There’s more to winning a drag race than having more ponies under your hood

On paper, a 480-horsepower Ford Mustang Bullitt should have no problem beating a 335-horsepower Toyota Supra in a drag race. But the tricky thing about predicting drag race results on paper is that they’re not worth the trees that were cut down to produce said paper. In other words, they don’t mean anything.

Car Magazine SA sought to answer the Mustang Bullitt versus Supra question by doing it the proper way: a drag race between the American muscle car and the Japanese sports car. If you’re looking at the protagonists of this race and you’re convinced that the Mustang Bullitt will have no problem laying waste to the Supra, then you might want to watch this video in all its entirety.

Truth be told, this isn’t the first time that Car Magazine SA lined up a Mustang and a Supra in a tried-and-true drag race. Back in September 2019, the publication fielded a Mustang GT against a Supra and the Supra’s brother from another mother, the BMW Z4 Roadster.

That race squashed the belief that power trumps everything in a drag race.

Not only did the 335-horsepower Supra, despite having a distinct power disadvantage over the 460-horsepower Mustang, beat its American counterpart, but the Z4 Roadster also did the same, leaving Ford’s muscle car licking its wounds and ego.

This Mustang Bullitt vs Supra Race Proves That Power Isn't Everything on a Drag Strip
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The race was close — the Supra finished in 12.83 seconds while the Z4 finished in 13.02 seconds, narrowly edging out the Mustang GT, which finished in 13.16 seconds — but the result didn’t turn out in the favor of the ‘Stang. So, presumably, to defend the Mustang GT’s honor, the 480-horsepower Mustang Bullitt took its place alongside the Supra, ready to defend the honor of Mustangs all over the world.

Unfortunately for the Mustang Bullitt, it once again fell victim to the Supra’s quick-shifting automatic transmission.

via GIPHY

Just as the race started, the Supra set off smoothly and without a hitch, leaving the Mustang Bullitt in the dust. To be fair, it didn’t help that the ‘Stang had a slow launch and its stock manual transmission was ill-suited in a drag race setup. This is where performance figures become misleading, especially in the specific race conditions of a drag strip. You can have as much power as you want, but there are other factors at play that are just as important, maybe even more as shown by the glaring difference between driving a Supra with an automatic gearbox and a Mustang Bullitt with a manual tranny.

Perhaps the results would be different if you put both cars in a race track, but as it is in the case of this drag strip, the 335-horsepower Supra is more than capable of beating the 480-horsepower Mustang Bullitt in a quarter-mile run. Then again, does the Supra really have “only” 335 horsepower?

This Mustang Bullitt vs Supra Race Proves That Power Isn't Everything on a Drag Strip
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Multiple dyno sessions have suggested that the Japanese sports car can actually produce close to 400 horsepower at the crank. Maybe the Mustang Bullitt was doomed to lose this race before it even started.

Source: YouTube

Kirby Garlitos
Automotive Aftermarket Expert - kirby@topspeed.com
Kirby’s first exposure into the world of automobiles happened when he caught Knight Rider on television as a five-year old boy. David Hasselhoff didn’t leave much of an impression on him (that happened later on in Baywatch), but KITT certainly did. To this day, Kirby remains convinced that he will one day own a car with the same ‘spirit’ as the original KITT (not the 2008 monstrosity). He doesn't know when that will be, but until then, he’s committed to expressing his love for KITT, and all cars for that matter, here at TopSpeed.  Read More
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