Challenger SRT8® Hallmarks: front chin splitter.

Race cars have long been designed to take full advantage of downforce to improve vehicle stability and handling. Achieving this functionality on a street car, while also making the vehicle aesthetically pleasing, can be quite an undertaking.
Posted on Jul 24, 2012

Aerodynamics and aesthetics meet in the front chin splitter of the Challenger SRT8.

Race cars have long been designed to take full advantage of downforce to improve vehicle stability and handling. Achieving this functionality on a street car, while also making the vehicle aesthetically pleasing, can be quite an undertaking. The designers and engineers at SRT thrive on such challenges.

Mark Trostle, Head of SRT, Mopar and Motorsports Design, and his team were faced with the daunting task of tweaking and massaging the front chin splitter that would grace the Challenger SRT8. Numerous mock-ups of splitters and dive planes were created with clay in the design studio, followed by countless hours in the wind tunnel. The main goal was to ensure that the splitter served its purpose aerodynamically by providing vehicle stability, as well as looking good on the front of the car.

"Form versus function balance was definitely one of the most important elements," said Trostle. "SRT engineers track-tuned the vehicle at high speeds to ensure stability at top speed. The manual Challenger SRT8 is a true 180 mph car, and engineers performed lengthy track testing, including 150 mph lane changes to ensure vehicle stability."

Trostle's team worked with engineers from SRT to achieve the function and look they were going after in the front chin splitter of the Challenger SRT8. Creating a balance between the front splitter and rear spoiler was critical in generating the correct amount of downforce when the vehicle was in motion, as the two components work in tandem.

"It was amazing looking at the radiuses and the angles of the splitter surface, and what this does to the air to tune it," explained Trostle. "So, once we determined what would work, then it was on to how do we refine it and really make it function. That's when we spent hours and hours in the wind tunnel designing the Challenger splitter in real time."

Over the years, the front chin splitter on the Challenger SRT8 has evolved into a more horizontal design creating a larger surface area. The original splitter on the 2008 model turned the corner near the wheel openings, with the fascia flushing out, but not really protruding. The new splitter definitely protrudes from the fascia and serves a distinct purpose in helping to produce the maximum amount of downforce and enhancing the overall performance of the vehicle.

Performance and function are the two most important elements in the SRT equation. Coupled with an aesthetically pleasing look, the front chin splitter on the Challenger SRT8 certainly adds up and checks out.

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