These are heady times for American performance cars, with both the new 755-horsepower Chevrolet Corvette ZR1 and the 840-horsepower Dodge Challenger SRT Demon offering more brute strength than we’ve ever seen before. But what happens when you pit these modern marvels head-to-head on the drag strip?
The Demon is quite literally made for this—if Dodge didn’t manage to hit you over the head with that fact in marketing the car, then a brief look at the list of quarter-mile enhancements ought to do the trick. There’s the TransBrake to hold the car on the line while the 6.2-liter supercharged V-8 revs up, an interior-delete option, and the Demon Crate featuring skinny front tires and the special powertrain control module to unlock its full 840 hp.
If the Demon is a sledgehammer, then the Corvette ZR1 is a surgical scalpel. The ZR1 is a race-ready, aero-focused masterwork, the ultimate Corvette of its generation.
It has the potential to be the fastest American car ever around the Nurburgring when Chevrolet goes for the record later this year; the company recently released footage of the uber-Vette exceeding its stated 212 mph top speed during testing. It should also be noted that the ZR1 is now the most powerful production car you can buy with a manual transmission in this country.
With the drag-tuned PCM, skinny tires, and all the other trappings in place, the Demon is capable of pulling a wheelie off the line en route to a 0-60 mph time of 2.3 seconds and a 9.65 second quarter mile. Meanwhile, the ZR1 is rated to do 0-60 mph in 2.85 seconds on its way to a 10.6 second quarter mile.
So what do those numbers mean in the real world? As you’ll see in this video from an event at Virginia’s Richmond Dragway last week, not as much as the person behind the wheel.
The ZR1 rocketed to victory in 10.2 seconds thanks in part to its weight advantage and aerodynamic efficiencies, while the Demon put down a relatively-slow 11.59 second quarter mile.
According to Dragzine, the ZR1 was running on special drag radial tires, and it looks like the Demon wasn’t using its skinny front wheels (nor 100-octane race gas). Still, it’s excellent proof that horsepower doesn’t always trump experience—and that marketing hype aside, it’s always going to be close when two titans are trading blows.