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Randy Pobst Races C8 Corvette Z51 and 2020 Ford Mustang Shelby GT500 at VIR

Randy Pobst. You know that name, and you may also know that he tested the C8 Corvette Stingray with the Z51 Performance Package against the seventh generation in Grand Sport specification, his favorite C7 in terms of handling. The verdict to that comparison is that the midship sport car is faster at the Virginia International Raceway, “2 to 3 seconds faster with less fall-off and better grip on a long run.”
RACE: Mustang Shelby GT500 v Corvette Z51 @ Virginia Intl Raceway | MotorTrend 82 photos
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The Rocket is back in his racing overalls, and this time around, Motor Trend asked him nicely to race the Kentucky brawler against Detroit metal. As the headline implies, prepare for a free-breathing sports car vs. a blown muscle car face-off.

Let’s start with the very start, shall we? After the warm-up lap, the Shelby GT500 carries 10 miles per hour more speed on the Front Straight. As both cars approach the Horseshoe, it’s obvious the Ford Mustang doesn’t brake as well as the ‘Vette nor does it carry as much speed as the C8 Z51 on corner exit. By the 17-second mark, the Corvette is already ahead of the Predator V8-engined muscly coupe.

After exiting the Snake, the slithering ‘Stang catches up to the Corvette before braking for the South Bend. It’s only a temporary lead, though, because turn 11 and Oak Tree prove too much for the Ford. Curb weight and weight distribution favor the C8 Z51 in the twisties, but the lap isn’t over yet. The torque advantage of the Shelby GT500 gains ground before braking into Roller Coaster, then the pony-turned-muscle car keeps through turns 15, 16, 17, and 17a – a.k.a. the Hog Pen.

Back onto the Front Straight, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that the 5.2-liter blunderbuss stays ahead of the small-block V8 with 6.2 liters of displacement thanks to forced induction. It’s a win for the Mustang, which crosses the line at 153 miles per hour while the Corvette follows shortly after it at 144 miles per hour.

Commentary over, now let’s talk about the times! 1:59.68 for the Shelby GT500 and 2:00.96 for the C8 Z51 over the course of 3.27 miles and 17 turns, that’s how the cookie crumble. Now imagine the mid-engine Corvette in Z06 specification, translating to wider and stickier tires along with a flat-plane crankshaft V8 mill.

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