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Tim Slade laps Jeep Grand Cherokee Trackhawk at Phillip Island

By Louis Cordony, 27 May 2018 News

Time attack champ belts Jeep’s beast at The Island

Tim Slade flat-out in Jeep's Grand Cherokee Trackhawk at Phillip Island

Tim Slade’s driven 700 horsepower cars before.

He is, after all, the current World Time Attack Challenge king and a Supercar series driver.

But what about in a kerb-crushing soft roader like a Jeep Grand Cherokee Trackhawk? The brand launched its new range-topper at Phillip Island circuit last week and the tame racing driver was on hand to test its limits on track. 

With a 6.2-litre supercharged V8 from the Dodge Challenger Hellcat lurking in its nose it produces an incredible 522kW and 868Nm.

“The most impressive part is the grunt,” Slade told MOTOR. “It’s got so much torque so it’s good out of the slow speed cornere here. Lots of punch.”

Power isn’t the only big figure. With all-wheel drive, room for your family and dog, and that engine, the Trackhawk tips over 2.4 tonnes on the scales.

Specially reinforced Pirelli P Zero rubber and stiffer spring rates help the Trackhawk keep its mass in check. But Slade confirms you can’t fight physics.

“If you push too hard into the corners with the car being big and heavy and soft it uncouples the rear a little bit,” he adds.

“You end up fighting the car into the corner as opposed to bringing your braking marker back to make sure you can get in smoother an carry more entry and mid-speed.

“That’s the best way to get the car nice and square and get all that power to the ground.”

Footage-wise, an errant wheel weight means a vibration creeps into the cabin at high speeds and the audio's a bit dodgy.

But seeing him wrestle this beast around one of Australia’s fastest tracks is an interesting experiment. The Trackhawk laps the circuit in 1 minute and 53 seconds.

That’s about as quick as a well sorted hot hatch.

Unsurprisingly, the $134,900 behemoth is more comfortable in straight lines. Jeep quotes 0-100km/h is dispatched in 3.7 seconds. Quicker than any other SUV currently on sale.

Stay tuned for our write-up next Friday.