, Cobra Daytona Coupes, and all five WRX STis/Mitsubishi
Evos. Second place overall was taken by a Hennessey 650 Dodge Viper; fourth place by a Dodge Ram
1500 tube-frame racecar. The mid-priced class was won by Dan Seeley's Dodge SRT4 with Mopar Stage 3 engine and
Cyndy Yates called the head-on image (below) “the Cannonball shot;” she was striving to match the series' marketing graphic, which commemorates Brock Yates' (and Steve Behr's) run in a 1972 Dodge Challenger. Celebrating Yates' and Behr's run, the 2011 Challenger has large Hella spotlights up front and several graphic additions.
Ralph Gilles noted that "we’re looking forward to receiving some unique and real time feedback from such a grueling event." SRT engineers Erich Heuschele and Adam Forte's past experience may well have been used to refine SRT cars.
This year, they drove a stock 2011 Dodge Challenger SRT8, in the SSGT2 Big Bore class. It was Heuschele's sixth time and Forte's first race.
In the end, the SRT team’s 392 Challenger ended up in third place in the SSGT2 Big Bore class of the One Lap of America, behind two Roush Stage 3 Mustangs (the Stage 3 kit adds $16,800 to the price of the Mustang GT, plus labor, and presumably invalidates the warranty). The SRT team ended ahead of a pair of Mustang GTs, a 1989 Corvette, 2011 Camaro SS, and a 2006 Charger SRT8.
Overall, the SRT team ended in 14th place, ahead of the next two Mopars, both Vipers.
75 teams competed in 2011; Mopar Action, which won a previous One Lap in a hastily-prepped Plymouth Duster, was absent this year.
PAMoparMan wrote about the reasons for having a “One Lap of America” that only covers one region: “The event lasts one week and there are only so many miles that can be covered in that time. The route and visited tracks changes in order to keep each year's event unique.”
Following the opening round wet skid pad competition at the Tire Rack track on April 30, there was an autocross at Grissom Air Force Base, time trails at seven locations, and drag and bracket races in Gainesville, Florida. Events were held in Indiana, West Virginia, South Carolina, Florida, Louisiana, Alabama, and Illinois.
More Articles by Ray Alexander
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