2020 C8 Corvette Z51 vs. Mustang Shelby GT500 Drag Race

Drag Race Mustang GT500 vs Corvette C8, dailycarblog

What do you get when you drag race a Corvette and a Mustang against one another on the track? It could be the punchline of a bad joke, but when those two cars are the new C8 Z51 and the Shelby GT500, you’ve got the makings of a rather spectacular race. That’s precisely what Youtube channel Throttle House did. Who took the crown?

Mustang Shelby GT500 Specs

The Shelby GT500 is a marvel of American automotive engineering. When he designed the original, Carroll Shelby allegedly called it the first car he was really proud of, and that automotive bloodline runs true to this day. The GT500 that James from Throttle House drives is a 2020 model, with a 5.2-liter V-8 Predator engine capable of generating 760 horsepower. 

This particular example has the $1,500 handling package rather than the more expensive carbon fiber track package, which tacks an additional $18,500 to the GT500’s already substantial price tag. Expect a 3.5-second 0-60 and an 11-second quarter-mile, according to Ford’s specs. As James puts it, the only downside is that “no car drinks its fuel like the GT500.”

Corvette C8 Z51 Specs

On the other drag race starting line, we have the brand new Corvette C8 with the Z51 performance package. One thing that sets this Corvette staple apart is the new mid-engine placement. It’s taken the company decades to finally release a mid-engine sports car. It’s been using the front-engine design for the Corvette since the model launched in 1953, and most modern vehicles still use this placement, making the C8 the first of its kind. Thomas calls it “a little bit of a working-class man in a knockoff Italian suit that says Dolce and Banana on the side,” but that isn’t necessarily a bad thing.

The LT2 engine that comes with the Z51 package only generates 490 horsepower, but don’t let the lower number fool you. According to Chevy, it goes from 0-60 in 2.9 seconds, with an 11.2-second quarter-mile time. On paper, it seems like the C8 would be faster. How does it stack up when you put the two cars next to one another on the track?

Who Takes the Crown?

Who earns that checkered flag when you pit these two automotive giants against one another? It depends on how you start the race. 

The C8, with its midengine placement, has a distinct advantage on the drag strip. It takes off out of the gate like a rocket, and while the GT500 did close the gap, it never quite managed to catch up with the C8. 

When you take away the C8’s traction advantage, it becomes more of a fair fight — but the C8 won’t just let the Mustang win. From a rolling start, it’s a close race, but the GT500 managed to win by a nose. 

When you drag race both cars on the track, the two are pretty evenly matched. The C8 has an advantage on the turns with the electric differential that lets it glide through curves without losing too much speed. However, that doesn’t give it too much of an edge over the Mustang. 

Thomas drove both vehicles, one after the other. The Mustang’s best lap was 1’11’82, which is among some of the fastest cars Throttle House has ever had on its track. The C8’s best lap was 1’11’53. 

A Close Match

Both of these cars are as fast and agile as they come, and while it might seem that one would dominate over the other, they stand as near equals on the track. The C8 Corvette might be the first of its kind, but we’ll never turn down the chance to get behind the wheel of a Shelby GT500.


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