Mopar racers: Are they simply constructed other? | Articles

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Those that proudly power cars with the Mopar M appear to march to the beat of their very own drummer. Need an instance? How about 3 race vehicles from the SCCA Time Trials Nationals at NCM Motorsports Park?

An almost bone-stock, non-turbo Chrysler PT Cruiser.

A Dodge Durango SRT Hellcat.

A 1970 Dodge Challenger frame on a Viper chassis with a Hellcat engine.

We’re simply higher using, higher taking a look, general cooler folks,” says Robert Ellsworth, proprietor of the Challenger. “Once we roll into the paddock, everybody’s simply wishing they introduced a Dodge. We simply ooze cool.”

Mopar house owners won’t possess a lot humility, however a Mopar fan doesn’t simply love their very own automobile–they love different Mopars, too.

That’s candy,” Robert says of the PT Cruiser. “That’s a very good piece of engineering proper there. I don’t assume any person can hate at the PT Cruiser for what it’s–it’s a just right little automobile.”

Flower Energy: Chrysler PT Cruiser


Photograph by way of Tradd Slayton/Racing for ALS

Alan Lani sought after to move racing on the SCCA Time Trials Nats, so he borrowed his female friend Layla’s PT Cruiser. For those who’re pondering he had a extra standard time trials automobile within the works, assume once more: It was once every other PT Cruiser.

“For those who keep in mind when those got here out, they had been the most up to date factor going,” Alan says. “Then, more or less like Nickelback, they were given overplayed and overexposed. Then it turned into one thing that was once really easy to hate on.”

The detest for PT Cruisers didn’t deter Alan, clearly. He put in a couple of go-fast portions at the automobile Layla makes use of for her gardening industry. That incorporated urethane bushings, KYB struts, Hawk brakes and Kumho tires. Rather then that, and a couple of stickers, the automobile’s identical to what Layla makes use of, together with remnants of potting soil within the trunk.


Alan Lani. Photograph by way of J.A. Ackley.

“Layla’s completely down with it,” says Alan. “That includes somewhat disclaimer. I requested her, ‘Aren’t you afraid if one thing occurs to it?’ Her reaction was once, ‘Neatly, you’re leaving your F-150 with me whilst you’re long gone. You get your truck again when I am getting my automobile again.’”

Hi there, it’s only a Ford, Alan. On the other hand, did Layla’s PT Cruiser live on the Time Trials Nationals? Sure. Was once it quick? No. A ways from it. It timed remaining, with a 2:58.492 lap.

“The automated transmission is an issue, so it doesn’t have detents, so you’ll be able to even manually shift,” Alan says. “This actual automobile has drum brakes within the again, nevertheless it’s Hawk blues up entrance on SRT4 calipers. I’ve were given like 90% of the brake bias within the entrance. The issue with this is that as you push the automobile more difficult and brake more difficult and later, it upsets the rear finish extra–it begins to sell off that rear axle.”

Alan hasn’t raced Mopars solely, however he encourages folks to power sluggish, unconventional race vehicles such because the PT Cruiser.

“It actually pushes you as a motive force to determine issues out,” says Alan. “I will be able to’t lean on energy. I will be able to’t lean on efficiency. Any good points have to return from me.”

One Lap and One Speedy Lap: Dodge Durango


Photograph by way of Tradd Slayton/Racing for ALS

What drives one to trace a Dodge Durango? Nowadays’s BMW M3.

“We’ve been operating BMWs for a very long time and when the brand new M3 got here out, the design was once simply terrible,” says Alex Shchipkov, who co-drives the automobile with Eric Campbell.

“Dodge introduced the SRT Hellcat in 2021, and mentioned it was once best going to be three hundred and sixty five days, so I figured I’d get one. I used to be at a marriage with a man who does One Lap, and began speaking about One Lap, so I were given one with out a choices. Just about rode again from the broker and began taking it aside.”


Alex Shchipkov. Photograph by way of J.A. Ackley.

Alex threw out all of the needless stuff from the internal. He then upgraded the suspension, brakes and tires. Rather then that, the Durango stays inventory.

“We weighed it initially of One Lap in 2022,” Alex says. “It was once about 600 to 800 kilos lighter than once we began.”

The Durango SRT Hellcat got here from the showroom at 5710 kilos. Alex says the Durango weighs about 4600 kilos now. Alex didn’t contact the V8 engine–it’s manufacturing facility rated at 710 horsepower. He did take away a muffler for the Time Trials Nats.

“Eric got here again in from his consultation and the [bumper] was once melting off,” says Alex of the experiment.

Hi there, that’s much less weight proper there. The Durango does be offering an advantage when touring from observe to trace on One Lap of The us.

“It was once strangely relaxed,” Alex says. “The a/c more or less works. On a scorching day, particularly within the passenger seat, you’ll be able to really feel the warmth coming in.”

As a observe automobile, appears to be like can also be deceiving. It completed the 2022 One Lap of The us twentieth of 84 vehicles, topping the truck/SUV elegance. Eric Campbell ran a 2:20 lap on the Time Trials Nats, hanging 52nd of 171 entrants.

“It’s strangely neatly behaved,” says Alex. “It doesn’t do the rest foolish. When it overheats, it begins doing bizarre issues, find it irresistible is going again to boulevard mode from observe or race mode.”

Rather then that, Alex says the Dodge Durango may well be actually a power to be reckoned with, if for just one factor.

“If there was once a method to cut back weight by way of 1000 kilos, it might be golden,” Alex says.

This Automobile has Fangs: Dodge Challenger


Photograph by way of Tradd Slayton/Racing for ALS

As Robert’s Challenger thunders onto the observe, onlookers describe it with phrases like “menacing,” “sinister,” and “evil.”

It’s as quick because it’s intimidating, too. Within the Tire Rack Final Monitor Automobile Problem, it positioned thirteenth, operating a time rivaling a Toyota Supra and beating a number of Corvettes. If others best knew the real chunk this automobile has beneath its pores and skin.

Sure, it’s a vintage Challenger, however that’s best skin-deep. Underneath this is a changed second-gen Viper chassis. Below the hood, a supercharged 6.2-liter Hellcat V8.

All 3 are established platforms. On the other hand, blending the 3 could be a problem for even skilled automobile developers. This was once the primary main automobile construct for Robert and his dual brother Ray and older brother Josh.

That they had some lend a hand from his in-laws, Heather and Mitch Janusch of Hemi AutoWorks (Hemi being a portmanteau in their first names) and the help of “their brother from every other mom” Bodey Melendrez of Hilltop Pace Store. However, that is new territory for those professionals, too.

The staff prolonged the Viper body so the wheels would line up with the Challenger’s frame. They widened the frame so it might have compatibility the Viper chassis.

So far as the ability plant, maximum Hellcat tuners paintings within the drag racing international. Robert estimates the Challenger is able to 1000 horsepower on the wheels due to its SDG Motorsports supercharger and ethanol gas.

“Making that [engine] paintings on a street direction is lovely freakin’ difficult,” says Robert. “We get numerous warmth problems. We’re pondering of dialing it down … to 700 to 800 horsepower on the wheel, and it’s far more than sufficient for what we do.”


Robert Ellsworth. Photograph by way of J.A. Ackley.

Weight-wise, it’s strangely simply 3200 kilos. On the other hand, it got here with rather the trouble to shed the ones kilos. The staff by no means sooner than made carbon fiber, however they did so with this automobile. That incorporated crafting a carbon-fiber hood and trunk, handmaking fiberglass doorways, and putting in polycarbonate home windows.

“It offers me numerous pleasure within the automobile,” says Robert of what his staff did to create the automobile. “We had been ready to place this in combination and it runs lovely dang just right. After we get it tuned in, it’s going to be a contender.”





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