I woke up at 4:30am on Friday morning, got dressed and headed up to Monitcello Motor Club to do a little instructing with the National Auto Sport Association in their HPDE (high performance driver education) program. It’s always a great time and aside from trying to teach people how to fully enjoy their rides, we also get the perks of doing a little driving ourselves around some of the best road courses in the country. Most of the time I use my trusty 1968 Dodge Charger for track duty, but since it’s been vacationing out on the west coast for the past few months I decided to hit the track in my 2006 Dodge Magnum SRT8.
Now some people might scoff at the notion of bringing a 4200 pound, 16.5 foot station wagon to the race track, but not me… you see, I like em’ BIG! The SRT8 version of Dodge’s now defunct Magnum was released in 2006 and came equipped with all the bells and whistles that Dodge put in all their SRT8 vehicles. That means it has a 6.1L 425 hp HEMI that pumps out 420 lb-ft torque, 14 inch rotors with Brembo calipers, SRT-tuned dampers and massive anti-sway bars. Now, does this mean that this thing will eat up Corvette’s and Porsche’s on a road course? Well… no, but with the right driver behind the wheel the big uber wagon does have the ability to catch a few high end sports cars with their pants down if they’re not looking, the 170 mph top end doesn’t hurt either.
Running the big Maggie on the track is a lot of fun, but at the end of the day you need to know its limitations. For instance… the big wagon will be dead even or faster with quite a few older Porsche’s, M3’s and or Corvette’s. Eventually though you will have to slow down and turn the great beast. This means letting the other guys go past because hauling this sucker to a stop, whilst at the same time trying to throw it into a corner can be tricky business. Get it right though and it can be very rewarding. I had a great time with the Magnum on Friday, but truth be told, I really need a dedicated track car. Sure its fun and relatively fast, but a track weapon it simply is not. Sure you can track it, but like anything else that is being used outside of its intended purpose after awhile you’re simply beating a dead horse. Who knows, maybe one day I’ll be able to run out and buy a Corvette or Porsche, as for right now though I guess I’ll just be sticking with what I’ve got in the form of my 16.5 foot, 4200 lb. track wagon.