I’ve been really fortunate here, in that joining the local SRT club has afforded me the chance to meet some really nice people, and swap opportunities to drive some cars.
Tires do make one heck of a difference, but one of the things that people also tend to ignore is the difference in gear ratios between the Scat and the Hellcat.
My Scat A8 has the 3.90 rear gears (stock), and was plenty fast with good tires on it. Adding the blower, it’s right on the edge of unusable at WOT off the line, and really needs to have the suspension redone in order to get more of the tire to the ground more of the time. Until that happens, it’s my suspicion that I’d be spending more of my time fighting it around the track than driving it. Similar power to the wheels as the new Alfa Romeo, but without the all-wheel drive and a little more weight.
The Hellcat has the 2.92 gears(?) in the auto- it’s not going to spin up as fast off the line as it would with a shorter first and second gear or final ratio. What should be telling, is that it still not only keeps up with the Scat, but keeps pulling better and harder through the rest. To me, that’s where the extra horsepower and torque really shines through- not so much on the launch, which is probably tamed over what running it with something like a 3.40 would feel like on slicks, much less a 3.90 or a 4.10.
If you’ve ever seen videos of classic vs. current muscle at the drag strip and thought “man, the old cars just launch so much harder,” remember that lots of those adjustments in tires, suspension, and gearing were done to match a lot of work to optimize them for just that event- and a Hellcat with drag radials and a competent driver will still take almost all of them that don’t run under 10.00 by the end of the quarter while being significantly heavier. The ones it doesn’t are going to be purpose modified to either run 10.00 bracket races and/or heavily modified for just the strip, and probably a bit more difficult to daily drive.
It doesn’t feel like a huge difference on launch. It makes it’s money never letting go after the launch. It’s a damn fast car, and it takes some hard pulls to really appreciate the work Dodge put into it to sell it as a daily driver street/strip car off the lot- not too many others you could swap rims and tires at the strip, run what it does with no other changes, and drive it back home after at that level of luxury.
That being said... I will continue to build until I toast them all with taillights