When 2018 Dodge Challenger SRT® Demon development engineer Jim Wilder says he and his team evaluated every single Hellcat component during the Demon’s gestation from concept daydream to wheel-standing reality, he isn’t kidding. As a Challenger SRT Hellcat that’s been optimized for the drag strip (but retains excellent braking, handling and road manners), the Demon needed to make more power and be lighter to accomplish the brand’s 9-second quarter mile goal.
The power gain came in the form of a larger supercharger, a hotter cam, more aggressive computer tuning, increased fuel flow and more airflow (for the scoop, see Feeding 840 Hungry Horses). As for the weight savings, nothing escaped scrutiny to see if it could be made lighter. Not even the lug nuts that keep the wheels on the car. Jim Wilder picks it up: “The Hellcat uses closed-end lug nuts. But the NHRA rule book mandates that any entrant equipped with high-traction drag slicks must be fitted with open-end lug nuts. This allows the tech inspectors to visually confirm proper thread engagement between the wheel studs and lug nuts to assure safety on the track.”
Since every Demon is likely to spend many weekends at the drag strip, this helpful detail will be appreciated by owners during the pre-race tech inspection process. But there’s more to the story than that. Wilder continues: “Without the capped ends, the open-face lug nuts weigh less than Hellcat parts; in fact we shed 0.495 pounds per car, and best of all, these special lug nuts were already on hand. There was no need to design, test and produce them from scratch.” And where exactly did the Demon’s open-face lug nuts come from? “They’re right off the Dodge Charger police package.”
Going back to the roots of the Dodge brand’s previous muscle car programs, the police car parts bin was often raided for brakes, anti-sway bars, axles and other items for use on legends from the 1956 Dodge Coronet D500 to the 1971 Challenger R/T. That said, the 2018 Demon marks the first time a Dodge law enforcement package donated its lug nuts to the drag racer’s cause.
And the near half pound they eliminate is that much less mass the 6.2-liter supercharged HEMI® engine has to set into motion when the drag strip starting light flashes green and the driver releases the Transbrake paddle. Nope, nothing escaped the attention of Jim Wilder and the team of SRT development engineers in their quest to make the 2018 Dodge Challenger SRT Demon the meanest Dodge muscle car yet!