Viper ACR V Hellcat Challenger
Patrick Rall's picture

Poorly Driven Viper ACR Loses 1/2-mile Race against Hellcat Challenger

The Dodge Viper ACR is the most track capable American production car on sale today and the Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat is the most powerful muscle car ever, but what happens when the two go head to head on a half mile airstrip?

Since the Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat hit the street with 707 horsepower and 650lb-ft of torque, the internet was quickly chock full of videos showing the most powerful muscle car ever beating all sorts of competitors – from muscle cars to supercars. However, many of these races take place on the street in questionable conditions, so we are left wondering what the 707hp Mopar muscle car will do against a supercar in a specified racing area.

Fortunately, the folks at Yahoo Autos found this video of the Hellcat Challenger racing against the new Viper ACR on a ½ mile airstrip in a wicked top speed battle and the results are a bit different than what you might expect – although the drivers played just as big of a part in this race as the two high performance Dodge brawlers.

Viper ACR VS Hellcat Challenger
The Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat has a supercharged 6.2L Hemi with 707 horsepower and 650lb-ft of torque with a curb weight around 4,500lbs. This particular Hellcat Challenger is fitted with the quick-shifting 8-speed automatic transmission and unspecified “bolt-on” modifications that are too vague to guess. Depending on which bolt-on modifications are in use, the output of this Hellcat could easily reach into the 1,000hp range, but we are left guessing in this case.

On the other hand, the 2016 Dodge Viper ACR is powered by a 8.4L V10 delivering 645hp and 600lb-ft of torque through a 6-speed manual transmission and, unlike the Challenger, this Viper seems to be stock. The advantage, in theory, is that the Viper ACR weighs just under 3,400lbs, so while it packs at least 62 less horsepower and 50lb-ft less torque, it is also at least a thousand pounds lighter.

Now, if you compare a stock Hellcat Challenger to a stock Viper ACR, the Challenger has a power to weight ratio (707hp, 4,500lbs) of 6.36 pounds per horsepower while the Viper’s power to weight ratio is a svelte 5.27 pounds per horsepower. Based on that figure alone, the Viper in stock form should be able to outrun the Hellcat Challenger on a long run when everything else is equal. The problems are that in this case, the Hellcat has modifications that could most certainly even out the power to weight ratio, the Hellcat car has an additional advantage with the 8-speed automatic transmission and – most importantly – the Viper has a fairly lousy driver.

Really, while this could have been a great head to head, side by side, top speed battle, the race was over as soon as it began. The Hellcat Challenger got out to a decent start while the Viper ACR eased away from the line as gently as possible. While I understand that this isn’t a quarter mile drag race and the starting line launch isn’t everything, I have driven the new Viper and I can safely say that even on untreated track surfaces, the Viper offers solid enough traction to get away from the starting line better than this.

The Hellcat could have also gotten away from the starting line a little quicker, but the Viper’s miserable launch pretty much gave the ½ mile race to the Challenger. Even as the two made their way down the track, it is evident that the Viper driver is not particularly skilled and as a result, the supercar isn’t even able to close at the end of the track.

While the starting line advantage gave the easy win to the Hellcat Challenger, the top end numbers show that the Viper would have needed a much longer track to beat the muscle car. At the line, the Challenger was moving at 156.5 miles per hour while the Viper was “only” going 151.1mph – so the Viper wasn’t closing on the top end. Had the Viper gotten off of the line a little quicker, or had the driver gotten through the gears a little more smoothly, the ACR might have been able to post a big enough top speed to outrun the Challenger, but in this case – the big muscle car takes the big win.

What does this all mean? Well, if you have a Hellcat Challenger with some “bolt-on mods”, which many do, there is a good chance that your 4,500lb muscle car will outrun Dodge’s nastiest snake – particularly if the Viper is driven by someone who doesn’t know how to launch of shift.

Cranks about the Viper driver aside, this video still presents a unique chance to watch America’s most track-capable production car take on America’s most powerful muscle car, so crank up your speakers and enjoy!

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