If you’re following all the great features on DodgeGarage.com, you’ll recall our spotlight on racer Kevin Wesley and his preparation for a Pike’s Peak victory in his specially modified 2018 Dodge Challenger SRT® Hellcat Widebody. Sporting a supercharged HEMI® under the hood, Wesley has been hard at work getting the car prepared with various chassis, braking and safety enhancements needed for his all-out assault on the mountain. But before the Challenger heads to the basecamp at Pike’s Peak, it needed to have a shakedown session to get the suspension dialed-in.
The seasoned racer he is, Wesley loaded up the Challenger SRT Hellcat Widebody and went down to the legendary Mid-Ohio Sports Car course to compete at the fifth annual Gridlife TrackBattle Time Attack season opener. Rather than wheel-to-wheel racing, it’s a competition against the clock to see what cars and what teams are fastest over the course of a weekend. With the event open to all advanced and expert drivers competing in all makes and models, with various engines and chassis layouts that include classes for Rear-Wheel Drive, All-Wheel Drive and Front-Wheel Drive. There are also four vehicle categories ranging from minimally modified street cars to nearly unrestricted high-horsepower builds with complete aero packages.
With the weather not cooperating, Wesley wanted to log as much track data as possible on the Challenger SRT Hellcat Widebody before the rain came and turned the Mid-Ohio race track into a wet skid pad. He knows that every lap is critical on a new racecar in making the proper adjustments. With only one lap on the new car, Wesley’s efforts were rewarded.
“We were excited, as this was the first time a completed car has been to the track. Because of the weather, we only had one practice to shake the car down and make sure everything was put back together correctly and safe as we only had one dry session to set fast time for the weekend,” said Wesley. “Since the chassis was untuned, we had a round of shock and pressure adjustments to make for the next session, but was rained out. Therefore, we just kept the Challenger in the garage to save it for Pike’s Peak since rain would not set any faster laps than the single dry session.”
Many of the mods to Wesley’s SRT Hellcat Widebody include engine enhancements to the already potent 6.2L supercharged HEMI. These are American Racing Headers with 3” exhaust, ATI damper and a steady diet of Ignite E85 fuel specifically for the high altitude of Pike’s Peak. The power has been increased to 850-plus horsepower going through the factory ZF 8HP90 8-speed transmission. Hauling the big cat down from triple digit speeds are Viper ACR Brembo Front Brake Calipers and OEM Hellcat Brembo Rear Calipers with OEM Hellcat Rotors on all four corners.
“We finished second in class and 6th overall at our first event with the Challenger without pushing it real hard. The car is fantastic and the power is awesome with the chassis being well balanced,” said Wesley. “The automatic trans makes the car very easy to drive quickly and the tires are not too big and provide great front grip and the rears plant hard on exit. The rear wing also gives the car some much needed rear downforce to offset the weight on the nose. We will continue to test and refine chassis setup and do more calibration before the next event.”
The next outing for the Track Attack Challenger SRT Hellcat Widebody to carve some corners and turn in fast lap times will be the Global Time Attack event at Road Atlanta, May 11-12. Here, Wesley and his crew will once again fine tune the car before it makes the Broadmoor Pike’s Peak International Hill Climb assault in June.
(Photo Credit: Wesley Motorsports and Peter Emslander at thyssenkrupp Bilstein of America)