What It’s Like to Go 600 MPH in a Performance Car. On the Ground. On a Drag Strip

Dodge Demon Performance Car

OK, not really, but almost. The Dodge Demon is scary, fast fun.

On the first pass I almost passed out. Seriously.

OK, to be completely fair, we weren’t actually going 600 MPH, we went about 90 MPH, but in an eighth of a mile. So in theory, if this car could continue its launch speed it could hit 600MPH, but in reality, top speed is 168MPH.

But we did hit fighter jet-type 1.6 G force, which is known to make people pass out, and I almost did.

I like performance driving and I like speed, so when I was offered the opportunity to drive the Dodge Demon, the ultimate performance car introduced by Dodge earlier this year, I had to say yes, right?

That we would drive it on a drag strip with professional driving coaches made it all that much better.

Dodge Demon Performance Car

Girls get your helmets on! This is a requirement for any sort of performance driving. Photo: Scotty Reiss

Girls, Get Your Helmets On; This is a Head-Spinner

Dodge invited a group of journalists to a drag strip in Atco, New Jersey, where we were instructed in the mechanics of getting the most out of a launch on a strip. There’s much more to it than I’d have guessed. The wheels are slick. The track is sticky. The car needs to heat up its rear wheels by spinning them until they smoke. The engine needs to be running high before you ‘launch’ the car.

This means that inside the Demon there is a lot to do to ensure it delivers optimal performance. After listening to instructors, we put on helmets and hopped into the Demon’s passenger seat and wow was I glad there was an instructor behind the wheel. He went through the process again:

A lot to remember right???

But the end result was pretty awesome. This is what it looks like from the stands:

Did you see the front end LIFT OFF the ground? That’s 1.6+ Gs at work. Now you can see why I nearly passed out. I literally felt the blood rush from my head and the air whoosh from my chest. And it wasn’t just me. Many of the other drivers—mostly men, and many who had driven on a drag strip before— said the same thing: THIS can be a scary experience and it requires preparation.

Don’t miss this: Why you should learn performance driving

Dodge Demon Performance Car

The Demon, like other Dodge Challengers, has a focused look to its face. Photo: Scotty Reiss

Would YOU Consider Buying This Car?

In truth, an 840 horsepower car probably isn’t at the top of every girl’s shopping list. In fact, the Demon might be the *fear* that you have lurking on someone else’s wish list. But who isn’t curious about what it’s like to go 0-60 MPH in roughly 4 seconds?

Yes, there are cars that can do that but not your typical drive-off-the-lot production car. Usually they need a lot of work by a mechanic to achieve the physics and power it takes to compete at the drag strip.

And, there are limitations. First, the Demon, which is an adaptation of the Dodge Challenger, is $86,000, so not in every drag racing dreamer’s budget. And, there are only 3,300 of them (3000 for the US, 300 for Canada). So it will be a collector’s item for sure. 

Read this too: Taking the Dodge Hellcat for a spin

Dodge Demon Performance Car

This screen shows the track settings, which let you ensure your Demon is optimized for its best performance. Photo: Scotty Reiss

The Dodge Demon Demands the Right Owner—Is This Really the Car for You?

For those run-of-the-mill horsepower hags, the Dodge Hellcat has power aplenty; its 707 horsepower is enough to launch the car right through rear wall of your garage if you put it in the wrong gear and tap the accelerator too hard.

The Demon takes it up with horsepower almost equal to that of a Dodge Dart. This car is designed for owners who will put the time and energy into learning how to correctly handle and drive this car.

And remember, it’s a street car, so it can be dangerous in the hands of an inexperienced or unprepared driver.

Dodge Demon Performance Car

Each of the 3,300 Demons built will be dedicated to the customer who orders it. Photo: Scotty Reiss

Luckily, Dodge has thought of that. The Demon comes with its own insurance policy, and things like passenger seats and rear seats are not standard; they are options. The process of buying a Demon will demand a lot of attention; this is not a casual purchase. It’s a dream, maybe, but then, isn’t hitting 1.6 Gs and feeling the power, force and lift of 840 horsepower a fun dream to have?

Ready to take the performance driving plunge? How I went from stopwatch girl to girl racer

Disclosure: I was a guest of Dodge for this drive experience; accommodations, instruction and access to the Demon were provided. All opinions are my own.

Dodge Demon Performance Car

Me and my Demon, fresh off the drag strip. Photo: Scotty Reiss

Journalist, entrepreneur and mom. Expertise includes new cars, family cars, 3-row SUVs, child passenger car seats and automotive careers... More about Scotty Reiss