Autobytel's editorial staff was recently invited to sample the SRT Track Experience by our friends over at Dodge’s go fast division. Upon arriving at the retired El Toro Marine Base, right here in our own back yard, we were greeted by a lineup of high performance Mopar powered machines that included everything from the all new Challenger Redline, which adds a touch of hot rod style in an affordable V6 equipped package, to Dodge’s all new Charger Police car.
All domestic SRT owners are automatically registered for the Track Experience when they purchase a new car. The idea is to allow owners to experience what these machines are truly capable of, on a closed course, with professional supervision. The best part is that you don’t even have to beat up on your own vehicle, because Dodge has a roving fleet of dedicated SRT track cars that are exactly the same as what a Mopar fanatic might have in their driveway, aside from receiving more frequent tire swaps and brake changes that come with regular track duty.
The majority of our morning was spent on a tight autocross stretched out along one of El Toro’s retired runways. There we were able to test each of the SRT8 badged vehicles back to back, noting how much more nimble the Challenger is than the larger Charger, or how surprisingly well the Chryser 300 combines style, horsepower and handling. However one of the best surprises of the day came in the form of a 470 HP all wheel drive Jeep Grand Cherokee that simply put, defies physics, and even led to a series of heated runs between a few of the journalists trying to see who could get the 5,000 plus pound hot rod through the cones the quickest.
Aside from all excessive right foot exercise, possibly the brightest highlight of the day was when Dodge’s factory backed Formula Drift champion and Tom Cruise stand in (when behind the wheel on a movie set) Samuel Hübinette, the Crzy Swede who dusted off his flat black Mopar powered SHR Charger SRT8 and put on a proper display for the audience as he smoked some rear rubber and completely shredded a tire or two. While Sam has officially announced his retirement from professional drifting this season, he will be focusing his go fast efforts on other forms motor sport in the coming year; however the Toxic Drifter showed that he still knows how to get sideways.