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Corvette Z06, Camaro Z / 28, Challenger Hellcat on the dragstrip

Hans-Dieter Seufert
Corvette Z06, Camaro Z /28, Challenger Hellcat
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D he street is wide and straight. Big block beats boom through the Californian midday heat: two US cars are lined up in a line. A Dodge Dart 413 Superstock and a Corvette Stingray. Your drivers briefly estimate themselves. One foot on the accelerator, the other on the clutch. Three two one! The flag falls, the muscle cars shoot out. The Corvette's slicks claw into the asphalt, but the 413 still gets better from the spot. A street race in broad daylight? That was in the 60s.

A good half century later, the Challenger Hellcat starts running. The street is also wide and straight, just not public. The world has changed since the wild 60s: the police are strict; Car races on public roads have long been illegal. Like the darts in the duel that the Californian Beach Boys sing about in their 1963 song 'Shut Down', its corporate brother Challenger is also one of the icons of the quarter mile Offer from Dodge.

Dodge Challenger Hellcat stronger than ever

Correspondingly loud-mouthed, broad-shouldered, well-trained. The eyes, half covered under the hood, look arrogant at his opponents , almost a little mockingly. Who is surprised? In his home country they are challenging him to advertise: '707 Horsepower, end of discussion. The most powerful muscle car ever. The fastest muscle car ever. ”The marketing self-praise seems a little thick. So thick that the opponents here on the drag strip are only spurred on.

For example, the great-great-great-granddaughter of that Stingray from the 63er hit - the Corvette C7 as Z06 and her Chevrolet brother, the Camaro. Both race-tested, both heroes of those glorious days when the auto industry discovered a hitherto neglected class of buyers: the speed-addicted, but not particularly financially strong youth. In response, the mid-size class rolled off the manufacturer's lines at the beginning of the 1960s: muscle cars. Potent, testosterone-defying and cocky.

Hans-Dieter Seufert
Despite launch control, the 805 hp hellcat has easy things Game to blow up the rear tires.

Geiger-Cars blows up all three opponents a lot

Our three opponents come from the Munich importer for US cars Karl Geiger. He inflated all three of them so much that their V8 should burst. But they still loll almost innocently warm at the start line. Before you start your V8 thunderstorm under full load, let's briefly compare the data. The heart of each is a 6.2-liter V8, which transmits its power via a manual gearbox. The Americans call this monster of eight-cylinders disparagingly small block. The values ​​that have injected him with a few anabolic steroids such as new intake systems and software modifications are anything but small.

With the Corvette: 729 PS and fat 942 Nm. Not enough muscle? Okay, after Geiger's treatment the Hellcat even shows off with 805 hp and 967 Nm. And the Camaro? This can be seen in the complete racing trim: Geiger built it for the Tuner Grand Prix of sport auto . Its engine comes from the Corvette ZR1, was doped with a larger intercooler and modified pistons for higher compression, including a sharper camshaft, which makes the V8 shake unwillingly under the bonnet when idling. A powerhouse that even sends 824 hp and 992 Nm to the six-speed gearbox. Wait, almost 1,000 Nm of torque? Yes, 1,000. A preliminary decision? Possibly ... Instead of an answer, there will be short, demanding thrusts.

Camaro Z /28 with a tough quarter mile setup

US eight-cylinders still play America's most beautiful melody today, they have theirs Fascination has not lost anything over the decades. They still drive the adrenaline level of every car fan suddenly up, especially when they bark heatedly for an upcoming race. And when they're in a hell of a machine like the Camaro. Hellcat? We want to see who comes from hell here first. With its spartan interior complete with roll cage, fixed seat shells and harness straps, the unmistakable message of the Camaro is: This is where it's going, baby. Get ready for the trip of your life.

Full concentration on the Christmas tree, that's what they call itQuartermile start lights because of their colorful lights. Green. Tied tightly with the five-point seat belts like before a bungee jump, the driver releases the clutch at just over 1,000 revolutions. The V8 roars, the compressor howls, the wheels spin, the rear prances. Not too much throttle, just don't get stuck in the limiter. Shift, second gear. Slip again, the rear axle wedges again. Briefly counter-steer. Hell yeah, the steering is jagged. And what kind of waste heat does the six-twos have? Or is the heat coming from within, fueled by adrenaline?

Hans-Dieter Seufert
Geiger-Cars equipped the Camaro Z /28 with one thoroughbred Quatermile setup. Result: almost 1,000 Nm torque!

Dodge Challenger Hellcat starts with launch control

On the other hand, you don't break a sweat in Hellcat - in this way Hell, curiously enough, it stays at the right temperature. A feat, as a driver you also let the launch control work for you. The speed can be set via the display; At the training run this afternoon, 3,000 revs of the clutch speed brought the best results. Now, at night, the automated sensor system tries again to guide the rear wheels along the optimal slip - and manages it amazingly smoothly.

In contrast to what the name suggests, the hellcat is almost easy to care for. Shockingly normal, given her performance. Everything looks slightly softened, the seats, the chassis, the engine sound. The V8 grumbles pleasantly deep, even disappointingly little intimidating, while outside listeners realize that this is exactly how a muscle car should sound. But a figment of hell? Slightly exaggerated. At the same time, the start show from the stands is exciting, thanks to the wagging Camaro in particular. Nothing has been decided yet, but his pilot, constantly counter-steering, seems certain of victory. Sure, with this driving effort, a great run has to come out.

Hans-Dieter Seufert
The three big Cs of the Quartermile. While the Challenger and Camaro rely on brute force, the Corvette convinces with mechanical grip.

Chevrolet Corvette Z06 and the outstanding traction

Wait, what's that? The blue Corvette appears out of nowhere, pushes itself into view. Moves angrily, dragging a V8 thunderstorm behind it. Only a look at the measurement data reveals that it is already ahead shortly after the start. It meshes its 335 rear tires with the grainy asphalt the best of all, and has by far the best mechanical traction. Slip? Barely. It is just moving forward in a bestial way. The limiter appears so quickly that you can hardly keep up with the shift. Sure, one could say, after all, it is also a real sports car.

The quartermile used to be the domain of muscle cars. Like the Camaro, it feels most comfortable at the start at around 1,000 revolutions, but looks much more light-footed. After not even 50 meters, the Corvette catapulted itself to 100 km /h. The opponents need more than ten meters more distance. Even in third gear, when the driver finally has the Camaro under control and no longer vice versa, he hardly makes up any ground. The Hellcat also presses its way past, even pushing itself closer to the Corvette.

But she can no longer take her victory in the last few meters, storming through the quartermile goal after 11.6 seconds at 204 km /h. A finale, as if perfectly staged for the Beach Boys song; here too the Stingray wins in the end. In retrospect, it should be clear why the sung-about Vette didn't quite get out of the starting blocks despite slick tires: a sleepyhead must have been at the wheel. It could hardly have been the sting. She had it - and obviously still has it today.


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