Gloversville, New York, United States
NASCAR's Nationwide Series may have switched (in appearance anyway) to muscle cars, but American racing fans know that if they want to see real muscle cars on the street circuits, the only place to look is Trans Am. The all-American racing series is packed with Mustangs, Camaros and even Corvettes. The one thing it's been missing is the Dodge Challenger, but now SRT Motorsports has announced it's bringing its muscle car back where it belongs.
Rather than waiting until next year, the Miller Racing team is switching mid-season to the new Dodge Challenger SRT Trans Am racer you see here, just in time for this weekend's race at Mid-Ohio. And not just that - it's lined up a compelling pair of drivers to pilot it, as well.
The No. 11 car will be driven by Trans Am legend Tommy Kendall, a four-time series champion who's been off the grid since 2004. Backing him up in the No. 1 Challenger will be none other than Cameron Lawrence, the driver who has won five out of six races in the Chevy Camaro so far this season, losing out only once to American racing scion Adam Andretti.
Hot on the heels of Ford's earnings announcement for the year that was, Chrysler today reported a 2012 net income of $1.7 billion, up substantially from the comparatively minuscule $183 million profit earned in 2011 when it repaid its US government loans.
Chrysler's good year ended with an excellent fourth quarter that saw net income rise 68 percent from $225 million in 2011 to $378 million. Where are all those extra earnings coming from? Market share, which Chrysler saw increase to 11.4% last year on sales of 1.65 million vehicles. In fact, the Auburn Hills, MI-based automaker out-paced the industry's market growth of 13 percent last year with sales up 21 percent for the year.
The company also revealed an updated product plan for its Chrysler Group and Fiat brands that looks all the way out to 2016. It's an updated version of the plan introduced in 2009 shortly after Fiat took control of the American automaker, and includes such new additions as an Alfa Romeo model, likely the 4C, to be introduced in the US this year, as well five more Alfa models by 2016. Likewise, Fiat will be growing by an additional seven models in the coming few years.
In Autoblog's recent First Drive of the 2015 Challenger SRT with the 707-horsepower Hellcat V8 we found its engine to be as brutally powerful as the numbers would suggest, even if it wasn't the best handler. However, the muscle-car-styling just isn't right for some buyers that need four doors and proper rear seats to haul around the family. It appears that Dodge has their backs, though, because the Hellcat is very likely on its way into the Charger in the near future. Imagine the looks on your passengers' faces when you stomp down on the throttle.
According to Road and Track, when Dodge submitted the Hellcat for engine power certification to the Society of Automotive Engineers, the company included the Charger on the paperwork. That showed that the automaker wanted the engine checked out for the sedan, too. R&T reckons the 707-hp Charger would hit the road about a year from now, clearing the Challenger for a year of exclusivity with the powerplant.
When the Charger SRT Hellcat does hit the road, it may carry a very special accolade. Assuming nothing beats it in the meantime, it might be the world's highest horsepower production sedan. Think on that for a second. Even a Mercedes S65 AMG only has 621 horsepower, though a good bit more torque at 738 pound-feet to the Dodge's 650 lb-ft. So while the beastly engine is getting put into other models, where else would you like to see it? The Ram? Grand Cherokee? Let us know in Comments.