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It was an unusual year for Mopar fans at SEMA this year. The actual announcements at the Tuesday press conference (held at 4:26 PM) were a bit thin compared to recent years past. The biggest news for us was the reveal of the new 2015 NHRA Dodge Challenger funny car body for Matt Hagan. We really like the styling, at least there’s a noticeable influence on car from the street version. Hard news beyond that was a bit scarce, perhaps because the biggest news of the year is actually already on sale—the Hellcat of course. A lot of concept cars were on display including a Challenger T/A concept and a Viper ACR concept vehicle. If the ACR comes back that will be big news for Viper fans. The rest, well, they’re potential packages that may or may not come to a dealer near you.
What was more interesting to us is the continued whispering and tight lipped smiles about future product. We keep hearing that with the bankruptcy more or less finally in the past, more and more R&D resources have been going into the future. We have no details (Mopar is very good about keeping secrets these days), but source after source told us that the pipeline is full. It takes years and up to billions of dollars to develop new engines, transmissions and car platforms these days, so patience is required as a fan of the brand. But it is our understanding that the pipeline for cars and products is full and in a “conveyor belt” sort of way it won’t be long before we see several years of exciting reveals in the world of Mopar. We’ll keep enjoying the ride along the way. - Richard Kratz
Las Vegas, Nevada (Nov. 4, 2014) — Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA)’s Mopar and Dodge brands unveiled a new 2015 Mopar Dodge Charger R/T drag racing vehicle at the Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA) show today in Las Vegas. The new race car is destined to make its official on-track National Hot Rod Association (NHRA) Mello Yello Drag Racing Series debut in Funny Car competition at the 2015 season-opening Winternationals event on February 5-9 at Auto Club Raceway in Pomona, California.
The new 2015 Mopar Dodge Charger R/T Funny Car was designed and developed on a virtual platform, using the same production-based technology and tools applied to the street vehicles, in a collaboration between FCA production and race engineers and the Don Schumacher Racing team.
“We’re very pleased to further demonstrate Mopar’s commitment to providing quality performance parts and reiterate our dedication to NHRA drag racing and our Mopar fans with the introduction of this new 2015 Mopar Dodge Charger R/T Funny Car,” said Pietro Gorlier, President and CEO—Mopar Service, Parts and Customer Care. “The process of designing and building this new race car has been a true collaborative effort between our own engineering team (the same one that designs our production Charger and Challenger street vehicles) and Don Schumacher Racing, and we are very excited with what we have brought to fruition. It’s just another great example of Mopar’s continuing commitment to provide quality engineering and performance parts, while staying true to our roots of racing innovation in a year that we are celebrating the 50th anniversary of the iconic 426 Race HEMI® engine.”
Project engineers worked intensely to ensure that styling from the production version of the 2015 Dodge Charger was reflected in the Funny Car with similar design cues like scalloped sides and front and rear ends to make it easily recognizable to fans. Also included in the design process was the conscious decision to add durability and increase strength to the construction of the one-piece body with the use of composite materials including Kevlar and carbon.