It might seem unlikely to kick off a five-part article series about XtremeXperience supercar track days with the slowest, heaviest car in the pitlane.
But anyone who has driven a Challenger R/T…
a) in the rain
b) on a racetrack
…knows that combining those two is a recipe for white knuckles, at the very least.
And more likely, one of two endgames: a crawling pace or a big spin-out into the grass. And perhaps from there into a tire-lined safety fence beside the track.
So this experience as the first outing of the day at Atlanta Motorsports Park left quite an impression. Even from the passenger seat!
Skilled trainer and former pro racer Jim from XtremeXperience started our lap talking us through the basics of track cornering.
Outside–> in, kiss the apex, and back to the outermost edge of the track. Making as many straight lines as possible — and doing your big acceleration and deceleration with the wheel straight-ahead — are the core basics that never hurt to keep top-of-mind.
The pace quickened on our second lap, with Jim from XX dialing in most of the Challenger R/T’s 370-horsepower through its long-throw six-speed manual. Near the start of the third and quickest lap of ours out around the tight, hilly AMP course, we broke a bit of silence to remind Jim, “You can really drive!”
A “Challenger-tamer” we called him, moments before our first sideways flirt of the tail. It snapped back in line fairly cleanly with a lift of the throttle and opposite lock.
But this even momentary pause in driver focus sent the Challenger flailing for grip, and feeling like it wanted to exit the track ass-first.
For the XX drive guru to keep the Challenger on the knife-edge of traction on a racetrack — while the sky spit cold, fat raindrops — was an inspiring start to the day.
A day when our chariots of fire would pack a minimum of 562-horsepower…!?
That’s how the slowest car on the track became the most alive with skill. All thanks to a slick track and very, very skilled driver. Just those two things?
And, one might add, a musclecar that loathes wet corners! At least ones with guardrails so close out the side windows.
Final note? The Challenger R/T easily cruised up to the 110-mph top ends also seen in the hypercars at the end of the rain-soaked AMP straightaway’s 1200-feet.
Save $50 on your supercar track drive by using discount code CRDXX50 when booking online at xxspeed.com.
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Plum Crazy 2016 Dodge Challenger R/T – XtremeXperience
Tom Burkart is the founder and managing editor of Car-Revs-Daily.com, an innovative and rapidly-expanding automotive news magazine.
He holds a Journalism JBA degree from the University of Wisconsin – Madison. Tom currently resides in Charleston, South Carolina with his two amazing dogs, Drake and Tank.
Mr. Burkart is available for all questions and concerns by email Tom(at)car-revs-daily.com.