It’s not all about quarter miles: Dodge takes the 2015 Challenger Trans Am racing

With so much talk of the 707-horsepower 2015 Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat and its 11.2-second quarter-mile time, you’d think Dodge’s two-door muscle car is only good at driving in a straight line.

That’s not true. In the early 1970s, the Challenger competed in one of the most hotly-contested road racing series in history. The SCCA Trans Am was originally intended for nimble imported sports sedans, but it was quickly dominated by muscle cars from the Big Three, plus American Motors.

Hoping to recapture some of that glory, the Challenger will return to Trans Am this weekend at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course race.

Dodge didn’t release any technical details, but the rules for the TA2 class the Challenger will be competing in specify a V8 engine producing around 500 hp.

The cost of entire car is also capped at $100,000, meaning the Trans Am Challenger does without a lot of the exotic modifications like ones seen on the Chevrolet Corvette C7.R and other production-based cars built for more-demanding endurance racing.

RELATED: 2015 Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat first drive

Two Challenger SRT racers will be campaigned by Miller Racing, driven by Cameron Lawrence and four-time champion Tommy Kendall. This will be Kendall’s first Trans Am start in a decade.

Decked out in a modernized version of the livery worn by its 1970s predecessors, the Challenger SRT should be quite a sight on the track.

It’s a nice bit of nostalgia for sure, but with the road-going Hellcat outgunning the Trans Am racer to the tune of 200 hp, why should anyone care?

While the HEMI and 440 Magnum-powered Challengers were terrorizing drag strips back in the day, Dodge also offered a Challenger T/A model.

It had a smaller engine, but it was built to certify the Challenger for Trans Am competition, just like a couple of cars you may have heard of: the Chevrolet Camaro Z/28 and Ford Mustang Boss 302.

Both of those classics have been reincarnated, and it would be great to see lighting strike a third time.

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