This front-, mid-, and rear-engine showdown proves traction matters more than power.
By now, we've seen the C8 Chevrolet Corvette, Porsche 911 Carrera and the Mustang Shelby GT500 engaged in numerous drag races. This one caught our eye because it's not just a showdown of three epic cars. It's also a case study of engine placement and traction because these three cars represent three very different approaches to performance vehicles.
The big Mustang brings no less than 760 horsepower (567 kilowatts) to this battle, making it easily the most powerful vehicle in the group. At 379 hp, (283 kW) the Porsche 911 Carrera has just under half the Shelby's power, and the super cool Corvette holds the middle ground at 495 hp (369 kW) with its 6.2-liter V8. However, more context is required before you draw conclusions on how this content should turn out.
Gallery: 2020 Ford Shelby GT500
This isn't just a Ford-versus-Chevy-versus-Porsche contest. It's also a race of front-engine, mid-engine, and rear-engine machines, and that can obviously make a very big difference. It's especially true in real-world situations where one doesn't have a specially-prepped drag racing surface for launching hard. If it sounds like we're setting you up for a Mustang defeat, well, you're not wrong.
Gallery: 2020 Porsche 911 Carrera S
Edmunds hosted this three-way race at Willow Springs raceway, and as such, we aren't treated to prepped drag launches or lengthy, high-speed runway battles. It's a situation indicative of real-world driving, and as the first of three races shows, simply having power means nothing if you can't use it. The traction-challenged Shelby isn't just beaten, it's humiliated. And the loss doesn't come by way of a Corvette romp either – the Carrera and the C8 crossed the line side-by-side. Not too shabby for a car with half the Shelby's power.
Gallery: 2020 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray: Review
To be fair, the 'Vette and 911 drivers both used launch control, while the Shelby driver handled everything manually. A second race was staged with all three cars on a computer-controlled launch, and the race was considerably closer. Still, the range-topping Mustang was defeated by its entry-level competition.
One final race was held – a roll race from a modest pace. This is certainly high-horsepower territory, but is it enough for the GT500 to claim a win? We'll let the video tell the tale of that final outcome.