We've updated our previous article with new information about the catastrophic failures caught on video.
Update: The folks over at The Drive did some extra digging on the rather shocking video above. The clip was shot during a large Demon-only event at Houston Raceway Park; 42 bone-stock cars and five modified models showed up and the track had extensive prep to provide drivers the best possible conditions for launching hard. As for the Demons featured in the video, one was stock and one was modified to make 1,000 horsepower at the rear wheels.
Failures do happen in the world of high-horsepower racing, but The Drive still says high-level Dodge executives are looking into this potential issue. After all, 840 horsepower is useless if you can't put it to the ground. See our original article below.
We've all heard Uncle Ben's immortal words: "With great power comes great responsibility." Given the fact that anyone with enough cash can now buy an 808-horsepower muscle car straight off the showroom floor, that statement has never rung truer.
This isn't just another story about Dodge Challenger SRT Demon owners wrecking their cars on the street, though: these guys did everything right and took it to the track. Unfortunately, that's when things went very wrong for them. Thanks to the proliferation of high-speed cameras, we can watch disaster strike in agonizing, slow-motion detail.
In this case, it's not the drivers at fault, but the drivetrain. It's one thing to build an engine that pumps out 808 horsepower. It's another struggle entirely to build a transmission and differential capable of handling that power, putting it to the ground, and living to tell about it.
Adding sticky racing slicks to the equation can multiply that stress, with reduced wheelspin and increased grip adding more shock to the drivetrain at launch. That crucial moment is when the drivetrain experiences the most stress. As you can see in this YouTube video from Nick Olson (Olsons Ecoboost), on at least two separate occasions, the differential couldn't handle it.
The grey Demon seen first in the clip seems to get off to a good start, with a strong launch that sends the heavy front end skyward. That's followed immediately by a violent shake from the rear axle that sends ripples through the entire car as the front end slams back down to earth. Then, finally, we see the carnage: the shattered remains of the rear differential, splattered in greasy chunks on the track surface.
The second video – starring an orange Demon this time – is more of the same, but from a different angle that shows the entire back half of the car shake violently as the differential explodes. The trunk, exhaust, gas cap, and rear bumper all seem to make an effort to abandon the sinking ship as the rear end lets go. In fact, the exhaust is actually bent by the shattering gear set, a testament to the tremendous forces at work.
However, as with any platform, the aftermarket will be more than happy to step in, supplying stronger drivetrain components for dedicated racers with deep enough pocketbooks. Until then, enjoy the carnage.
Source: Nick Olson/Olsons Ecoboost on YouTube, The Drive