2018 Jeep Grand Cherokee Trackhawk Super Sleeper
We live in an amazing automotive time period. Unheard of a few decades ago, there are multiple non-exotic, street legal cars offered to the public with over 700hp. Dodge was leading the insane horsepower battles with the supercharged Hellcat 6.2L V8, that makes 707hp and 645 lb-ft of torque, and then had the brilliant idea in to put that engine into an all-wheel drive SRT8 Jeep Grand Cherokee and thus, the Jeep Grand Cherokee Trackhawk was born. It’s a heavy SUV that will do 0-60mph in the low three-second range—which is downright crazy.
It’s easy to understand the draw of a machine like this—and it just so happens that a gentleman named Justin Keith was drawn to this car like a tractor beam. “I purchased the Jeep Trackhawk after test driving one and completely fell in love with the power delivery and how well it drove. It’s truly an amazing machine,” Justin said. “Plus, you can put five people in it so it’s relatively practical.”
Justin is every bit the modern muscle car connoisseur—he owns Street Car Takeover, the largest street car drag race series in the nation. Plus, he’s got a garage filled with cars touting quadruple horsepower figures like a C7 Corvette with 1600hp, a ZL1 Camaro with 1000hp, and 1000hp+ 2019 Hellcat Redeye. So, what could this guy be looking for when he already has a bunch of cars like that? “I wanted a fast, all-wheel drive SUV and was curious about the Trackhawk, so I tried it out to see what everyone was talking about. Now, it’s honestly my favorite to drive,” Justin said.
Besides it’s mind-blowing stats and specs, the TrackHawk is a performance vehicle that is subtle. The exterior, while clean with pleasing lines, by no means shouts, “lets race!” It’s a sleeper, but that’s OK. Just because the car has gobs of horsepower doesn’t mean it needs to be flaunted everywhere. Justin didn’t want to ruin the sleeper façade of the vehicle, so after purchasing the Jeep, he kept the mods under the hood and within the wheel wells.
While the Trackhawk is by no means svelte, weighing in at over 5,000 lbs., it does have a distinct advantage over its traditional muscle car brethren—it delivers power to the ground from all four wheels. In order to keep the tires planted during hard acceleration he beefed up the rear suspension with a kit from BWoody. A set of 20x10” Velgen lightweight, forged wheels were bolted to all four corners of the SUV along with four of Nitto’s new NT420V luxury performance 295/45R20 tires, providing the ultimate street-tire traction and curb-side good-looks. “I like street driving the Trackhawk more than my other cars because it gets traction everywhere and you don’t have to worry about the tires spinning,” Justin said.
Now, 707hp is a lot of power, but any gearhead will tell you that it’s never enough, so what did Keith do? He had his friends at Killer Performance, a shop that specializes in late-model GM, Ford, and Dodge in Kansas City, Missouri work on the engine so it would make 910hp and 860 lb-ft of torque at the wheels. But that engine was already making so much power—it couldn’t have been easy to increase it by so much, right? Wrong. Turns out, Dodge made it simple to bump up the power output even further. All Killer Performance had to do was install a new pulley system, thermostat, 1500cc injectors, methanol injection, and an exhaust system. Then he used a Justune custom tune to tie all the new components together. Finally, he didn’t want to break drivetrain components with all the additional power, so he upgraded his axles and driveshaft to GForce’s top of the line parts.
Justin’s not the type of guy that just bolts on horsepower so he can brag about numbers, he races too. It wasn’t long before he had finished his modification and made a few runs down the track. “This is one of the many reasons why I love the Trackhawk. It’s an SUV that runs low 10's in the 1/4 mile with minimal mods—what’s not to love?”
Apparently, Justin is fated to own a Trackhawk. “I sold this one to buy a new Cadillac CTS-V but after selling the Trackhawk, the CTS-V I had been looking at sold to someone else. I couldn't find another one that I liked for the price, so I ended up buying another Trackhawk. My new one is 1 of 6 olive green metallic 2019 Trackhawks in the entire world.” Justin continued, “It’s got 100 miles on it and we’re already making mods- similar to before, but we’re going to go a little bigger this time and I’m adding a 125hp shot of nitrous—I’m hoping to go mid-nines in the quarter with it.”