The forthcoming Dodge Challenger SRT Demon has certainly garnered a significant amount of attention with its 9-second time slip from the factory. However, it is the Hellcat that has been carrying the Challenger SRT brand into the forefront of the street performance market and HHP Racing has been on the cutting edge of it for nearly a decade. As the drag racing season is coming to a close in most parts of the country, Josh Schwartz snuck out to Maryland International Raceway one last time with TopCat, a 2015 Challenger SRT Hellcat. Armed with a nitrous bottle to compliment the HHP/BES Gen III Hemi, Schwartz knocked off an 8.883 at 154.99 mph in the 4,500-pound street car, besting the old record of 8.913 turned in by the Epling Garage’s Challenger.
That time slip marks the TopCat as the top of the Hellcat heap and also earned them the first 8-second equipped Challenger with an A8 factory automatic transmission. It is also a tribute to John Toutkoushian, who passed away in 2016, and his wife, Linda, lets HHP Racing carry-on his legacy with the TopCat. The pathway to the 8s was a well-laid plan crafted through extensive experience on thousands of Gen III Hemi-equipped Dodge vehicles that HHP is known for building.
The heads and blower took a vacation at BES Racing where Schwartz collaborated with the engine shop on specific upgrades and changes to the 6.2L Hemi. The factory cylinder heads and factory supercharger snout were ported by BES Racing to keep air, fuel, and spent gases moving through the engine efficiently. A camshaft is the gatekeeper for the air going in and out of the cylinders and Schwartz shared his extensive knowledge on the Gen III Hemi engine with BES Racing in order to create a unique camshaft profile. The short-block is 100% stock as it came from Dodge, a testament to the factory’s commitment to excellence in the supercharged Hemi platform.
The factory-supplied 2.4L twin-screw supercharger is turned harder with a 2.65-inch upper pulley and an ATI Performance Products Overdrive damper to increase boost pressure to 20 psi. American Racing Headers provided the entire exhaust system from the long-tube headers back to the tailpipes. All told, the TopCat cranks out 980 rwhp on the company’s in-house chassis dyno and Schwartz worked with Hemi Tuner Performance to get the engine calibration spot on with the VP Racing Fuels Q16 race fuel. Schwartz and Hemi Tuner Performance worked exclusively with DiabloSport CMR software in order to get the 1,000-plus hp combination to run smoothly and to have the transmission shift perfectly. On track, Schwartz admits to adding in a small shot of nitrous from a Nitrous Outlet plate system, however the team hasn’t run it on the chassis dyno.
Making horsepower is one thing, applying it to the drag strip is another and HHP Racing has extensive experience in that regard. In order to get the 4,500-pound street machine hurling down the track in sub-9 second fashion, the Mickey Thompson ET Radial Pro 275 tires are stuck to the ground thanks to help from HHP/Santhuff shocks and struts with a fortified IRS setup. Southern Hot Rod was tapped to build the A8 eight-speed automatic transmission and Pro Torque is responsible for the torque converter. The transmission and suspension help apply the enormous power properly and the result has been a best of a 1.369 sixty-foot time, an impressive feat considering the high race weight with driver.
As tribute to John Toutkoushian who’s passion ran deep for the Challenger platform, Schwartz said this couldn’t have been possible without Linda Toutkoushian, John’s wife. She is the owner of TopCat and the driving force in continuing the go-fast tradition.