"Taking the Redeye"
Sometimes my job is hard, and other times it is really hard! When I got a call from a local journalist to help him out with a review of the new Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat Redeye, I knew this one would be one of those really hard days. Testing a 797-horsepower new car isn’t as easy as it looks!
Summit Point has a history with the Hellcat program. It was just a few years ago that Dodge//SRT brought the then new Charger SRT Hellcat to Summit Point to introduce the car to the press. While preparing for that event Dodge//SRT engineers came out to see the track and work with us to establish the protocol for the event. It was clear that the engineers were passionate about their program and took a lot of pride in their new offering. We were honored to help launch that new car and feel a sense of pride every time we see one on the road and at the track.
The gleaming white Redeye showed up on Sunday afternoon and we headed over to our Jefferson Circuit to take our ride. After a recon lap to make sure the track was clear, we stopped and put the car in “Track” mode. Our first lap was an easy one as I got used to the car and each lap after a bit quicker. The car launches off each corner hard, as you would expect with so much power. This car sounds incredible! Dodge//SRT nailed the exhaust note and the whine of that blower is music to your ears. The brakes work well, and I didn’t notice much fade, but we also didn’t put in a full 20-minute session like you would at a typical track day.
You can only get a Challenger SRT Hellcat Redeye with an automatic transmission, and to be honest I didn’t miss not having a manual to row the gears. I didn’t even bother with the paddle shifters because the car does so well matching the gear to the speed and throttle position. I was lucky enough to drive a manual transmission Challenger Hellcat a few years ago at Summit Point and decided that I liked the automatic more. This car rips shifts so quickly both up and down that a manual seems pointless. The sound of that engine when it shifts is near perfect.
Would I buy one? My “commute” is just 6 miles between work and home and I don’t get as much track time as you might think, so at this point in my life, it simply doesn’t make sense. If I lived in the DC area, where stop and go traffic is a way of life, it would drive me crazy to have 797 ponies under the hood and no way to let them out. If I was taking a long road trip, then yeah, sign me up. The car is so comfortable it feels like it could gobble up the miles with ease. I’ll just have to plan it so there aren’t too many miles between gas stations. No need for a radio either, just listen to that sweet supercharged V-8 engine.
Long live the HEMI!