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Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat Widebody Does Well in C&D Lightning Lap

The folks from Car & Driver published the results of the 2018 Lightning Lap competition in this month’s issue of the magazine and the 2018 Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat Widebody finished in the middle of the pack – an impressive placement for a car that is often pinned as being nothing more than drag strip dominator.


It is no secret that the Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat is one of the best production cars ever when it comes to blasting down the quarter mile. Many owners have proven that with nothing more than sticky tires, the Hellcat Challenger can run well into the mid-10 second range and in factory-stock form, the supercharged Dodge muscle car runs in the low 11s with one owner cracking into the 10s with the stock rubber.

While the Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat is a beast on the drag strip, anyone who has spent any time with one on a road course will be quick to tell you that it is surprisingly capable in the twisties. Dodge has been quick to show this to the media during drive events, with the Hellcat Challenger, Hellcat Charger and the new Redeye all being tested by journalists on a road course. Sure, it is not a car designed to be the best at road racing, but with the new Widebody package, a car that is solid on a road course got even better.

With that in mind, Car & Driver included the Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat Widebody in their 2018 Lightning Lap competition and on the intricate VIR Grand Course, the supercharged Mopar muscle held its own.

Hellcat Widebody Lightning Lap
The crew from Car & Driver was able to get the Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat Widebody around the VIR Grand Course in 2:59.8. Within the LL3 class, which includes vehicles ranging in price from $65,000 to $125,000, the Challenger finished 4th out of 5 and 11th overall in the 21 car field.

The other cars in the Challenger’s class included the BMW M5 ($129,795), the Porsche Cayman GTS ($96,310), the Audi TT RS ($81,722) and the Audi RS5 ($91,000). Those numbers are all price-as-tested, while the Hellcat in use cost just $77,870, making it the least expensive car in a class that is comprised of vehicles known for their handling prowess.

In a class of cars said to be far more capable on a track with turns, all of which cost more, the Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat Widebody turned in a time in the same general range as the others. The BMW ran a 2:55.2, making it 4.6 seconds quicker than the Challenger and the Porsche was second in the class with a time of 2:56.7 – 3.1 seconds ahead of the Hellcat. The Audi TT RS ran a 2:58.5, 1.3 seconds ahead of the Dodge while the Audi RS5 was 4.1 seconds slower than the supercharged Challenger.

Historical Ranking
With a time of 2:59.8, the Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat Widebody ranks 77th over the course of the 12-year history of the Lightning Lap, tied with the Cadillac ATS-V, out of a total of 242 vehicles. That is well below the likes of the Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 1LE, but for a car designed to dominate the drag strip – one which is often accused of being incapable of handling turns – these results show that it is actually quite competent on one of America’s toughest race tracks.