We all know the 2021 Dodge Durango SRT® Hellcat is one fast machine just by looking at the numbers: 0-60 in just 3.5 seconds as it rips down the quarter-mile in 11.5 seconds, all while topping out at 180 mph in the speed category. It’s no wonder this badass SUV earned the world’s most powerful SUV title. This is part of the reason the Durango SRT Hellcat was chosen as the perfect vehicle to lead over 70 entrants during this year’s One Lap of America.
For those of you unfamiliar with One Lap, it’s the ultimate road trip combining long journeys on highways and byways while competing in timed events at numerous racetracks along the way. And while this may not sound challenging, you must do it on the same tires and any weather conditions Mother Nature throws your way. No trailers are allowed on this trip unless you’ve broken down. Competitors must drive hundreds of miles between the events, race at the track and then pack up and head to the next track; and do it for eight straight days. Trust us, this event tests both man and machine.
While the Durango SRT Hellcat is considered to be a three-row muscle car sibling to Challenger and Charger, it can also haul a serious payload in a hurry. The icing on the cake is treating its occupants to a cabin filled with fine comfortable leather seating, soft touch points and the latest technology that keeps you connected to the outside world.
When the Durango SRT Hellcat showed up at the kickoff of One Lap of America, the officials immediately dropped the second- and third-row seats. The massive cargo area had no problem holding their timing equipment, printers, computers and large plastic totes filled with decals and paperwork. And while this beast’s performance rivals and exceeds that of many purpose-built racecars, its interior amenities feel as though the passengers are staying in a five-star hotel room and was perfect for Brock Yates Jr., the man who’s been the One Lap organizer for over 30 years. “The Durango SRT Hellcat was a lovely interstate assault vehicle,” smiled Yates Jr., as he led the pack of participants across the country. Both the Durango SRT Hellcat and Brock were in the groove on the highways and race courses during the week-long odyssey.
“The Durango Hellcat was very smooth and had a ton of power, it was the most photographed car I’ve been in for years, as everyone along the way took our picture,” noted Yates Jr. “It’s probably one of the fastest cars I’ve ever driven on One Lap. With the super-supportive seating and the quiet interior, you don’t realize how fast you’re going. That’s why I couldn’t wait to get it on some of the tracks we visited, to put the Durango through the paces. I was impressed as it hustled around the race course faster than some of the European sports cars I’ve driven.”
The Durango SRT Hellcat demands attention in every way, but the inside is what makes it stand out among rivals. Designers went all out creating a driver-friendly cockpit that includes any creature comfort you can imagine and the new SRT “smoke show” start-up animation is a pretty neat addition. The interior has been amped up a lot, changing the whole vibe of the Durango SRT Hellcat. From the door panels to the Uconnect® system, anything you could ever want or need is right at your fingertips.
Let’s talk SRT Performance Pages for a moment because whenever SRT is involved, performance is top of mind. The Durango SRT Hellcat allows the driver to specifically set up the engine and suspension tuning for track needs. This includes many race options and drive modes that can be activated or deactivated, depending on your mood and needs. The options will get you into Launch Control mode and other features that’ll make you a pro when you hit the drag strip or road course.
Although there weren’t any passengers in the Durango’s leather-covered second-row seats during the One Lap event, it would’ve been no big deal if someone lost the coin toss for shotgun riding privileges. There’s entertainment courtesy of Durango’s Blu-ray video rear-seat entertainment system that comes with two high-resolution 9-inch screens, one on each front seat back. Those in the second row can watch their movies on Blu-ray or standard DVDs or play their favorite gaming systems, so they’ll be just fine. Just remember to offer them something to drink and advise them of bathroom breaks along the journey.
While Brock Yates Jr. drove the Durango SRT Hellcat along the 4,000-plus-mile trek that is One Lap, I did have the opportunity to get behind the wheel of this mighty machine and bring it back to the Motor City. While the performance is staggering for a 5,000-pound SUV, it was surefooted as all four wheels remained firmly planted on the road surface.
The Durango SRT Hellcat not only had the most horsepower, but it also probably had the most luxurious and comfortable interior among all the competitors. And when you’re behind the wheel for over seven hours a day for over a week, it’s good to be in the One Lap of Luxury.