Okay, so last month we discovered the 300 SRT’s no ballerina in the bends.
Hardly news when you’re driving a five-metre-long living room. But as we found earlier this year when we lined up one against HSV’s Clubbie R8 LSA, the SRT’s talents lie elsewhere.
As it happened, the Chrysler 300 SRT pipped the Aussie over the quarter mile, despite its 350kW/671Nm 6.4-litre Hemi down 50kW/34Nm. Now, HSV could hype its outputs or Chrysler sandbag them, but the SRT made clear it’s made for dragstrips like Miranda Kerr is for runways.
Keeping this in mind I suspected a romp at Melbourne’s Calder Park drags would not only help campaign our loveable oaf’s virtues, but maybe claim a few scalps in the process – for research, of course.
However, things didn’t start well.
My track helmet was pinched the night before and that sent me after a replacement next morning. By the time I actually arrived, a Nissan 180SX spilt its guts down the track and made the wait for a run longer than an elephant pregnancy.
Once cleaned, the afternoon left time for only two cracks, one with launch control and one without. Not much time to extract its best. The upside, though, was I had brought along our Driftbox, which made things interesting for two reasons.
First we’d be able to reveal the difference between our Driftbox and a purpose built drag strip’s timing beams. Plus, we could shed light on why some people on social media are always running the ‘good’ cars.
Our first run was simple enough.
‘Track’ mode disarmed traction control and sharpened the Chrysler-fettled ZF eight-speed. I stomped (rather than fed) the throttle once the timing tree lit green. Traction was surprisingly good, with one or two degrees of rotation before exploding off in a hellish chorus of noise.
So, the time? Our satellite tracking Driftbox said we completed the run in 13.59sec while travelling at 177.98km/h. Meanwhile, our printed timing slip from the officials claimed more like 13.09sec at 178.36km/h.
Dragstrips allow a little rollout, usually 12 inches, before timing begins. But when I first learned there was half-a-second gap between two cars at a 178km/h trap, I couldn’t believe it. You could squeeze almost two blue whales into that distance.
The SRT’s torque converter’s launch control was engaged for the second run, which feels different to a dualclutch’s.
Without clutch engagement, its torque converter instead stalls the engine at 3500rpm (or whatever you choose between 2500-4500rpm by 250 increments), against the front brakes, waiting until you lift them. t c When we did the SRT tore through its 6100rpm upshifts to clock 13.39sec on the Driftbox, and 12.99sec on a time slip. The difference between the two was four tenths, as opposed to five tenths the previous run, which is inline with the Driftbox’s tolerances. Although, interestingly, the car’s own SRT timing system reckons it went even faster at 12.9sec.
So in reality, when MOTOR publishes performance times, they could improve by four- to five-tenths simply with dragstrip timing. Solid proof our apples are slightly different to the public’s, and that comparing your brother’s dog’s previous owner’s best time doesn’t hold much chop.
But I get it. The drag strip’s a bit like weightlifting. When waiting around for only a short burst of grunt work, how much you lift, or how fast you go, becomes pretty important.
Our 12.99 didn’t win any trophies.
But with a stock Falcon XR8 Sprint running 12.96 the same day, we’re still convinced our oaf’s a talented weapon on the straightway. Even with a leg-up from the dragstrip.
LIKED: Sinking the right clog without fear of the rozzers.
DISLIKED: The rotary gear knob.
FAVOURITE MOMENT: 'Warming' the tyres before staging its run.
Fuel This Month: 15.2L/100km
Distance This Month: 1131km
Want to see more of our Chrysler 300 SRT long-termer?