Can the Audi R8 and the McLaren 720S dethrone the mighty Godzilla?by Dim Angelov, on LISTEN 04:14
High-horsepower drag races are always a thrill to watch. Even more so to participate in, but instead, I am sitting here writing about it. In any case, it’s always interesting to see which drivetrain layout is best at a certain power level, and once again, Carwow happily obliges. In this case, we have three cars with over 1,000 horsepower that differ in the way they deliver power to the ground – a Nissan GT-R, Audi R8, and a McLaren 720S.
Mat is in the GT-R, which is the most powerful and the heaviest car of the trio. It’s a 2015 model, so it would have had 545 horsepower from the factory. This is no longer the case, however, as the 3.8-liter twin-turbo, V-6 has been fully built and stretched to 4.1 liters.
Then, you get the massive turbos, which results in 1,600 horsepower and (1,193 kilowatts) and 1,106 pound-feet (1,500 Nm).
The gearbox has also been built, to handle the massive power output. The GT-R also weighs 3,858 pounds (1,750 kg).
Next is the Audi R8, which we talked about not long ago when it went up against a modified 911 Turbo and a turbocharged bike.
Its 5.2-liter V-10 has two turbos slapped onto it, along with other supporting mods, so it now makes 1,200 horsepower (895 kilowatts) and 686 pound-feet (930 Nm).
These numbers are way less than what the GT-R makes, but the Audi has the weight advantage at 3,637 pounds (1,650 kg). It also has a quicker gearbox and, like the GT-R, sends power to all four wheels.
The McLaren 720S is an interesting case.
It’s the lightest of the three, at 3,086 pounds (1,400 kg), but it also has the least “go-power” – 1,100 horsepower (820 kilowatts) and 700 pound-feet (950 Nm).
The 720S also has a very quick seven-speed dual-clutch automatic, but it only sends power to the rear wheels.
Two races are done from a dig and, to no one’s surprise, the GT-R won both, despite having its power reduced to “only” 1,400 horsepower. The Audi made a good start, but Godzilla’s sheer power meant the German supercar could only achieve second place. As expected, the 720s just couldn’t put the power down as well and finished last.
The GT-R is the only 8-second car here, managing an 8.9-second quarter-mile time. The R8 managed a 9.4-second time, while the McLaren managed a still respectable 9.7 seconds. Fun fact: when the GT-R was set up, the owners put a marker on the wheels and tires. After a couple of launches, none of the markers aligned, which means that the wheels rotated inside the tires, because of the sheer power.
The GT-R switches to “full-destruction” mode for the rolling race, which gives it all 1,600 horsepower. However, Godzilla’s gearbox takes too long to kick down and the GT-R fails to grab the win. Even McLaren almost gets it this time. That said, Godzilla was gaining on the R8 very quickly towards the finish line.
There weren’t any surprises on the braking test, as the heaviest car – the GT-R – had the longest stopping distance. The Audi was second, while the lightweight McLaren stopped the quickest. That said, all three cars stopped within one car length of each other.
Regardless of the result, all three cars prove why they are the go-to platforms for high-horsepower builds. Swipe up for the full drag race.