By now, we’ve seen plenty of GT500-versus-Corvette battles. Both cars are arguably the pinnacle of all-around American performance right now, with the ability to go fast in a straight line and around corners. What’s interesting is the very different approach each car takes to achieve that performance.
A recent video from Throttle House on YouTube brings that to light in a new way. We’ve often seen a fully-dressed Shelby GT500 with its expensive Carbon Fiber Track Package stacking up against the C8. This time, the Shelby nixes all the aero add-ons and runs with just the handling package installed. Meanwhile, the Corvette featured here has the Z51 package which helps with handling but also adds a bit more power and better gearing to the mix. Thusly equipped these cars are nearly identical in terms of price
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Of course, beneath the skin the cars are far from identical. One is a two-seat mid-engine sports car with 495 horsepower behind the driver. The other is a front-engine four-seat monster with a full 760 hp screaming from its supercharged V8. The only things equal in this mix are the tires, with both cars riding on Michelin Pilot Sport 4S rubber. On paper, this should be a Shelby slaughter.
This race isn’t on paper, however. It’s on tarmac, and from a standstill the Shelby’s horsepower advantage is whittled away by traction issues. The Corvette and its rear-biased weight distribution nabs a much better launch, and it’s enough to hold off the hard-charging Shelby at the other end. This time around the underdog takes the win.
Shift the drag race to a rolling start, however, and it’s a different story. The Corvette still manages a good launch, and its gearing keeps the car competitive – for a little while anyway. There’s no stopping the Shelby’s excessive power though, and it easily cruises to a roll-race victory. Two very different cars, but interestingly, they seem rather well-matched in this scenario.
That also holds true in a hot lap competition. With a small road course at their disposal, the hosts exercise both cars over a five-lap session. The result? We’ll leave that to the video but we’ll say it’s close – very close. Dare we say, the cars are almost equal?
There is an elephant in the room with all these C8-versus-Shelby comparisons, however. The GT500 is the absolute pinnacle of Mustang performance, whereas the Stingray will ultimately become the entry-level Corvette. You wouldn’t be wrong to call this an apples-to-oranges comparison, but that certainly doesn’t stop people from lining these cars up. And why not? With similar prices and performance, these apples and oranges actually go quite well together.