How can the underpowered C8 Corvette be quicker than the Shelby GT500?

Besides being as American as hot dogs, the 2020 Chevrolet Corvette C8 and the 2020 Ford Mustang Shelby GT500 sit at the very top of their respective makers performance pyramid. Sure, the Blue Oval also has the Ford GT muscle to flex, but for now, we’ll focus on the two, specifically how quick ar they to 60 miles per hour from a dead stop. Turns out, the mid-engined C8 is the nimbler of the two, despite holding an obvious power disadvantage. How’s that possible? Bear with us to find out.

The 2020 Corvette C8 Meets The 2020 Mustang Shelby GT500… On Paper

Alright. Both cars have been heavily trumpeted and hyped before their debuts, but that’s not of the essence here. So without beating the bush too much, let’s take a look at what sort of an arsenal they pack. Now, they’re both V-8s, but this is where the similarities kind of end.

For starters, the GT500 could be considered a muscle car. Sure, it packs supercar-like power and all, but it’s a front-engined, rear-wheel-driven machine based on the Mustang, so there’s that.

The Corvette C8, however, with the swap to a mid-engine layout, has finally taken the final step towards the proper-sports-car-almost-supercar status.

The 2020 Chevy C8 Corvette Is Quicker to 60 MPH Than the 2020 Ford Mustang Shelby GT500 - This Video Tells Us Why
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That said, the 2020 Mustang Shelby GT500 uses a 5.2-liter V-8 slapped with a 2.65-liter supercharger. The result is an output of 760 horsepower and 625 pound-feet of torque. Ford’s literature says that the GT500 zaps from 0 to 60 miles per hour in 3.5 seconds, in the context where it tips the scales at an estimated 4,225 pounds. Which is mightily heavy regardless of how you look at it. Power gets to the rear wheels and then on to the asphalt through a tricked-out seven-speed dual-clutch transmission.

2020 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray gallery
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In the opposite corner, the 2020 Chevrolet Corvette C8 packs a 6.2-liter naturally-aspirated LT2 V-8. In Z51 attire, the mid-engined, also-rear-wheel-drive Vette packs 495 horsepower and 465 pound-feet of torque. That’s enough to allow it to sprint from 0 to 60 miles per hour in 2.9 seconds.

We must also mention that the C8 is considerably lighter, coming in at 3,577 pounds and puts the power down using a Tremec eight-speed dual-clutch gearbox.
Now, why is the lower-horsepower Corvette Z51 quicker to 60 miles per hour? How can it make up for the 265-horsepower, 160-pound-feet of torque deficit?

Jason Fenske of Engineering Explained makes a good case in mentioning that the C8 Corvette has 60 percent of its weight pushing on the rear axle, while the GT500 makes do with 44 percent of its weight pressing the rear axle. That’s a factor that must be taken into consideration, yet it’s one of many others in a long list. Another such indicator is the 0-100 miles per hour sprint time, which for the Corvette is 7.6 seconds, while for the for GT500, well, it’s shorter, at 6.7 seconds (that’s also an estimate, coming from Car and Driver). What does that mean? Well, the Shelby GT500 can’t put all its grunt down as efficiently as the Corvette in the 0-60 miles per hour sprint, which means it can’t get enough traction in that interval, given that the amounts of power and torque it packs are definitely not the issue here.

The 2020 Chevy C8 Corvette Is Quicker to 60 MPH Than the 2020 Ford Mustang Shelby GT500 - This Video Tells Us Why
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That said, do have a look at the video as it does explore some other interesting avenues that compare the two cars.

Theoretical stuff aside, we’re more eager to actually see someone set up a good ol’ drag race between the 2020 Corvette C8 and the 2020 Mustang Shelby GT500.

I mean, it’s not that we are not into math and physics, but we’re also the “stop and smell the burnt tire smoke” kind of guys. Yet by the looks of it, we’ll just have to settle for the on-paper battle between the two as we wait for a real-life skirmish.

Tudor Rus
Assistant Content Manager
Tudor’s first encounter with cars took place when he was only a child. Back then, his father brought home a Trabant 601 Kombi and a few years later, a Wartburg 353. At that time, he was too young to know how they worked and way too young to drive them, but he could see one thing – each of them had a different ethos and their own unique personality. As time went on, he started seeing that in other cars as well, and his love for the automobile was born.  Read More
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