Muscle Car Drag Race: Ford Mustang Shelby GT500 Vs. Dodge Challenger Hellcat

Muscle Cars / 1 Comment

There's almost 12 liters and 1500 horsepower between them.

Since the beginning of time, Ford Mustang and Dodge Challenger owners have lined up at the drag strip to test their machinery against each other, and the tradition continues today. Dodge encourages the activity and created a temporary donut maker position to promote its muscle car wares. Though it's not part of Dodge's sanctioned hooning program, the following video shows a drag race between a 2022 Ford Mustang Shelby GT500 and a Dodge Challenger Hellcat. Unsurprisingly, the car with more power and less weight won more races, but the differences between the two aren't as stark as you might think.

The Challenger got a good start on the first race and took the win. The Mustang driver came back to win the second and third rounds. Despite losing, the races never looked out of hand for the Dodge, showing that in a straight line, the two cars aren't worlds apart from each other.

Sam CarLegion/YouTube Sam CarLegion/YouTube

The Challenger Hellcat sees 717 horsepower from a supercharged 6.2-liter V8 paired with an eight-speed automatic transmission and rear-wheel drive. Dodge makes more powerful variants, such as 797-horsepower the Hellcat Redeye and 807-horsepower Super Stock, but they're not significantly quicker than a standard Hellcat because there's only so much horsepower a set of tires can put to the ground. Similarly, it's easy to derive even more power from the engines with tuning, but why?

The Shelby Mustang GT500 is down a liter compared to the Dodge, with "only" a supercharged 5.2-liter V8, but it delivers more power. It produces 760 horsepower and 625 pound-feet of torque. The Ford also weighs less than the Dodge, to the tune of almost 400 pounds, so it's not surprising that it took two out of three races.

Ford Ford Ford

The Challenger may have lost more races in this instance, but it put up an impressive fight for a car design nearly old enough to drive on its own. Dodge revived the nameplate in 2008, and while it's gotten new tech and safety kit, the car on sale today is basically the same as the one that debuted 14 years ago. That said, the automaker will release an electric muscle car concept this year, and we could see an electric version of the Challenger shortly after that.

Having debuted in 2013, the current Mustang is not much newer than the Dodge. Ford will release a new seventh-generation car for 2023, bringing fresh styling but carryover powertrains. A hybrid or electric variant is possible in the future.

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