Classic Cars

An 1,150-HP Jeep Grand Cherokee Trackhawk? Sure, Why Not!?

All that power translates to 9-second quarter-mile runs—and lots of broken hearts.

In terms of sleeper vehicles, Jeff Wollerman’s 2018 Jeep Grand Cherokee Trackhawk is not the most subtle. The blackout hood and racing stickers in the rear quarter-window tip you off to the performance abilities of this unusual platform, but those are the only obvious tipoffs to regular folks. Unwary competitors at the drag strip might be of the mind that this SUV looks kinda special, but then it’s still just an SUV, right? But when the Trackhawk clicks off 1.40-second 60-foot times, they find out just how fast this four-wheel-drive Mopar really is.

Wollerman’s 2018 Jeep Trackhawk is the latest in a line of very fast cars that have filled the family garage in Camarillo, California. A successful union crane mechanic in nearby Port Hueneme, California, he knows a lot about machinery, both on the dock and on the track. He has personally owned a lot of the hottest cars today, such as a 2017 Camaro ZL1, a Corvette, and a Hellcat. But when the Trackhawk arrived on the scene, he knew he had to have one.

From this angle, the sticky Mickey Thompson tires might tip off the competition as to the 1,150 horsepower and all-wheel-drive capabilities of this SUV. But when it puts down 1.40-second 60-foot drag strip times, you know that that power is real.

“I found one in the [San Fernando] Valley with only a few options,” Wollerman tells us. “It had red seatbelts and black forged aluminum wheels, but no sunroof, extra speaker system, or tow package. This was the lightest 5,000-plus-pound Trackhawk I could find,” he adds with a chuckle.

As is not surprising, Wollerman was impressed with the Trackhawk’s performance, but not fully satisfied. Not willing to leave well enough alone, he started sourcing performance parts. First he asked Borla to create a proper 3-inch-diameter tubing exhaust system. Working with Alvin at Borla, they developed their first exhaust systems for the Trackhawk platform. Borla prototyped both an S-Type and ATAK-style muffler system from Wollerman’s vehicle. Due to its deeper exhaust tone, Wollerman picked the S-type, which is what the car wears today finished off with a set of quad carbon-fiber tips.

Even under hood, the engine is subtler than you would expect. The factory supercharger is still retained, but that big induction tube and the Livernois Motorsports air box are a big part of the story, too.

“Next, I searched for a tuner and came across the Livernois Motorsports line of products,” says Wollerman. “After speaking with Scott Michele, I went with their S-1025 mail-order kit, which included a 2.85-inch-wide upper pulley from Innovations West to overdrive the lower balancer by nine percent. To ensure that the crank pulley stayed in place, he pinned it to the crankshaft, an effort that took extra time and skill.”

Wollerman decided to shift his propellant to E-85 and added new fuel-injection-enhancing components, a 180-degree thermostat, a transmission tune, and NGK spark plugs. Livernois reworked the computer, also sending Wollerman a laptop to fine-tune the Jeep’s computer to get everything spot-on with regards to both street and race performance, since the rig still sees dual duty.

Wollerman did all of the engine work on the Trackhawk himself, as well as the blackout hood and grille treatments. For this union crane mechanic, building cars is easy.

“I was so impressed with the power from the Livernois S-1025 kit that I had to change my driving style, moving the shift points to 6,800 rpm,” explains Wollerman. “The Trackhawk now pulls like a freight train on acceleration! I also learned a lot about performance upgrades from the Trackhawk Facebook page. It was at this point in the car’s transformation that I set my sights on getting the SUV into the nines in the quarter-mile.”

Frankly, that seemed like a logical move considering that, with the changes to date and the sticky Mickey Thompson Street tires, he had launched the SUV to quarter-mile times of 10.4 seconds at 131.72 mph. What was most impressive to Wollerman was the 1.640-second 60-foot times he accomplished, helped by the additional grip afforded by all-wheel-drive system noted earlier.

Despite being able to collect 9-second quarter-mile timeslips, the interior remains intact with no obvious changes or deletions.

Wollerman says, “Solis Racing Group developed a set of custom Eibach special-edition springs and a set of racing brake pads for the Brembo calipers. AAD Performance developed a set of Black Ops Adjustable rear control arms to help plant the sticky rear tires. And G-Force Performance Engineering aluminum rear-axle shafts were added after I broke the factory units.”

As you might expect of a highly qualified mechanic, Wollerman executed all of the mechanical changes with the exception of the Livernois computer programming. That includes all of the blacking out of the body trim that gives the SUV its sinister looks. Combined with the blacked-out wheels, this SUV makes a statement in both traffic or on the track.

The Trackhawk is a highly sophisticated vehicle with some amazing technology that allows the driver to adjust many vehicle parameters. This display shows Wollerman’s racetrack settings. This screen is part of the factory mode adjustments, not a custom setup.

So did Wollerman achieve his target of a nine-second quarter-mile time? You bet! The momentous achievement occurred in March of 2019, after a retune of the computer and change to a 2.75-inch-diameter pulley to help turn up the boost to a full 22 pounds. With an estimated 1,150 horsepower at 6,600 rpm and 1,000 lb-ft of torque, these drag-strip timing achievements are not surprising.

If you line up next to Wollerman’s SUV, prepare to get your heart broken!

The blackout hood is complemented by the same treatment that Wollerman completed on the grille and extends to his blacking out of the side corner markers to match the grille.

Fast Facts
2018 Jeep Trackhawk
Jeff Wollerman, Camarillo, CA

Type: 6.2L/376ci V-8 engine supercharged
Bore x stroke (in.): 4.100 (bore) x 3.600 (stroke)
Block: Factory original
Rotating assembly: Original crankshaft, connecting rods and pistons
Compression: 10.9:1
Cylinder heads: Factory original configuration
Camshaft: Factory original camshaft and cam drive belt
Induction: Factory original with Innovations West overdrive pulleys to generate 22 pounds of boost combined with Livernois modified computer retune. Engine runs on E85 fuel.
Oiling system: Factory oiling system
Exhaust: Factory original exhaust manifolds with Borla S-Type 3-inch exhaust and carbon fiber quad tips
Ignition: Factory original with NGK LFR6A spark plugs
Cooling: Factory radiator with thermostatically controlled electric fan

No obvious changes were made to the front fascia, but Wollerman has ducted the air intake to behind driver-side grille opening to draw cold air into the engine’s intake system.

Transmission: Factory original 8-speed Automatic ZF with Livernois-tuned S-1025 kit
Shifter: Factory original shifter system
Driveshaft: G-Force Performance Engineering ( aluminum rear driveshaft
Axles: G-Force Performance Engineering Renegade axleshafts
Rearend: Factory style 3:70:1 ratio electronic limited slip

Front suspension: Original with special edition Eibach higher-rate springs
Rear suspension: Original with special edition Eibach higher-rate springs and AAD Black Ops adjustable rear control arms.
Steering: Stock power assist steering
Front brakes: Factory original Brembo 13.0-inch-diameter rotors with special Solis Racing pads
Rear brakes: Factory original 13.0-inch-diameter rotors with special Solis Racing pads

Wheels: 20×10 black alloy Triumph Forged TR1 in front; 17×10 Weld Racing Forged S71 beadlock in rear
Tires: 275/40-20 Mickey Thompson Street SS Drag Radial in front; 315/50-17Mickey Thompson Street “R” Drag Radial in rear

The Trackhawk hood is very cool and also functional. These large ducts draw heat out from under hood. The satin black treatment adds to the sinister look of this very fast Trackhawk.
The huge air intake tube is covered with insulation to avoid engine heat and attaches to the Livernois air box. Wollerman used the Livernois tune and mail-order kit S-1025 to make the biggest increase in power.
Pinned to the crankshaft to keep it from turning when 22 psi of power is required, this Innovations West crankshaft pulley helps up the boost the engine can attain.
Innovations West pulleys were used on the supercharger as well, first using a 2.85-inch-diameter pulley and then moving to the 2.75-inch pulley to get into the 9-second club.
Livernois Motorsports is well versed in tuning high-performance cars. Wollerman sent the computer to Livernois for the first tune, and when the company sent the computer back it came with a laptop to make further refinements.
Borla Exhaust prototyped its Trackhawk systems using Wollerman’s vehicle to create both the Borla S-Type and ATAK systems. Wollerman picked the S-Type due to its lower exhaust note. AAD Black Ops adjustable rear control arms help tune the launch angle.
Topping off the exhaust were these carbon fiber quad exhaust tips, a nice touch!
For drag competition, Wollerman bolts up these 17×10 Weld wheels wrapped with Mickey Thompson drag radials. These wheels are beadlocks to stop the tires from turning on the wheel under hard acceleration.
Since the front tires drive the vehicle as well as steer it, they also get sticky Mickey Thompsons, this pair wrapped around 20×10 Triumph Forged TR1 wheels.
The instrument panel on this Trackhawk is untouched from the original; however, the factory stuffs this little SUV with some amazing technology that allows you to customize the readout to your liking.
These cool factory pedals just complete the performance look of the Trackhawk. The rubber pads keep your foot in place when you’re mashing the throttle or braking to slow down the 5,100-pound machine.
The body lines of the Trackhawk are pure SUV. Who would have thought that there would ever be a Jeep with this much power and performance?
Not shy about giving credit where credit is due, Wollerman added these stickers—a warning to all competitors.
The factory LED headlights work well with all the blackout body treatments and give a very clear view of the road ahead.
Getting the suspension just right required some simple additions, including the AAD Black Ops adjustable rear control arms and the Eibach special-edition heavier-rate springs all around. The Brembo brakes are factory but are aided in stopping power by the addition of Solis racing brake pads.
A veteran of high-performance muscle-car ownership, Wollerman is very proud of his Trackhawk and its impressive performance. But who wouldn’t be with its 9-second ability, making it one of the fastest Trackhawks on the planet?

Buying Guide
Powered by Motortrend


19 City / 26 Hwy

Cargo (Std/Max):

36 / 68 cu. ft.