March 13, 2014,
The much anticipated debut of Mopar’s newest Pro Stock class vehicle, the Dodge Dart, will take place this weekend at the National Hot Rod Association (NHRA) Gatornationals, following its reveal by world champion drivers Allen Johnson and Jeg Coughlin Jr. at Two Tails Ranch near Gainesville, Fla., on Thursday.
Joining the Dodge Charger R/T in the Funny Car class and the Dodge Challenger in Sportsman competition, the Dodge Dart was chosen as the next generation Pro Stock vehicle and developed on a virtual platform, using production-based technology and tools used for street vehicles, with Chrysler Group LLC race and production engineers working hand-in-hand with the race teams.
The new Dodge Dart race car design was validated with aerodynamic wind tunnel testing at Chrysler Group headquarters in Auburn Hills, Mich., in late February, then made its first test runs at Bradenton (Fla.) Motorsports Park prior to arriving in Gainesville for the third national event on the NHRA Mello Yello Drag racing season schedule.
Retiring from competition with Johnson’s win at the last NHRA event in Phoenix, the four-door Dodge Avenger ends its run as the most successful of Mopar racecars in its class after claiming a total of 27 NHRA national titles and a record 28 No.1-qualifier positions, in addition to consecutive championships in 2012 and 2013.
Two Dodge Dart cars will make their competition debut at this weekend’s prestigious national event with defending title holder Johnson and five- time Pro Stock Champion Coughlin at the controls, while Vieri Gaines will join the fray in a few weeks upon completion of his new HEMI-powered racecar.
“We are very excited to launch the Dodge Dart, and along with our Mopar fans, to see what Allen (Johnson) and Jeg (Coughlin Jr.) can accomplish with this new vehicle as they vie for a third championship in the high-performance and ultra-competitive Pro Stock division,” said Pietro Gorlier, President and CEO of Mopar, Chrysler Group’s service, parts and customer-care brand. “The new Dart is a testament of how Mopar uses the motorsports program as a technological proving ground with Chrysler’s own leading-edge technology and production processes. We have great expectations for its on-track success.
“Mopar also is very pleased to extend our partnership with Magneti Marelli to include primary sponsorship of Allen’s new Pro Stock in order to continue to raise awareness for our brands and quality products while bolstering our collective support and commitment to NHRA drag racing.”
Johnson’s HEMI- powered Dodge Dart will carry the “Magneti Marelli Quality Auto Parts Offered by Mopar” sponsorship as an extension of Mopar’s partnership with Magneti Marelli. Their racing alliance was initiated in 2012 and developed into a primary sponsorship the following year, sharing in Don Schumacher Racing driver Matt Hagan’s successful runner-up championship season.
“We at Magneti Marelli are very enthusiastic to be the main sponsor of Allen Johnson’s new Dodge Dart NHRA Pro Stock car and team for 2014,” said Pietro Berardi, CEO Magneti Marelli Aftermarket. “We have co-sponsored Allen for two years now and he has proven to be a great asset for our company with his excellent performance of becoming 2012 Pro Stock World Champion and coming close again in 2013 with the second place in the overall championship. Also this year, Allen is off to a great start already with a win in Phoenix under his belt for 2014.
“Allen and his entire team are very gracious with our customers who are always excited to meet the racing legends of Pro Stock racing,” Berardi added. “It is great that the new vehicle will be revealed at the Gatornationals as this is where Magneti Marelli started its very first NHRA involvement in 2012 and Allen has proven to be a great brand builder for Magneti Marelli with the target customer group of racing enthusiasts and independent repair facility workers. We are hoping and wishing for a very successful 2014 season for Allen and his team.”
The partnership between Mopar and Magneti Marelli first came to fruition in April 2011, combining Mopar’s more than 75 years of U.S. automotive parts and service prowess with Magneti Marelli’s 95 years of international automotive parts experience to create an automotive parts giant that provides quality parts for all major make and model vehicles.
The “all makes” parts program for the North American aftermarket gives the Chrysler Group dealership network the ability to service competitive make and model vehicles with high-quality parts at an exceptional value, creating one-stop service and parts shops for customers.
As part of the year-long celebration of the 50th
anniversary of the GEN II 426 Race HEMI, Mopar also revealed a special paint scheme on DSR Matt Hagan Dodge Charger R/T that includes a tribute to the HEMI “Elephant”, a nickname given to the legendary power plant. The new look will make its competition premier in July for the NHRA Mopar Mile High Nationals at Bandimere Speedway in Morrison, Colo., outside of Denver.
About Mopar Motorsports
Mopar’s commitment to professional motorsports competition was established in the 1950s when a partnership ignited with drag racing pioneer Don Garlits, resulting in the breaking of numerous speed and performance barriers in HEMI®-powered vehicles over the next several decades. In 2014, Mopar celebrates the 50th anniversary of the introduction of the GEN III 426 Race HEMI® and looks to defend back-to-back NHRA World Championship titles (2012-2013) in the Pro Stock class and battle for another Funny Car World Championship after wins in 2011-2012. While Mopar remains involved in a various professional motorsports series, it continues to honour its roots by being a proud supporter of amateur racing within the NHRA with its sponsorship of the HEMI Challenge and Mopar Sportsman Cup.
Mopar (a simple contraction of the words Motor and PARts) was trademarked in 1937 with the launch of an antifreeze product but truly made its mark in the 1960s during the muscle-car era. From Mopar Performance Parts to enhance speed and handling for both road and racing use, the brand soon expanded to include technical service and customer support.
Today, Mopar is FCA’s service, parts and customer-care brand and distributes more than 500,000 parts and accessories in more than 130 markets, integrating service, parts and customer-care operations in order to enhance dealer and customer support worldwide. Mopar is the source for genuine parts and accessories for FCA brands.
Mopar parts are unique in that they are engineered with the same teams that create factory-authorized vehicle specifications for FCA vehicles – a direct connection that no other aftermarket parts company can provide. A complete list of Mopar accessories and performance parts is available at www.mopar.com
Mopar has introduced numerous industry-first features including:
- Vehicle-information apps: first to introduce smartphone vehicle-information applications, a new channel of communication with customers
- Electronic owner manuals: first to introduce traditional owner manuals in a DVD and brief user-guide format. First to offer complete vehicle-information kits in Spanish
- Wi-Fi: first to offer customers the ability to make their vehicle a wireless hot spot
- Wireless charging: first to introduce in-vehicle wireless charging for portable devices
- Electronic Vehicle Tracking System (EVTS): first to market with interactive vehicle tracking device that sends owner a text when vehicle is driven too fast or too far based on pre-set parameters
- wiAdvisor: first to provide factory-connected tablet technology in the service lane for instant vehicle diagnosis
- wiTech: first to support vehicle diagnosis and software updates leveraging off-the-shelf personal computers and a dedicated wireless tool network
- 2011 Mopar Challenger Drag Pak: first to introduce a 500-plus cubic-inch V-10 drag-race package car