The Reason The Dodge Challenger SRT Demon Was Banned By The NHRA

For a short period of time, one of the fastest accelerating cars in the world didn't come from a manufacturer like Ferrari or Lamborghini or even an ultra-exclusive exotic brand like Koenigsegg: it came from Dodge, the same company that made soccer mom minivans for over three decades. Dodge must have added several warlocks to the engineering team during the Demon's development. 

Subtlety flies out the window when a vehicle has the word Demon in the name and seems like it's actively trying to undermine society. There's nothing restrained or refined at all about a souped-up Challenger with drag slicks. The Demon existed to mock supercars. In its base configuration, the drag-racing sled didn't come with a passenger seat or back seats (although they could be added back for the princely sum of $1).

While exotics are designed to look good parked next to a yacht or excel at cruising around North Hollywood, the Demon was designed to frighten small children and invoke the wrath of every homeowner's association on the continent. Stylistically, the SRT Demon looked a lot like the SRT Hellcats — that's to say, a brick with a supercharger. Clock time aside, it's no small wonder the NHRA initially banned it. A Tesla P100D was first banned because it was too fast, the Demon might have been banned because it was too evil.

A Dodge made for evil

The Challenger SRT Demon was a street-legal drag car built by Dodge in 2018. Per the duPont Registry, the company had a goal of releasing only around 3,300 units and was, without a doubt, completely unhinged. Dodge took the already crazy SRT Hellcat and worked some of its street racing black magic. What came out was positively unholy. The Demon's supercharged 6.2L put out 840 horsepower when running on high-octane fuel and promised to melt anything but the absolute hardiest of drag slicks. Just the supercharger had a displacement of 2.7 liters. That's a larger displacement than some entire car engines. 

The Demon was made for the 1/4 mile drag strip, and that's where it really showed its hellacious power. It completed the 1/4 mile in just 9.9 seconds. The Demon went from 0 to 60 mph in just 2.3 seconds, as per the test by Car and Driver. For comparison, the Bugatti Chiron hypercar takes 2.4 seconds to reach 60 mph, and that car costs well over $3 million. The Demon had an MSRP of just over $86,000. The NHRA (National Hot Rod Association), the official governing body for professional drag racing, heard about the Demon, consulted a priest and other men of the cloth, and decided to ban it from the competition

Too fast to race

Up until 2022, NHRA rules stated that any car that went faster than 10 seconds on the drag strip needed a roll cage to compete safely. The Demon was not equipped with one from the factory. Initially, it seemed like the dark spirits responsible for the Demon were not concerned about safety. 

An NHRA ban looked like a bad thing for Dodge. After all, the car was purpose-built to drag race, but Mopar fans took that news in stride. What's cooler than a car that's officially recognized as too fast? Press releases from the time even boasted of the fact that it was banned. While Dodge was celebrating the ban, other fans of speed weren't so keen on the rules. Tesla's lightning-fast Model S P100D Plaid was also banned as it ran the 1/4 mile under 10 seconds, reports Autoweek. Something had to change. 

Rules are changing

Earlier this year, the NHRA changed course on their production car ruling. Now production cars newer than 2014 can test their mettle on the drag strip as long their time isn't any faster than nine seconds, according to Autoweek

The new rules now allow the Demon and other high-speed production cars to compete. The NHRA must have gotten tired of all the shadowy figures in black robes demanding them to let the SRT Demon race. That, or they saw that cars are only getting faster, and regulations need to keep up with the times. The new regulations did not outline whether or not an exorcism would need to be performed at the track.  

While the Demon's initial boast of being literally too fast to race is now moot, it's still a fantastically wild car. With the Challenger itself shuffling off its mortal coil, the Demon will be fondly remembered as an outrage to the laws of God and man. Though, as of 2022, Dodge has decided to discontinue its iconic Charger and Challenger lineup.