Yamaha R1 Drag Races Ferrari 296 GTB Assetto Fiorano, Someone Gets Walked

Introduced in 1998, the YZF-R1 is a legend among series-production motorcycles. The brainchild of a gentleman by the name of Kunihiko Miwa, the R1 broke new ground with its vertically stacked gearbox. This design allowed for a longer swingarm, therefore improving traction. Lighter than the Fireblade of that era, Yamaha's 1.0-liter motorcycle is up there in the superbike pantheon of greats.
Yamaha R1 Drag Races Ferrari 296 GTB Assetto Fiorano 6 photos
Photo: CAR / edited by autoevolution
Yamaha R1 Drag Races Ferrari 296 GTB Assetto FioranoYamaha R1 Drag Races Ferrari 296 GTB Assetto FioranoYamaha R1 Drag Races Ferrari 296 GTB Assetto FioranoYamaha R1 Drag Races Ferrari 296 GTB Assetto FioranoYamaha R1 Drag Races Ferrari 296 GTB Assetto Fiorano
The R1 in the clip below is a much newer model, and the car next to it comes from the best name in the supercar biz. Can the Yamaha prevail against the Fezza in the quarter mile? Spoiler alert: everybody knows who's better in this scenario. Even though it's harder to launch on two wheels, the R1 makes easy work of the more powerful and heavier 296 GTB Assetto Fiorano.

The peeps at CAR South Africa didn't time them, nor do we know the speeds these unlikely rivals were doing as they crossed the finish line. Neither the R1 nor the 296 were developed with drag racing in mind, but nevertheless, both are ridiculously quick in this particular scenario. For example, Emelia Hartford cracked the 9s at the drag strip in a completely stock 296 with street tires instead of sticky drag radials out back.

It's also widely known that the R1 can also crack the 9-second range, which is tremendous in every respect. More impressive still, these vehicles do it without the near-instant torque delivery of an electric motor. Looking at you, Tesla, and your Plaid three-motor powertrain with 1,020 zero-emission ponies on deck!

If you're in the market for a brand-new R1, prepare to pony up at least $17,999 in the United States of America. The cross-plane crankshaft four-cylinder mill puts out 198 horsepower on full song, and 83 pound-feet (113 Nm) of torque. As for the Ferrari, well, it's in a different league altogether. Not only because of its plug-in hybrid system, but that 120-degree V6 is a real treat.

On its own, it delivers 654 horsepower and 546 pound-feet (740 Nm) of torque. The electric motor sweetens the deal to 818 horsepower, which is ludicrous for a number of reasons. Not only does the 296 outshine the V8-powered F8, but it's also very similar in curb weight.

As expected of a bonafide supercar with the most badass V6 there is (218 ponies for every liter, anyone?), the 296 isn't cheap. Pricing starts at $320,000 or thereabouts, excluding the massive destination charge that Ferrari tacks onto every single production vehicle intended for the US market. The open-top GTS is understandably more, and if you want the 250 Le Mans-inspired livery of this car, that's also an extra. The livery in question is only available in combination with the Assetto Fiorano package, which reduces weight and improves aero.

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About the author: Mircea Panait
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After a 1:43 scale model of a Ferrari 250 GTO sparked Mircea's interest for cars when he was a kid, an early internship at Top Gear sealed his career path. He's most interested in muscle cars and American trucks, but he takes a passing interest in quirky kei cars as well.
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