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An 1,150-HP Jeep Grand Cherokee Trackhawk? Sure, Why Not!?

Automobile logo Automobile 7/10/2019 Cam Benty

a car parked on the side of a dirt road: Mopar Muscle Trackhawk 022

Mopar Muscle Trackhawk 022
© Automobile Magazine Staff

In terms of sleeper vehicles, Jeff Wollerman's 2018 Jeep Grand Cherokee Trackhawk is not the most subtle. The blackout hood and racing stickers in the rear quarter-window tip you off to the performance abilities of this unusual platform, but those are the only obvious tipoffs to regular folks. Unwary competitors at the drag strip might be of the mind that this SUV looks kinda special, but then it's still just an SUV, right? But when the Trackhawk clicks off 1.40-second 60-foot times, they find out just how fast this four-wheel-drive Mopar really is.

Wollerman's 2018 Jeep Trackhawk is the latest in a line of very fast cars that have filled the family garage in Camarillo, California. A successful union crane mechanic in nearby Port Hueneme, California, he knows a lot about machinery, both on the dock and on the track. He has personally owned a lot of the hottest cars today, such as a 2017 Camaro ZL1, a Corvette, and a Hellcat. But when the Trackhawk arrived on the scene, he knew he had to have one.

a car parked on the side of a dirt road© Automobile Magazine Staff

"I found one in the [San Fernando] Valley with only a few options," Wollerman tells us. "It had red seatbelts and black forged aluminum wheels, but no sunroof, extra speaker system, or tow package. This was the lightest 5,000-plus-pound Trackhawk I could find," he adds with a chuckle.

As is not surprising, Wollerman was impressed with the Trackhawk's performance, but not fully satisfied. Not willing to leave well enough alone, he started sourcing performance parts. First he asked Borla to create a proper 3-inch-diameter tubing exhaust system. Working with Alvin at Borla, they developed their first exhaust systems for the Trackhawk platform. Borla prototyped both an S-Type and ATAK-style muffler system from Wollerman's vehicle. Due to its deeper exhaust tone, Wollerman picked the S-type, which is what the car wears today finished off with a set of quad carbon-fiber tips.

a car engine© Automobile Magazine Staff

"Next, I searched for a tuner and came across the Livernois Motorsports line of products," says Wollerman. "After speaking with Scott Michele, I went with their S-1025 mail-order kit, which included a 2.85-inch-wide upper pulley from Innovations West to overdrive the lower balancer by nine percent. To ensure that the crank pulley stayed in place, he pinned it to the crankshaft, an effort that took extra time and skill."

Wollerman decided to shift his propellant to E-85 and added new fuel-injection-enhancing components, a 180-degree thermostat, a transmission tune, and NGK spark plugs. Livernois reworked the computer, also sending Wollerman a laptop to fine-tune the Jeep's computer to get everything spot-on with regards to both street and race performance, since the rig still sees dual duty.

a car parked in a parking lot© Automobile Magazine Staff

"I was so impressed with the power from the Livernois S-1025 kit that I had to change my driving style, moving the shift points to 6,800 rpm," explains Wollerman. "The Trackhawk now pulls like a freight train on acceleration! I also learned a lot about performance upgrades from the Trackhawk Facebook page. It was at this point in the car's transformation that I set my sights on getting the SUV into the nines in the quarter-mile."

Frankly, that seemed like a logical move considering that, with the changes to date and the sticky Mickey Thompson Street tires, he had launched the SUV to quarter-mile times of 10.4 seconds at 131.72 mph. What was most impressive to Wollerman was the 1.640-second 60-foot times he accomplished, helped by the additional grip afforded by all-wheel-drive system noted earlier.

a car engine© Automobile Magazine Staff

Wollerman says, "Solis Racing Group developed a set of custom Eibach special-edition springs and a set of racing brake pads for the Brembo calipers. AAD Performance developed a set of Black Ops Adjustable rear control arms to help plant the sticky rear tires. And G-Force Performance Engineering aluminum rear-axle shafts were added after I broke the factory units."

As you might expect of a highly qualified mechanic, Wollerman executed all of the mechanical changes with the exception of the Livernois computer programming. That includes all of the blacking out of the body trim that gives the SUV its sinister looks. Combined with the blacked-out wheels, this SUV makes a statement in both traffic or on the track.

© Automobile Magazine Staff

So did Wollerman achieve his target of a nine-second quarter-mile time? You bet! The momentous achievement occurred in March of 2019, after a retune of the computer and change to a 2.75-inch-diameter pulley to help turn up the boost to a full 22 pounds. With an estimated 1,150 horsepower at 6,600 rpm and 1,000 lb-ft of torque, these drag-strip timing achievements are not surprising.

If you line up next to Wollerman's SUV, prepare to get your heart broken!

a close up of a car© Automobile Magazine Staff

Fast Facts
2018 Jeep Trackhawk

Jeff Wollerman, Camarillo, CA

ENGINE
Type: 6.2L/376ci V-8 engine supercharged

Bore x stroke (in. ): 4.100 (bore) x 3.600 (stroke)

Block: Factory original

Rotating assembly: Original crankshaft, connecting rods and pistons

Compression: 10.9:1

Cylinder heads: Factory original configuration

Camshaft: Factory original camshaft and cam drive belt

Induction: Factory original with Innovations West overdrive pulleys to generate 22 pounds of boost combined with Livernois modified computer retune. Engine runs on E85 fuel.

Oiling system: Factory oiling system

Exhaust: Factory original exhaust manifolds with Borla S-Type 3-inch exhaust and carbon fiber quad tips

Ignition: Factory original with NGK LFR6A spark plugs

Cooling: Factory radiator with thermostatically controlled electric fan

a car parked in a parking lot© Automobile Magazine Staff

DRIVETRAIN
Transmission: Factory original 8-speed Automatic ZF with Livernois-tuned S-1025 kit

Shifter: Factory original shifter system

Driveshaft: G-Force Performance Engineering (gforce1320.com) aluminum rear driveshaft

Axles: G-Force Performance Engineering Renegade axleshafts

Rearend: Factory style 3:70:1 ratio electronic limited slip

CHASSIS
Front suspension: Original with special edition Eibach higher-rate springs

Rear suspension: Original with special edition Eibach higher-rate springs and AAD Black Ops adjustable rear control arms.

Steering: Stock power assist steering

Front brakes: Factory original Brembo 13.0-inch-diameter rotors with special Solis Racing pads

Rear brakes: Factory original 13.0-inch-diameter rotors with special Solis Racing pads

WHEELS & TIRESWheels: 20x10 black alloy Triumph Forged TR1 in front; 17x10 Weld Racing Forged S71 beadlock in rear

Tires: 275/40-20 Mickey Thompson Street SS Drag Radial in front; 315/50-17Mickey Thompson Street "R" Drag Radial in rear

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