Dodge's American Club Racer brand won't grace this generation of Challenger. Pity.
While it rarely makes an appearance, Dodge's high-performance "ACR," or "American Club Racer," brand is revered by enthusiasts. Historically, its a badge that's been reserved for only Dodge's most extreme, track-focused sports cars - models like the Dodge Neon ACR, which was originally sold only to members of the Sports Car Club of America, and the Dodge Viper ACR, the most recent iteration of which set numerous new track records across the US.
Like many Mopar fans, we'd been wondering whether the American Club Racer treatment might come to at least one more enthusiast model in the near future: the Dodge Challenger.
Sadly, Autoweek dashed fresh water on those hopes recently, after speaking to a Dodge spokesperson and being told that a Dodge Challenger ACR is definitively not in the cards for the current third-generation pony car. The most likely reason for this is the curb weight; at significantly north of 4,000 pounds in most configurations, the Challenger is a bit on the chunky side, to put it mildly. Weight is the enemy of performance, not only demanding more torque to get moving, but also compromising handling and braking, necessitating some impractically hefty performance components.
It's a real shame, because the Dodge Challenger's chassis is remarkably forgiving when provoked, and the Dodge Challenger 392 Scat Pack Widebody got us 80% of the way to an ACR already.
Granted, rumors circulated by Allpar maintained that there would in fact be two versions of the Dodge Challenger ACR: one powered by Dodge's 392 Hemi, to maintain eligibility for a number of US amateur racing classes, and one powered by the Hellcat's 717-horsepower supercharged mill. That outlet also said the car would shoot for a target weight south of 4,000 pounds, thanks to a diet high in carbon fiber.
It sounds magnificent, but it just isn't meant to be - at least not this go-around. We'll check in again after Dodge launches an all-new Challenger for the 2023 model year.