Sometimes, you’re better off leaving the tech to the people who actually know how to use it, right?

The Chevrolet Camaro and the Ford Mustang. These two muscle cars are as intrinsically linked to one another as Magic Johnson is to Larry Bird. You can’t go a day mentioning one and not mentioning the other, and you can’t have a drag race with one and not expect the other to be lining up next to it. And so, just as predictable as it is to watch the sun rise in the morning and set in the evening, Fifth Gear decided to indulge themselves in a little drag race involving the Mustang and, you guessed it, the Camaro.

The optics of the race are straightforward: who will take the crown in a straight-line speed race? It’s a question the video will answer emphatically, but as you’ll see, the biggest takeaway wasn’t the results of the race, but on what Fifth Gear host Tiff Needell did to the Mustang. Check out the video and find out.

Back in the day, drag races between Ford Mustangs and Chevrolet Camaros largely relied on the wits and skills of their respective drivers. But the arrival and subsequent mass use of launch control changed the way the game is played. These days, launch control is a must-have in any serious production performance car. There’s a reason that in drag races, performance cars with launch control often leave manual clutch-dumpers in their wake.

But having launch control doesn’t immediately spell an advantage, especially if the one using it, well, doesn’t know how to use it. Take the case of Fifth Gear’s Tiff Needell. In the aforementioned drag race between the Mustang and the Camaro, Needell — he was driving the Mustang — decided to use launch control to gain an edge over his opponent, co-host Jason Plato, who was behind the wheel of the Camaro. That’s great. All’s fair in love and launch control, right?

That would be the case except that Needell decided to set his rev limiter at 5,500 rpm, an impossibly high number that spelled doom for the Mustang from the very beginning.
Video of a Ford Mustang GT and Chevy Camaro Drag Racing Shows Just How Bad Ford Drivers Are
- image 866515

Launch control is super effective, but it is also a complicated piece of technology that has to be used properly to maximize its effectiveness. Without going too in-depth at the intricacies of how launch control works, there are a few ways to the system to bog down and not function as intended. One of those ways is to set the rev limiter to a high number that all it ends up doing is spinning the car’s wheels, wasting precious time at the start. That’s what happened to Needell when he opted to set his rev limiter to 5,500 rpm instead of the usual number of 3,500 to 4,500 rpm where most rev limiters are set. Maybe he was trying to be too cute for his own good. Maybe he was trying to prove a point. Or maybe he just didn’t know what he was doing. Whatever it was, Plato and his Camaro smoked Needell and his Mustang in a hugely embarrassing way.

Both drivers raced a few more times with Needell lowering the rev limiter of his Mustang to 4,200 rpm in the second race and then disengaging the launch control completely in the third race. None of it mattered.

The Camaro beat the Mustang every time.

Perhaps we should cut Needell a bit of slack. After all, the Camaro does have more torque (455 pound-feet) than the Mustang (388 pound-feet). That meant that it had more pulling power when both cars accelerated off the line. That could just be the reason the Camaro handily beat the Mustang in this race.

Video of a Ford Mustang GT and Chevy Camaro Drag Racing Shows Just How Bad Ford Drivers Are
- image 866514

Still, it is pretty unnerving seeing Needell botch the use of launch control. It seems like he got way too excited that he forgot how the whole thing worked in the first place.

Further reading

2019 - 2020 Chevrolet Camaro Exterior
- image 837872

Read our full review on the 2020 Chevrolet Camaro.

2018 Ford Mustang High Resolution Exterior Wallpaper quality
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Ford Mustang GT - $35,095

Read our full review on the 2018 Ford Mustang.

Kirby Garlitos
Automotive Aftermarket Expert -
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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