Shelby GT500 vs Chevy Corvette Z61 on the race track: Which car is faster?

The Ford Mustang and the Chevrolet Corvette are two of America’s most iconic cars. But they’re also two different animals. The Mustang spent most of its career in the pony and muscle car market, while the Corvette was aimed mostly at sports car and grand tourer buyers. With the Corvette transformed into a mid-engined car for the eighth generation, the gap between these nameplate is even bigger now. But which one is the fastest around a track? To find out, MotorTrend took the range-topping Shelby GT500 and the C8 Corvette Z51 to Virginia International Raceway and put 24 Hours of Daytona winner Randy Pobst behind the steering wheel.

These cars not only have radically different engine layouts, but they're also significantly different when it comes to specs.

The front-engined Shelby GT500 comes with 760 horsepower on tap, while the mid-engined Corvette generates 495 horses. While the supercharged GT500 needs 3.7 seconds to hit 60 mph, the naturally aspirated Corvette reaches the same benchmark a lot quicker in 2.8 clicks. This means that the C8 Corvette gets off the line a lot quicker, but is this enough to win a race at the track?

Watch Randy Pobst Drive the Mustang Shelby GT500 and Corvette C51 At the Same Time
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The cars were driven and filmed during different sessions, but the videos were combined to look as if they are racing at the same time. This enables us to see where each is quicker and how they handle turns and straight lines. It’s a rolling start for both cars and the GT500 gets its nose in front for the first 10 seconds. The Corvette, which seems to be a bit quicker in the turns, snatches the lead and remains in front until the cars hit the straight, long line of the Virginia track.

That’s where the GT500 moves back in front as it accelerates faster and hits a higher speed.

Watch Randy Pobst Drive the Mustang Shelby GT500 and Corvette C51 At the Same Time
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From then on, the GT500 remains in the lead through the final three corners and cross the finish line at 1:59.68 minutes. The C8 Corvette takes the flag at 2:00.96, only a second behind the Shelby.

The result is somewhat surprising. Mid-engined cars are supposed to be more agile at the track and even though the Corvette shows some skill on the first half of the course, the GT500 took advantage of its more powerful engine on the long straight. But this could also mean that the GT500 is actually far better on the race track than its predecessor. However, with just a second between them, we could say that the GT500 and the Corvette are equally competitive on this specific race course.

Ciprian Florea
Senior Editor and Supercar Expert - ciprian@topspeed.com
Ciprian's passion for everything with four wheels (and more) started back when he was just a little boy, and the Lamborghini Countach was still the coolest car poster you could hang on your wall. Ciprian's career as a journalist began long before earning a Bachelor's degree, but it was only after graduating that his love for cars became a profession.  Read More
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