Form and Function Steer Dodge Dart Rally Car Development.
The SRT Motorsports Dodge Dart Rally Car made its debut in the Global Rallycross series at Charlotte Motor Speedway on May 26th. Highly decorated rally driver Travis Pastrana piloted the all-wheel-drive turbocharged rally car through the 2012 Global Rallycross season.
SRT Motorsports began work on the rally variant of the new Dart well before its world debut in Detroit earlier this year. Thanks to extensive development and engineering of the powertrain, the turbocharged 2.0-liter I-4 is capable of over 600 horsepower. Its all-wheel-drive setup provides the grip required to attack any surface with authority.
Mechanical ability undoubtedly plays an important role in any racecar, but design is equally significant. Accommodating safety equipment and mechanical underpinnings can be challenging. In many instances these requirements alter the appearance of production-derived race vehicles to be almost unrecognizable. The ability to draw parallels between racecars and the production cars they are based on is more than a priority at SRT Motorsports, it's a mandate.
"It's important to be involved in a race series where there's a direct correlation between the track and road-going car," explains SRT Motorsports lead designer Mark Trostle. "The rally car is a Dart on steroids."
As intended, the Dart Rally Car is immediately recognizable as a Dart. SRT Motorsports designers utilized the Dart's existing body lines and surfaces, stretching them just enough to accommodate a slightly wider drivetrain and larger wheel package. Rather than applying massive flared fenders, the Dart Rally Car employs massaged wheel arches to house its new equipment. This work provides fans the ability to relate with the car on the track.
The Dart Rally car is the latest example of the hard work at SRT Motorsports engineering and design. The engineers and designers behind these race vehicles are also working on production vehicles, which ultimately benefit from lessons learned on the track.