The Spirit of the Dodge Viper Will Live on in the 2021 Dodge Challenger
Disclaimer: Since publishing this, Dodge denied the existence of an ACR Dodge Challenger for the 2021 model year.
Dodge introduced its American Cup Racer (ACR) trim on the 1999 Viper model. Just like a special edition trim, the ACR treatment was bestowed on only one other Dodge vehicle in the brand’s history — the beloved compact Neon sedan. The ACR trim level represents the best that the brand has to offer when it comes to on-track performance. Dodge discontinued the Viper model in 2017 due to underwhelming sales, and the ACR trim has been on vacation ever since. However, a recent report from Allpar indicates that ACR trim is making a comeback on none other than the 2021 Dodge Challenger.
Longtime sources of the publication indicate that Dodge has a slew of upgrades for its 2021 Challenger, hoping to steer the model in pursuit of pure performance as opposed to it being simply a muscle car. Changes include reworked tires, brakes, suspension, aerodynamics, and more. These rumored modifications will transform the Challenger from a hefty two-door muscle car into a massive sub-two-ton beast on the track, all in the name of agility. Dodge will rely on some existing components to accomplish this, including the rear wing from the Viper ACR-E, some adjustable suspension components, and a modified version of the Viper’s splitter.
Allpar’s source didn’t have any news with regards to the transmission, so it’s expected that the Challenger ACR will have to make do with the six-speed manual transmission currently available on the Challenger Hellcat. Engine choices are rumored to be the following: Dodge’s 392 HEMI with 485 horsepower, and the colossal 6.2-liter HEMI V8 with its 797 horsepower. Brembo will probably provide the brakes as usual, but they’ll have to work hard to bring the car to a halt given the model’s immense girth. Dodge is pouring its resources into the new Challenger ACR so they can compete head-to-head with Ford’s new GT500 — it’s got a 760 horsepower V8, a dual-clutch transmission, and aggressive aerodynamics.
Dodge didn’t release any information about the car’s release date, as the brand does not customarily comment about ongoing production. Given that the next-generation Challenger, a model that hasn’t had a complete overhaul in over a decade, is delayed by the ongoing Coronavirus crisis, it’ll be a while before we get a glimpse of the Challenger ACR. That said, the Challenger ACR could also be a one-off or a prototype as opposed to a vehicle slated for production. Time will tell. The real point of intrigue is if Dodge can actually reduce the overall weight off the Challenger by 500 pounds.
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