MOPAR shows new Dodge Charger Funny Car at SEMA

Sleeker Charger R/T developed in part by Don Schumacher Racing.

Now that the 2015 NHRA Toyota Camry Funny Car body has won its debut on The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway this past weekend during the Toyota Nationals, maybe Dodge can do the same with the 2015 Mopar Dodge Charger R/T Funny Car it introduced with great fanfare a few days later at the SEMA show.

The new body is slated to debut at the 2015 season­-starting Winternationals, held annually each February at Auto Club Raceway in Pomona. It was developed by MOPAR, Dodge and Don Schumacher Racing ­ and is the first new Dodge Funny Car body since 2006, with the goal of achieving higher strength and lighter weight ­ with no loss of aerodynamic performance compared to the current Charger R/T.

“The process of designing and building this new race car has been a true collaborative effort,” said Pietro Gorlier, MOPAR president and CEO, “between our own engineering team (the same one that designs our production Charger and Challenger street vehicles) and Don Schumacher Racing. We are very excited with what we have brought to fruition.”

The body has been validated in testing by Mopar Dodge Charger R/T racer Matt Hagan, currently leading the season standings by 21 points over John Force ­ as the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series heads to its finale in a week and a half in Pomona. Hagan tested at Norwalk, Ohio and in Indianapolis. “I can’t get in it again soon enough,” he said. “How mean it looks, the way it handles, the way it runs on the racetrack is simply amazing.”

Hagan was particularly impressed by the changes to the body’s geometry that moved the windshield father back than the current model to provide improvements to visibility ­ a critical item at 300 mph or more. More than 10 added degrees of side visibility and a doubling of upward visibility were gained with that design change alone.

The project engineers were determined to ensure that the looks of the 2015 production Dodge Charger are reflected in this new Funny Car body, which incorporates scalloped sides, front and rear ends that are easily recognizable. Body materials like Kevlar and carbon fibre add durability and increase strength in the one­piece body. Working in conjunction with the University of North Carolina, the team made an extensive study to improve the composite body’s strength and durability and keep the aerodynamic properties of the previous version ­ while still putting it on a diet.

Current car has impressive record

The current Dodge Charger R/T body first came to competition in 2006 and has achieved two consecutive Funny Car titles at the hands of Hagan (2011) and 2012 title holder Jack Beckman. It’s won 68 races, had 77 runner­up finishes, qualified first on 43 occasions and has achieved 12 of the current 33 three­-second Funny Car passes to the 1,000-­foot mark.

Don Schumacher Racing has been designing and constructing its Funny Car and Top Fuel chassis for the past few years and has a vast fabrication shop on­site. That is one of the reasons SRT Motorsports engineering and design senior manager David Bailey is “very excited with the results of our efforts and look forward to seeing the new-­look DSR cars make their debut in the 2015 season-opening race.

"Through all our design reviews, engineering changes we kept the primary goal of improving the durability, strength and aerodynamic performance of the new vehicle while maintaining all NHRA dimensional requirements. I think we can all be happy with the results.”

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About this article
Series NHRA
Drivers John Force , Jack Beckman , Don Schumacher , Matt Hagan
Article type Breaking news
Tags don schumacher, mopar