5,000 Mile NT555 RII Review: Nitto's Drag Radial on a Dodge Charger Hellcat
Although Dodge’s Hellcat lineup has been available for nearly a decade, the accessibility of that level of power to the general public is still difficult to take for granted. For all the complaints about old platforms, and high weight numbers, the fact that anyone can go into a dealership (better hurry!) and purchase a 700+hp sedan for the price of a mid-tier full size SUV is still wild in 2023.
With great power, however, comes a need for great responsibility. Keeping that power in line is a big ask for any set of tires, especially when one begins to add modifications. Owner Chandler Sanderson installed a pair of 315/35/20 Nitto NT555 RII D.O.T.-compliant competition drag radials on his 2022 Dodge Charger Hellcat, and currently has over 5,000 miles on this set.
Turning Up the Hellcat
Allow us to apply a little context—Chandler has done minimal mods to his muscle sedan. Under the hood, he’s added a Legmaker intake, Ripatuned pulley, and supporting tune. A Corsa exhaust adds some aural kick while evacuating spent gasses. Altogether, the combination should give the Charger around 850hp to the wheels.
Having that amount of power available in a street car is what ultimately led Chandler away from the stock rubber. He said, “I equipped this car with drag radials due to the fact that the factory all seasons had ZERO traction. After hours of researching online, I finally came to the conclusion that Nitto was the tire to go with. I chose the NT555RIIs because it seemed like the perfect drag tire for someone who does a mixture of racing, road trips, and just driving around town.”
While the NT555RII is an aggressive choice for a street driven vehicle, Nitto has taken care to engineer a level of road-worthiness for these drag radials. While the high-grip compound and semi-racing construction provide increased traction at the track, the large circumferential grooves aid in wet handling on the road.
Although the Hellcat is not his daily, it isn’t a trailer queen either. He says, “I do not daily the car, but I do drive it every weekend and have taken it on several road trips with these tires. They are comfortable and quiet, yet get very sticky if heated up properly on the track.”
“Longer trips with these tires have been a breeze,” he says. “They have driven in the rain a handful of times and unlike some drag radials, I feel like these direct the water properly and are still very comfortable to cruise in wet conditions.”
Getting the Power to the Pavement
So with plenty of confidence during the tamer miles on the street, how have the RII’s performed with spirited driving? “The biggest performance benefit is the traction. The all-seasons that came factory on this car would spin at 60 miles per hour if I put my foot to the floor. With the RII’s, I am able to hook between 30-40 miles mph with foot to the floor driving.”
With large outer tread blocks, and a set of large twin center ribs, the RIIs provide a continuous contact patch for dry traction. When working in tandem with the race rubber compound, Chandler can ensure more of that 850hp makes it to the road under throttle.
Modern Looks, Modern Performance
While aesthetic concerns are usually further down the list for large power builds, Chandler has been careful to preserve the modern, clean appearance of his Hellcat. While tall sidewall drag radials have their place, the 20x11 Velgen wheels required something that flowed with the entire car. Nitto’s ability to add this level of traction to a 35 series tire speaks to the incredible engineering that went into the RII.
Very few lightly modded cars will need drag radials, but the Hellcat is a different animal. Finding a tire that has the flexibility to function effectively on the track and the street has historically required too many concessions to be made for either purpose to truly be represented well.
The Nitto NT555 RII, however, is a thoroughly modern tire that offers the best of both worlds. This is a tire that can be driven responsibility year round in warmer climates, but also offers the level of traction that modern high-horsepower cars like the Charger Hellcat require, both on and off track.
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