The Dodge Challenger Drag Pak dominated the NHRA Factory Stock Showdown class in 2018, with Mopar Top Fuel driver Leah Pritchett claiming the title and setting a handful of records along the way. However, the introduction of the newest Ford Mustang Cobra Jet drag car has led to a tough 2019 season, but Mopar has the answer in the form of the fourth generation Challenger Drag Pak.
“Mopar and Dodge/SRT collaborated to make this factory production-based Challenger Drag Pak not only a forced to be reckoned with at the strip but also an instant collectable for Mopar enthusiasts,” said Mark Bosanac, Head of Mopar Service, Parts & Customer Care, FCA – North America. “Our legacy has been won at the track by the women and men who pour all they have into being the best. This new Challenger Drag Pak gives them the tools to stay in front of the competition.”
Like past Drag Pak models, the 2020 Challenger race car was formally introduced at the SEMA Show in Las Vegas and while this track-only muscle car is very similar to past versions, there are a handful of new features inside and out that give it a unique look while also giving it a better chance of knocking off the Mustang Cobra Jet drivers.
The Hellcat Look
The most obvious change for the fourth generation of the Challenger Drag Pak is the exterior styling. The Mopar team has added the front and rear fascia from the Hellcat models along with the hood from the 2015 through 2018 Hellcat cars, with a front-feed hood scoop and a pair of heat extracting vents on each side. Considering the popularity and success of the Hellcat Challenger, coupled with the air flow advantages of the hood and front fascia, making the move to style the Drag Pak after the supercharged street car is a smart move.
Next, Mopar worked with Weld Racing to develop a lightweight wheel package, including beadlock wheels out back and skinnies up front, all of which are wrapped in track-ready Mickey Thompson tires. Continuing with the race-ready theme, the 2020 Challenger Drag Pak also comes with wheelie bars and a parachute, both of which are integrated into the chassis design.
Finally (on the outside), the 2020 Challenger Drag Pak features a cool new red, white and blue livery with the Mopar logo and Drag Pak logo on the quarter panels, the 354 logo on the hood and an intricate striping package that runs along the sides and over the top of this 7-second quarter mile machine.
“We want this to look so cool that when the customer buys a Challenger Drag Pak he or she wants to run these graphics because they are so iconic and stand out,” says Mark Trostle, Head of Performance, Passenger Car and Utility Vehicle Design for FCA – North America. “Mopar people are proud of the heritage and the look and they want to show that off.”
Improvements Under the Skin
While the 2020 Dodge Challenge Drag Pak looks great, appearance really doesn’t make any difference, so Mopar put far more than just a new look into this race car.
The key upgrade for the fourth generation Drag Pak is a new Strange rear axle assembly, which features adjustable coilover shocks, four-link suspension and an anti-roll bar. Up front, the Drag Pak Challenger sports a unique cross member that allows the engine to sit a bit lower, which lowers the center of gravity along with improving weight distribution on a hard launch.
These suspension and chassis upgrades will allow race teams to tune-in more power while also allowing drivers to launch harder and more confidently. As a result, this should be a 7-second car out of the box, with proper tuning from the race teams and while the current Drag Pak competitors are running in the 7-second range, this fourth generation car should be even deeper into the 7s.
Like the current Challengers competing in the NHRA Factory Stock Showdown class, the 2020 Drag Pak is powered by a supercharged 354 cubic-inch Hemi and the power is sent to the new rear axle by means of a race-prepped T400 three-speed automatic transmission and a lightweight driveshaft. As is generally the case with these factory-built race cars, there is no official power rating, as that will vary based on how each owner tunes the car, but with very real 7-second quarter mile capabilities, these cars are delivering more than 1,000 horsepower.
Race Car Interior
Finally, while the interior is largely unchanged, the 2020 Dodge Challenger Drag Pak cabin features an SFI-approved roll cage that is good for runs as quick as 7.50 in the quarter mile. That cage is joined by a set of Racetech bucket seats with racing harnesses, but as you can imagine, niceties like the rear seat, the sound system and the HVAC bits have all been removed to reduce weigh.
Unfortunately, we don’t know how much the 2020 Dodge Challenger Drag Pak will cost when it goes on sale, nor do we know when it will actually go on sale. However, we do know that only 50 examples of this turnkey race car will be produced for 2020 and like all new Challengers, it will be built at the Brampton, Ontario plant.