The Shelby GT500 Is No Match for the Corvette Z06 on Track

c8 corvette z06 vs shelby gt500 on buttonwillow speed phenom
The Shelby GT500 Is No Match For The Z06 on Track Speed Phenom on YouTube

The Chevrolet Corvette Z06 is currently the undisputed king of American performance cars. The race-bred Corvette isn’t the only high-powered track car to come out of Detroit in recent years however, with the recently departed Shelby GT500 remaining a stout competitor. Thanks to Austin from Speed Phenom, we have a chance to see how these two V-8-powered machines stack up around a lap of Buttonwillow Raceway.

The Z06 is a serious performance car in every respect. It’s 3.5 inches wider than the Stingray, which makes room for gigantic 245- and 305-section Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 R tires front to rear. It’s dripping with aero adjustments borrowed from the now-defunct C8.R, with optional carbon ceramics serving to slow things down. Behind the driver sits a 5.5-liter flat-plane V-8 engine, which produces 670 hp and 460 lb-ft of torque. That makes the LT-6 the most powerful naturally-aspirated V-8 to enter production. Combine that engine with a quick-shifting eight-speed dual-clutch transmission, and the straight-line prowess of the Z06 should come as no surprise. GM says the car will do 0-60 mph in just 2.6 seconds, before running the quarter-mile in 10.6 seconds. It’s also a much lighter car than the blown Mustang, tipping the scales at just 3666 pounds.

Regardless of the weight differential, the GT500 is still a potent machine. Thanks to its 5.2-liter supercharged V-8 engine, the pony car has a ridiculous 760 hp and 625 lb-ft to work with. That’s a difference of 90 hp and 165 lb-ft of torque in favor of the Mustang. The Predator V-8 engine comes exclusively mated to a seven-speed dual-clutch gearbox, which was a first for the Mustang nameplate. This particular car is outfitted with the Carbon Fiber Track Pack, which was an $18,500 option. That package includes goodies like carbon fiber wheels, Recaro seats, carbon interior bits, adjustable strut top mounts, and some revised aero components. The pack helps shave the curb weight of the GT500 down to 4081 pounds, which might help keep it in the fight against the mid-engine competitor.

c8 corvette z06 vs shelby gt500 on buttonwillow speed phenom
Speed Phenom on YouTube

It is important to note that these two cars were not lapped on the same day, but rather during two different sessions at Buttonwillow. This means that conditions on track were not controlled for an ideal head-to-head comparison. Furthermore, both cars are used by their respective owners, and were not specifically prepped for this comparison. Regardless, the results are pretty interesting to behold. The straight-line speed of both cars is fairly well matched around the track, but the Z06 holds a clear edge through the twisties. Austin appears much more confident attacking the corners with the Z06, likely a nod to the mid-engine balance provided by the chassis. The Z06 is also wearing a more aggressive R compound tire, with the added benefit of carbon ceramic brakes tucked behind them. The GT500 is a fast car, but it just wasn't built to compete with a machine like the Z06.

In the end, the GT500 found itself 3.5 seconds behind the Z06 after just a single lap of the track. While one would expect the Z06 to win in this sort of battle, that gap is pretty significant. Of course, things might be a bit more interesting if someone was to get Ford’s own mid-engine sports car involved in the conversation.

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