Car heaven at Road America
Nobody ever has to ask a second time if Mark and I want to attend an event at Road America. For us, the track, located in Elkhart Lake, Wis., is one of the most fun locations we visit in the automotive world. We were among the 80 plus media members from across the country given the opportunity to check out more than 90 new vehicles at the Midwest Automotive Media Association’s (MAMA) annual Spring Rally held May 23-24.
The automakers select the event to show off their latest cars, trucks, and SUV’s in a variety of driving opportunities including on-track, street, off-road and autocross. Yup, we get a chance to drive some of the cars on-track, like the 2018 Mercedes-Benz GT-R.
A car that pleads to get driven hard
Well of course they’re not just going to toss us the keys to the car and tell us to go have some fun. To have even more fun we have a professional driver who knows the car and the track much better than we do.
This car has a beast for an engine, a twin-turbocharged 4.0-liter V-8. At 577 horsepower and 516 lb-ft of torque, the GT R’s dry-sump power plant produces 74 horsepower and 37 lb-ft of torque more than the GT S model. Boost. provided from two turbos, increases from 17.4 to 19.6 psi. Hop in and go for a spin.
A couple of hooligans from Dodge
What if you took the Dodge Challenger Hellcat, which is already faster than snot and make it stick to the track even better? Well than you’d have the Challenger SRT® Hellcat Widebody. this version of the Hellcat is a $6,000 performance package making the car stick like glue to the road. It’s 3.5 inches wider, with fender flares to fit the giant all-season tires. Hop and buckle up tight.
And not wanting a perfectly good 707 hp engine sitting around doing nothing, Dodge put it in the Durango. It will do a 12.9 quarter-mile and at times think it’s a sports car. This SUV has tons of attitude.
We get our Jeep fix, again
While Road America is best known for the race track, it also has a really nice off-road track. This is where I drove the brand-new Jeep Wrangler Unlimited to see what it would do in a different setting and it did great as you can see from the smile on my face.
But I was more interested in the 2019 Jeep Cherokee Trailhawk and how it would hand the rocks, slippery climbs and one very steep descent. With the hill assist on, it was hands and feet off as it gently rolled down the hill. I did this a couple of time as did Mark as you see here in this video clip.
Subaru’s WRX STi Type RA: Fast family fun
It could be used as a grocery getter during the day but on the weekends, this Subaru’s place is at the race track.
The Type RA stands for “record attempt” in Subaru’s vaunted racing history, including a 2017 Nurburgring speed record for a four-door sedan in a modified STi Type RA. Hop in a come along with Mark as he drove it like he stole it at Road America.
The highlight of the day, the Ford GT
MAMA sends us the list of vehicles scheduled to be at the event the day before. When I opened the mail attachment my daughter heard me giggling. At what? Not that there weren’t plenty of cool cars to drive but included on the list was the coolest of the cool, a 2018 Ford GT! You should have been at Road America to see the heads turn whenever it went by, and that sound. You would have also seen miles of smiles after members got to hop in and take a hot lap around the course, with a Ford driver of course.