The Dodge Challenger has existed virtually unchanged since the rebooted third-generation arrived in 2008. That’s positively ancient in the automotive realm, but there’s no denying the big muscle car is still extremely popular among buyers. Credit goes to Dodge for keeping things fresh with numerous special editions offered through the years, but there’s never been a Challenger devoted to turning corners. That could be changing soon.
New rumors are afoot about the Challenger ACR, where ACR stands for American Club Racer. It’s a moniker very familiar to Mopar fans, as it adorned track-focused versions of the Viper for decades. It also was affixed to the sprightly front-wheel-drive Neon, creating a pocket rocket that to this day still has a reputation for being an exceptional machine when it comes to taming corners on road courses across America.
We first heard rumblings of a Challenger ACR last year but little information was offered. The new rumor comes courtesy of Allpar.com, which cites a reliable source as saying two different versions are being considered. One would use the naturally aspirated 392 Hemi good for 485 horsepower, while the other would get the 797-hp supercharged Hellcat V8 from the Challenger Redeye. With many racing series not open to supercharged vehicles, the 392 could be the choice mill.
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Regardless of the engine, a carbon fiber diet would slash weight from the portly muscle machine with a goal of getting it under 4,000 pounds. It would utilize carbon fiber components in many places, and it would wear aero components based strongly on the old Viper ACR, including the massive rear wing. Adjustable suspension and massive Brembo brakes would also be offered.
The rumor also says this wouldn’t be a mass-produced model with a few flashy tweaks and an ACR badge. Like previous ACR models, it would be a limited-run, hardcore offering aimed squarely at people who want to go racing. The last Viper ACR is reportedly a benchmark for the Challenger ACR, so it seems engineers are very serious in making the Challenger a contender against the likes of the Mustang Shelby GT500 and Camaro ZL1 1LE.
When might this corner-carving Challenger arrive? The new report doesn’t offer a timeframe, but rumors from last year said it could arrive in 2020 for the 2021 model year.