In the wild world of Rally racing, drivers and equipment have to race on courses where the conditions and surfaces range from the packed ice and snow of the Midwest and Northeast to the stifling heat and boulder strewn trails of the southwest. To show our fans that the new 2011 Avenger is tough as rocks, our friends at Mopar along with their new partners, Magneti Marelli have joined forces in creating a Rally concept vehicle that will be a rolling test bed for future parts from both brands.
The project began with a production 2011 Dodge Avenger Heat that was immediately put on a diet and lost nearly 200 pounds by stripping the interior of sound insulation, back seats, door panels and other creature comforts and non-essential factory equipment. Then the engineers from both Mopar and Magneti Marelli began transforming it into a really cool race- inspired vehicle that could take on challenging rally courses. For safety and structural reinforcement, a full 8-point Mopar roll cage was installed along with a strut tower brace. Special lightweight race seats with 5-point racing harnesses keep the driver and navigator firmly planted. OMP, a leader in racing hardware, supplied the steering wheel and diamond plate foot well. Mopar and Magneti Marelli installed a purpose-built center stack and console with a compact high-performance 1 GB data logger, integrated GPS and inertial platform with real-time calculation of pitch and roll angles. This way you know where you are headed and what your angle of attack is.
Under the hood is the new, award winning Pentastar 3.6-liter V-6 engine that in production models produces a best-in-class 283 horsepower while achieving 29 mpg on the highway. The Pentastar V-6 engine in the Avenger Rally concept car has been bumped from 283 to 300 horsepower thanks to a Mopar Performance exhaust system, cold-air intake and some minor calibration tweaks. The six-speed automatic is now controlled by paddle shifters integrated into the steering wheel. To keep the Avenger Rally concept on the course, the high-performance Mopar/Magneti Marelli braking system provides a stable, solid braking performance under all road conditions. This trick braking package features a single-lever, dual-control rear braking system, which allows the driver to actuate both rear brakes in order to initiate the sudden slides and turns required when blasting through the challenging and tough rally courses.
The Avenger Rally concept also had a modified suspension courtesy of Mopar/Magneti Marelli that lowers the ride by 1.5 inches thus improving handling, cornering ability and helping the vehicle blast over the numerous hazards on the course. Tough Pirelli 225/650 R18 competition P-Zero tires and unique Mopar/Magneti Marelli 18-inch alloy racing wheels are on all four corners keep to the power on the ground. The exterior of the Avenger is finished in sinister Brilliant Black and features an in-your-face Mopar/Magneti Marelli graphics wrap. Other exterior enhancements include a rear spoiler, hood pins and mud flaps.
Our own gear head Ralph Gilles had an opportunity run the Avenger Rally concept through its paces at our world class proving grounds in Chelsea, Michigan and if the mile wide grin on his face is any indication, this package is a winner!