We ended up with a few 13.0 runs and a best of 12.94 at 112.58. It took a little longer than we anticipated to find the sweet spot for launching. As always, more time would have equaled better e.t.’s. In the end, our best run came from revving the 5.0 to approximately 3,200 rpm, and by releasing the clutch smoothly and rolling the throttle to the floor, rather than smashing it open. Drag radials and 3.73s would have gotten us in the 12.50s or 12.60s, based on the mph.
The Ford SVT Raptor is without question one of the ultimate street-legal go-fast off-road rigs you can buy and hit the dirt in. While the Raptor is incredibly fast in the desert, it leaves plenty to be desired on the table. Contrary to keyboard racers, the Raptor is not a Trophy Truck, but it was built to race—in fact, it did just that back in 2008 at the 41st SCORE Baja 1000. Of course this means that improving upon the performance of the Raptor is quite an uphill battle if you still want the truck to have decent road manners.
Not even the buttoned-up PR guys at Ford and GM could deny the performance value of last year’s SRT-badged 392 Core Challenger. Its 470hp 392 Hemi and $44,000 MSRP delivered performance in spades while wrapping its driver and passengers in class-leading comfort. But Dodge was just getting warmed up.
Once in Fourth, all that’s left is to ride it out. With 3.73 and a few mods, it may be necessary to upshift one more time into Fifth. This always makes us nervous because we don’t want to mess up the last shift, plus Fifth gear can be fragile and we don’t want to break the trans. Our test car did not require shifting into Fifth, but we’ve had to do so in 2011-2014 5.0 Mustangs.
Just remember, the burnout prepares the tires for launch, nothing more, nothing less—and your first launch will give you the most traction. For that reason we don’t recommend dry hops or practice launches once you’ve done your burnout. Simply engage First gear, roll up slowly, prestage, and STOP!
The driving experience is not altogether different than Hellcat. In fact, the first third of throttle travel feels more alert and aggressive than the more powerful SRT. Moreover, full-throttle shifts sound like artillery going off with the Scat Pack’s Hellcat-inspired active exhaust system. The power comes on quickly, and when gears are shifted manually through the steering wheel paddle shifters, you better be on your game—the rev-limiter comes up quick in the first few gears. Pulling away from the intersection, you’ve got to be ginger with the gas pedal, as the tires will erupt with squealing and chirping during what we’d call normal driving.
The suspension is a little on the stiff side but that’s to be expected in a car that is setup for the track. Trust us, you wouldn’t want a floaty suspension with 650hp on tap. Speaking of suspension, Shelby has really done their homework with the Shelby GT as we were able to carve around more than a few corners at speed while the car gripped the tarmac and took it like a champ.
We use the release-pause-release method, and it works really well. Let us explain. Since you don’t have a huge sidewall (like slicks have) to absorb the initial “hit” during launch, you’ll need to create a buffer to absorb the initial movement at the tires. If you don’t have a buffer, you’ll just spin. When it’s time to go, release the clutch quickly, but controlled. Then, just as the car is transferring weight, pause your left leg for a moment.
Dimensionally, the new Camaro is slightly trimmer in all exterior dimensions and notably in a nearly 2-inch reduction in wheelbase but the overall effect is more dramatic, particularly with almost fastback profile. It simply looks lean and taught.
Also, keep the rpm steady, as this will keep the Traction-Lok rear engaged properly. Floating the throttle can cause the dreaded one-wheel peel. Once you have the tires clean and warm (you can see if they are smoking by aiming your side mirrors at the rear tires), drive out of the burnout under power. This helps get rid of any residual water, and it’s fun.
At Mopars at the Strip, Hot Rod magazine had a similarly optioned automatic Scat Pack Charger, and ran a 12.87/107. That’s quick for any car, let alone one that tops the scale at over two tons. Our curiosity led us to the Dynojet chassis dyno at Kenne-Bell Performance, where we put our 2015 Scat Pack Challenger on the rollers. The press-fleet example put out 434 hp to the wheels, which was 9 hp more than a bone-stock ’14 SRT 392 Challenger tested earlier on the same dyno by Kenne-Bell.
The time-honored question car enthusiasts often ask is undoubtedly, “What will it run?” Meaning, how quickly can a given car cover the quarter-mile. Drag racing is universal and allows us to compare cars and driver skill no matter where in the world the car is raced. Sure, a great ’Ring time is important, but how many of us will travel to Germany to race? Going quick in the quarter (or eighth-mile) requires a favorable power-to-weight ratio, good traction, and some driver skill. With the 2015 GT, you get 435 ponies and the weight is about 3,750 pounds. So, what will it run and how will the IRS perform on the strip?
More on all of them below, but it’s worth noting for anyone having philosophical reservations about a four-cylinder Camaro that at 275 horsepower, it’s more powerful than any small-block V-8 offered between 1972 and 1992 and at 335 horses, the new V-6 flat-out trumps every small-block from 1967 to 2002. Progress can be a wonderful thing.