We already know who wins, right?
Handicapping drag races is like handicapping horse races, everyone thinks they can do it, but few do it well. You can't just take the power figures and run with them, nor the drivers, nor the reaction times. Even looking at the tires alone will do you no favors. Take this example of a Japan vs. Germany drag race featuring the Lexus RC F and the Mercedes-AMG C63 S.
On paper, the AMG C63 S wins this, hands down. It's 4.0-liter twin-turbo V8 makes 503 hp and 516 lb-ft of torque. All of which is sent through a nine-speed multiclutch to the rear wheels, which are shod in Michelin Pilot Sport Cup tires. That last bit will be come important. The Lexus RC F uses a naturally aspirated 5.0-liter V8 making 472 hp but just 395 lb-ft of torque. The Lexus is wearing the new (and less aggressive) Michelin Pilot Sport 4S rubber and weighs about 50 pounds more than the Benz.
The location for the race is a cold, wet drag strip. So cold and wet that the guys started from the wrong end, considering the starting area "was like glass." We're already foreshadowing here, considering the Cup tires are meant for only the best weather and perfect temps, and the 4Ss are just a high-performance summer tire that can be used in the spring and fall.
In the first race, the Lexus hooks up instantly while the C63 S struggles for grip. By the time the Merc gets it back, the RC F is far enough ahead to be uncatchable over the quarter mile. The second race is a "street-style" race, but again the Lexus takes off in first. The Mercedes is able to come closer, but can't overcome the lead.
In wet conditions the Lexus was clocked at 5.2 seconds to 62 mph and 13.3 seconds in the quarter with a trap speed of 109.9 mph. The Mercedes-AMG C63 S did the sprint in 5.7 seconds and the quarter mile in 13.6 seconds but with a faster trap speed of 117.9 mph.
What have we learned? Don't judge a book by its cover, to start. Also don't bet money on drag races if you're not taking into account all of those things we mentioned above, plus the track temperature, the tire's optimum operating temperature, the atmospheric pressure, and whether the driver had a healthy breakfast. Otherwise, like us, your mouth will be writing checks your butt can't cash.