Mopar unveils 2011 Dodge Avenger Rally Car

Article by Christian Andrei, on April 21, 2011

Chrysler’s Mopar service wanted to create the ultimate racer to commemorate its new partnership with aftermarket supplier Magneti Marelli and that’s how it came to build the Dodge Avenger Rally Car. Technically, it’s a concept but since nearly all parts used in its modification will be available at Mopar service centers months from now, it could very easily become the real deal.

The performance parts added include Mopar accessories and equipment from Magneti Marelli. Weeks ago, the team took a 2011 Dodge Avenger Heat that features the 3.6-liter Pentastar V-6 and then it installed a cold-air intake and cat-back exhaust, adding 17hp to its power to achieve 300hp.

It has also been equipped with four-piston calipers that latch onto drilled and vented discs, specifically 14.25-inches in front and 13.5 in the rear. It was also given a one-of-a-kind, single-lever, dual-control handbrake that gives it the capability of individually braking either rear wheel to pull out of mid-corner slides. Power is sent via a paddle-shifted variant of Dodge’s six-speed autostick automatic transmission, and is distributed to all four wheels through the Avenger’s stock all-wheel-drive system.

The Avenger Rally Car is lighter by about 200 pounds than the stock version. To reduce the weight, the team gutted the interior and gave it a couple of OMP racing buckets with five-point harnesses, an 8-point roll cage, an OMP racing steering wheel, and a distinctive center stack that accommodates a one-gigabyte data logger with GPS tracking.

Bringing the Avenger closer to the ground by 1.5 inches was made possible with a lowered suspension. The vehicle now rides on a set of 18-inch alloy wheels covered in 225/650 R18 Pirelli P-Zero competition tires. Mopar has evolved from being just an aftermarket parts supplier. Chrysler looks at the brand as its main means of giving aftersales service and maintenance but it doesn’t necessarily limit to its own products.

What Mopar’s partnership with Magneti Marelli means is that the dealers’ stock of body, electrical, and mechanical parts will be expanded to several mainstream brands such as Toyota, Honda, Nissan, Ford, Hyundai, and Kia. As a result, Mopar technicians will have the capabilities of servicing nearly any vehicle that enters their bay. At the later part of April, Mopar centers will start to offer Magneti Marelli parts. The centers will also now be open at least six days a week.

Press Release

Mopar Unveils Avenger Rally Car to Celebrate New Relationship with Magneti Marelli

A new Dodge Avenger rally car was unveiled today at Chrysler Group LLC's Mopar Complex in Center Line, Mich., heralding the first collaboration in the brand's newly announced relationship with Magneti Marelli.

The public will get their first glimpse of the vehicle up close at the New York International Auto Show, April 22–May 1.

"Our Dodge Avenger Rally car showcases Mopar's new relationship with Magneti Marelli," said Pietro Gorlier, President and CEO of Mopar, Chrysler Group's service, parts and customer-care brand. "Our companies worked closely together to bring this vehicle to life in a joint build that utilizes proven, quality-tested performance parts and accessories from Mopar and Magneti Marelli. We will gauge reaction to this vehicle and determine which parts will go into production."

Mopar's choice of a rally car to christen the new alliance with Magneti Marelli found its roots in the Italian aftermarket parts supplier's rich tradition in rally car competition in Europe, as well as the rising popularity of the motorsport in the United States. The build was conducted at Mopar's accessory and performance parts lab in Center Line, Mich., where the vehicle was prepared. The result is a rally car that blends American flair with distinct European tradition.

"This is a purpose-built vehicle with collaborative parts from Magneti Marelli and Mopar," said Dino Maggioni, CEO of Magneti Marelli Aftermarket. "We selected Magneti Marelli and Mopar parts, adapted them to the Dodge Avenger and made them unique. The result is a fascinating blend of these two iconic brands."

Starting with a stock 2011 Dodge Avenger Heat, Mopar and Magneti Marelli engineers transformed the vehicle into a race-inspired vehicle equipped to handle the most challenging rally courses, while reducing the weight of the vehicle by nearly 200 pounds.

The Dodge Avenger's interior was stripped down to bare essentials then outfitted with a variety of unique Mopar and Magneti Marelli parts to complete the conversion into a rally car, including a purpose-built center stack and console with a compact high-performance 1 GB data logger and an integrated GPS and inertial platform with real-time calculation of pitch and roll angles. A full 8-point Mopar roll cage, race seats with 5-point racing harnesses, steering wheel and diamond-plate foot well from OMP, a world-renowned racing component manufacturer, round out the interior transformation.

A new Dodge Pentastar 3.6-liter V-6 engine powers the Dodge Avenger rally car, controlled by paddle shifts integrated into the steering wheel. To enhance performance, the exhaust system and Mopar cold-air intake boost horsepower from 283 bhp to 300 bhp. A high-performance Mopar/Magneti Marelli braking system provides a stable, solid braking performance under all driving conditions for the Dodge Avenger. As part of this braking package, a single-lever, dual-control rear braking system, which allows the driver to actuate both rear brakes in order to initiate the sudden slides and turns required in negotiating tough rally courses, is included.

A special Mopar/Magneti Marelli-modified suspension lowers the ride of the Dodge Avenger by 1.5 inches, improving handling, cornering ability and response as the vehicle zooms over rally course obstacles on durable Pirelli tires and unique Mopar/Magneti Marelli 18-inch alloy racing wheels. The exterior is finished in Brilliant Black and features a Mopar/Magneti Marelli graphics wrap with a rear spoiler, hood and mud flaps.

Upon completion of the vehicle, engineers conducted extensive performance testing at Chrysler Group's proving grounds in Chelsea, Mich.

Following is information on Mopar's Dodge Avenger Rally Car:

CHASSIS

Stock 2011 Dodge Avenger Heat

INTERIOR

Flat carbon fiber inner door panels
Mopar/Magneti Marelli unique carbon-fiber hydra-graphics center stack
Mopar/Magneti Marelli fully programmable slim racing display with shift lights and alarm multi-color LEDs
Mopar/Magneti Marelli unique carbon-fiber hydra-graphics center console
OMP racing seats, branded Mopar
OMP 5-point racing harnesses
OMP steering wheel with Mopar/Magneti Marelli integrated paddle-shift system
OMP footrests
Mopar full 8-point roll cage
Mopar/Magneti Marelli fire extinguisher
Mopar/Magneti Marelli compact high-performance 1 GB data logger
GPS box with integrated inertial platform with real-time calculation of pitch and roll angles

UNDERHOOD

Dodge Pentastar 3.6-liter V-6 engine
Mopar tower-to-tower cross-car brace
Mopar cold-air intake
Mopar Cat-Back Exhaust w/Magneti Marelli tips
Mopar/Magneti Marelli high-performance ECU with TC, DBW, VVT

BRAKES/GEARBOX

Mopar/Magneti Marelli rally package rear brake system, with hand-operated rally brake
Mopar/Magneti Marelli unique front brakes with 14.25-inch diameter front rotors and 13.5-inch diameter rear rotors
Mopar/Magneti Marelli unique paddle-gear shift
Mopar/Magneti Marelli shift knob
Stock 6-speed 62TE autostick transmission

SUSPENSION

Mopar/Magneti Marelli suspension system, lowering the car 1.5-inches

WHEELS/TIRES

Mopar/Magneti Marelli 18-inch alloy racing wheels
225/650 R18 competition Pirelli P-Zero tires

EXTERIOR

Mopar/Magneti Marelli unique rear spoiler
OMP hood pins
Mopar/Magneti Marelli unique mud flaps
Mopar and Magneti Marelli graphics, with logos from sponsor Shell Lubricants
Mopar Brilliant Black body color

Mopar-First Features

Mopar has introduced numerous industry-first features including:

Camper trailers: first to introduce off-road camper trailers
Vehicle-information smartphone apps: first to introduce smartphone vehicle-information applications, a new channel of communication with consumers
Electronic owner manuals: first to introduce traditional owner manuals in a DVD and brief user-guide format
Electronic Vehicle Tracking System (EVTS): first to introduce new vehicle tracking system that sends owner a text when vehicle is driven too fast or too far based on set parameters
2011 Challenger Drag Pak: first to introduce a 500-plus cubic-inch V-10 drag-race package car
WiFi: first to offer customers the ability to make their vehicle a wireless hot spot
WiTECH: first to support vehicle diagnosis and software updates leveraging off-the-shelf personal computers and a dedicated wireless tool network

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