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Diabolical Durango SRT Haunts One Lap

HOT ROD logo HOT ROD 5/27/2018 Hot Rod Network Staff
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001-leadimage-durango-srt-onelap© Hot Rod Network Staff 001-leadimage-durango-srt-onelap

Who'd take a 2018 Durango SRT on the grueling cross-country road trip known as the One Lap of America and attack road courses and racetracks? We would, and we'd do it all over again. When we left off, the Durango SRT, aptly nicknamed "HEMI Hauler" and "DuranGO!", had just begun the One Lap and was starting to create a reputation for itself after just the first two events: the wet skid pad competition held a the Tire Rack headquarter in South Bend, Indiana, and time trials at the Autobahn Country Club in Joliet, Illinois. While in the paddock at Autobahn, some McLaren and Porsche owners stared at our 5000 ib. Durango SRT with weird looks thinking it was some sort of media support vehicle. They were quite surprised to see this massive, honking SUV running faster laps times their sports cars.

With two events under our belt, my co-driver, young David Carr from SRT Engineering, was getting a feel for how much he could push the chubby, plus-sized Durango SRT without compromising the Pirelli P Zero rubber. Remember, One Lap rules state you can only run one set of tires for the weeklong event that will cross over 12 states and compete at eight racetracks. With weight not on our side, David and I knew we would risk excessive tire wear and brake pad degradation real quick if we ran the 475 horsepower 392 HEMI powered SUV all-out.

Still in the Land of Lincoln, we headed south to Gateway International Raceway, in the shadows of the mighty Gateway Arch of St. Louis. Gateway's massive facility in Madison, Illinois, has played host to IndyCar, NASCAR, and NHRA events.

During this stop, there was a Ford Model-T swap meet happening, but we didn't have time to shop. Being rookies, we quickly learned that there is a really tight schedule at every track. We got in the rhythm and developed a system of unpacking the Durango, confirming which group and run order we would be in for time trials, make our laps, and then quickly pack up and drive seven hours to the next venue. Remember, One Lap is not really a race but a marathon that will not only test your machine, but will also challenge your personality and people skills. It's easy to bounce off the chip and get irritable with one's co-driver. For David and I, there were long periods of amicable silence on the open road as exhaust tone of the slightly warmed over 392 HEMI filled the cabin of the Durango SRT.

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