The racing world wouldn’t be nearly as interesting without people like Onur Can. Without people like him, all we’d ever see at the track are Miatas, 3 series BMWs, Corvettes, Camaros and Mustangs. But we do have people like Can, and because of people like him, we get to see things like his 2016 Charger Hellcat storming the tracks frequented by NASA Northeast.
Like most of us, Can has been a car guy since birth. Like many of us, when he got married and had three kids, he found there wasn’t enough room in, say, an American muscle car. He needed four doors and room for three kids in the back seat.
“I really like the Camaro. I like the Mustang, but those are only four seaters. So when the Hellcat came out I was like, this is it. And then I bought the car as a weekend cruiser. So I’d take my family for a ride in the weekend and then in the same time I’m in NASA, right? So, one day I took it to the track, and when I took it to the track I was like, this car belongs to the track. Because with that horsepower, you can’t really enjoy the cars on the street. You’ll get in trouble really fast. So that’s the reason I tried to pull the trigger.”
That trigger should be familiar to anyone reading this story. What is not as familiar to people whose track cars are Miatas and BMWs is the things Can had to do to get this car to behave itself on track. At 4,805 pounds in stock trim, this car was no lightweight. Can began by stripping out the car as fully as possible and was able to shed 1,000 pounds, but when he installed the roll cage, it was back up to 4,000 pounds without a driver. That’s still a whole lotta Rosie, but that’s where it sits today.
The first problem he had solve was getting the rear half shafts to survive. In fact, he went through several sets of rear axles. To find the problem, he put a GoPro under the car to see what was going on. Turns out the CV boots get really close to the mufflers when you lower the car, and heat from the exhaust expands the boots, which then rupture and empty themselves of grease, and the joint fails. Simply adding header wrap to the exhaust fixed that problem, so Can could move on to addressing other challenges.
At 4,200 pounds with a driver, stopping the car was important. The car comes from the factory with six-piston front calipers, but a known trick is to install six-piston calipers from a Dodge Viper, which is fitted with titanium pistons that transfer far less braking heat. The Viper caliper uses the same pads, but they are smaller, which allows Can to run 19-inch wheels instead of the factory 20-inch hoops. The 19-inch wheels offer more tire options, which are less expensive and lighter.
“Actually Wesley Motorsports came up with the idea. They also tracked their Hellcat,” Can said. “Kevin Wesley, I owe him a lot. Anytime I needed him, he’s there Monday, Saturday, weekends, at night. You could also say Wesley Motorsports is one of my sponsors. They kind of sponsor me with the data and track support.”
To handle the “modest” 750 horsepower in ST1 trim — the car can make 1,050 horsepower with a different tune and Q16 VP Racing fuel — Can switched to a ZF 8HP90 Eight-speed automatic by Suncoast Performance. The Suncoast unit shifts harder and faster and uses a different torque converter.
For aerodynamics, Can made the splitter and the canards on the front of the car. He also installed a rear wing from Faircloth Composites and leaned on Wesley Motorsports to help him get everything dialed in.
“Once I had the bigger rear wing, the car squats a lot and we had to go with the stiffer rear springs to prevent the tires touching to the wheel well and more down force in the front,” he said. “Once we added to front aero, the entry understeering was a lot less, and now I have a midturn understeering problem that we trying to fix.”
To address that, he’s running 345-width tires front and rear and has removed about 70 pounds of weight from the cooling system in the front and put that weight in the trunk, as explained in the next few paragraphs.
In addition to addressing braking, shifting and handling, Can had to find a way to get the supercharger on the Hellcat engine to endure the rigors of road racing. For street use or a quarter-mile blast, which goes by in 11.2 seconds, according to Dodge, the intercooled supercharger works fine. For road racing, sustained high rpm for upward of 20 to 35 minutes at a time, it gets hot. It got so hot he had a couple of failures before installing a water-methanol injection system from Snow Performance.
“I added water methanol injection, it helped tons. The intake air temperature went from a 172 to 140. And it was still high, but it was in the safe range,” Can said. “And then after losing two superchargers, I found out about that. I added the water methanol and no problem.”
Can wanted to safeguard things bit further because if the water methanol system failed for any reason, the next failure is the supercharger. He has since added an IC Chiller system to the car, which uses air conditioning refrigerant to cool the intake air charge, and reduce coolant temperatures. Now, because Can removed the air-conditioning compressor, he needed to come up with a solution. Even if he had left the compressor on the car, it wouldn’t have done him any good because the compressor disengages at 4,000 rpm, which won’t work on a track.
Can sourced an electric compressor system built in Australia, which powers the IC Chiller system. He also had to upgrade his alternator to 400 amps to be able to power the compressor and upgrade the wiring. If that sounds like a lot of amperage, it is.
“Even from the manufacturer, it’s a good alternator. Hellcat alternators are 200 amp. But when you have a dual pump and the extra pump for the water methanol and all this stuff, it pulls a lot,” Can said. “So it wasn’t catching up with the draw because the AC compressor that I got, it requires a 100 amp alternator itself. Now I’ve got a 400 amp alternator. I can run a supermarket with that.”
Adding the chiller was his offseason project, as was thinning the wiring harness, but those both ended up taking longer than he expected, and he hasn’t yet been able to race the car in the 2023 season. The wiring harness project ended up being a comedy of errors, but Can has the car back up and running. For what’s left of this season and the new season in 2024, he’s leaving SU and TTU and moving to the burgeoning Super Touring 1 field in the NASA Northeast region.
“All fast guys are there. Eric Magnussen is there, all the Corvette guys. The guys I am going to be competing with, they’re all Corvette guys, Porsche guys, Ferrari, all those guys. I say, why not? We are there to have fun,” Can said, adding that he didn’t install a larger pulley to preserve the power he has. “So I switched. Now I’m competing with the ST1 guys, and I have a disadvantage with the weight and the turns. I slow down more than they do, so while on the straights, I want to take advantage of the full power.”
|4,000 lbs. without driver
|7.0-liter stroker Hellcat Hemi/750 to 1,050 depending on tune
|ZF 8HP90 Eight-speed automatic by Suncoast
|Double wishbone, Wesley Motorsports coilovers, Bilstein shocks
|Double wishbone, Wesley Motorsports coilovers, Bilstein shocks
|Hoosier R7, 325-35-19
|Hoosier R7, 345-35-19
|Six-piston Viper ACR calipers, Hawk DTC70 pads
|SRT8 four-piston calipers, Hawk DTC70 pads
|HP Tuners, AiM Solo 2
|Deon Design Custom Builders, Wesley Motorsports, Faircloth Composites