Dodge Challenger SRT8 proves its mettle at Targa Newfoundland

Here in The Garage, we were rooting hard for the Mopar team at the 2008 Targa Newfoundland. Not only is the Dodge Challenger built here in Ontario, but the piloto is none other than hometown boy Ralph Gilles. While many consider the Dodge icon to be as American as apple pie, there is a strong Canadian flavour to this go fast dessert.

Like any hi speed event on real roads, a car has to be tough as nails to even finish. Of the 70 cars that started the 2008 Targa, only 39 finished. On its first real race outing, the Challenger finished 2nd in class and 22nd overall. A great introduction for an enthusiastic team.

Enthusiasm is a big part of what carries a car like the Challenger to market, a consideration which is not lost on the folks at Chrysler. A second, production car was also on hand for the team to introduce to fans alongside the 540 horsepower rally car. The team met with fans at every chance and even dropped in at a couple of dealerships to spread the gospel of Mopar.

Read more from Team Mopar Underground after the break and check out an enormous gallery of images thanks to our friends at

St. John’s, NL. – Chrysler LLC Design Vice President, Ralph Gilles completed his second straight Targa finish in the last 3 years. Gilles driving a specially-prepared Dodge Challenger SRT8, alongside co-driver Karen Wagner managed to battle both mental and physical challenges by finishing second overall in their specific class and twenty-second overall amongst 70 total entrants in this years seventh edition of Targa Newfoundland.

Gilles driving the attractive one-off Super Sublime Green’ custom paint finish managed to battle hard into the final stage on Friday and finished 8:59 behind the winner in the Class 9 Modified Large segment securing second place. This effort allowed Team Mopar® Performance to finish twenty-second place overall or 10:22 behind the overall winner. Initially, there were 70 total participants in this years events of which only 39 were able to complete the 2200 kilometer program. “The car continued to perform better as we progressed through the legs of the program” said Gilles. “We were able to make up additional time from our setback on Wednesday where we took a five minute penalty” added Gilles.

In addition to the to the special paint, the car nicknamed “Samantha” has also been fitted with a selection of Mopar® Performance parts and Authentic accessories, all designed to help this special vehicle complete this arduous and demanding event. The car was mechanically sound and did not endure any issues. “The performance of the car is a true testament to how great our product is” stated Gilles. “At the end of the day, this quality factor transcends to our customers” smiled Gilles. Mopar® is Chrysler LLC’s original equipment parts manufacturer and distributor and each of the parts fitted to this SRT8 Challenger are available through the Mopar® distribution network via Chrysler, Jeep Dodge Retailers.

Under the hood, the Targa Challenger has a 540-horsepower Mopar® 392 Hemi® crate motor with 490 lb.-ft. of torque. It also features Mopar’s®: T/A hood, gauges, Holley throttle body and manual throttle cable, custom calibration for the programmable EMS (including launch/traction control) and custom Corsa exhaust. Its effort from Chrysler LLC certainly draws from the grass-roots spirit that Targa Newfoundland evokes. Team Mopar® Underground is a collaborative effort of volunteers from the Product Design Office, Street Racing Technology (SRT), Mopar®, UAW fabricators and mechanics.

The program also allowed for Gilles and his team to interact with local Targa fans throughout his eight days in the province. After each leg on the five day rally, Gilles had the opportunity to meet locals and showcase his Targa edition Challenger SRT8 along with a production version 2008 Dodge Challenger SRT8. “Both cars were extremely popular and attracted many of our great customers and hopefully some future ones as well” mentioned Gilles. “I can’t tell you how many people told me that the Challenger is their favorite car”. Gilles and Team Mopar® Underground also made two appearances at local dealerships of which they were greeted by a local Mopar® heritage club and roughly sixty enthusiastic customers.

The Newfoundland Chrysler, Jeep®, Dodge Retailers are a key sponsor in this event for the second straight appearance providing not only funds but also technical assistance to the team. For the first year, Sirius Canada has also partnered with Dodge and Mopar® Underground. SIRIUS Satellite Radio is available as a factory installed option on most Chrysler, Dodge, and Jeep vehicles and standard on most high trim lines. SIRIUS Satellite Radio includes 12 months bundled service on all Chrysler, Dodge, and Jeep® vehicles. SIRIUS Canada is also sponsor of the SIRIUS Satellite Radio President’s Challenge for OEM entries at Targa Newfoundland.

About Street and Racing Technology (SRT)
Street and Racing Technology (SRT) is Chrysler’s in-house performance engineering organization that focuses on five pillars for every SRT vehicle: bold exterior design that resonates with the brand image, a race-inspired interior, world-class ride and handling across a dynamic range, a standout powertrain and benchmark braking.

About the Dodge Brand
Dodge is Chrysler Canada’s best-selling brand and the fourth largest nameplate in the Canadian automotive market and has sold 105,345 units in Canada in 2008 through August. In 2007, Dodge sold more than 1.3 million vehicles in the global market.

The Dodge brand’s first crossover vehicle — the all-new 2009 Dodge Journey — is currently the number one selling crossover in Canada. Chrysler Canada retailers across the country are now taking orders for the 2009 Dodge Challenger, which will arrive this fall. Four models are available in Canada: Dodge Challenger SE, Dodge Challenger SXT, Dodge Challenger R/T and Dodge Challenger SRT8®. Pricing starts at $24,995 and the Dodge Challenger SE achieves 12.2 L/100 km / 23 (mpg) in the city and 8.1 L/100km 35 (mpg) on the highway.

This fall, Dodge will be launching the all-new 2009 Dodge Ram with game-changing exterior and interior design, innovations, best-in-class features and craftsmanship starting at $25,995.


  1. says

    Power comes from a 5.7L HEMI V8 that sits under a raised performance hood with functional hood scoops that increase engine cooling. It produces a total of 376-hp with a maximum torque of 410 lb-ft. Mated to a Tremec 6-speed manual transmission the Challenger R/T Classic can go from 0 to 60 mph in less than 6 seconds.


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