It would seem on paper that the 2013 Ford Shelby Mustang GT500 should easily slay the heavier and less powerful 2012 Chevy Camaro ZL1. The former weighs 3,850 pounds and brings 650 horsepower and 600 pound-feet of torque to the table, the latter carries 4,120 pounds and 580 hp/556 lb-ft.

"We've done simulations. We predict that the ZL1 will be quicker to 60 than the [2013] GT500."

Not so fast, says Camaro Chief Engineer Al Oppenheiser (above). Speaking with Autoblog at an Arizona drive event for the Camaro ZL1, Oppenheiser told us, "We've done simulations. We predict that the ZL1 will be quicker to 60 than the [2013] GT500... We ran the Nürburgring and released a time. Ford took the GT500, too, and never released a time. I guess you can draw your own conclusions."

When asked point-blank if he thought the ZL1 would be quicker around the 'Ring, Oppenheiser replied, "No question."

Them sounds like fighting words, especially in the face of data that suggests the opposite is true. Remember, this is the same guy who told Mustang fans "you're welcome" for encouraging Ford to throw everything it can at the Camaro.

But we're not counting Oppenheiser among the crazy just yet. All that power generated by the GT500's supercharged 5.8-liter V8 will be for naught if it can't reach the ground without turning into tire vapor, and let's not forget that the Blue Oval's bomber is still dragging around a solid rear axle, compared to the all-independent suspension sporting third-generation Magnetic Ride shocks on the ZL1. And who's doing the driving can always be the great equalizer when talking 'Ring times.

We're still inclined to put our chips on the blue square, but nothing's certain until these two titans of Detroit meet head-to-head.


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  • 231 Comments
      MJC
      • 2 Years Ago
      I don't really care which car is faster. I just think it's cool that in the modern world of CAFE and hybrids, etc., the US still produces two cars like these!
      Finklestein
      • 2 Years Ago
      This is going to be one of the best head-to-head matches in recent history...I can't take the suspense anymore!
      Gorgenapper
      • 2 Years Ago
      I've done simulations too, crunched the numbers.... A Hyundai Accent will beat a Camaro around the Nurburgring. It must be true because the simulation said so. No question.
      graphikzking
      • 2 Years Ago
      4 years ago I would have said that the Camaro engineer is on some major drugs. But with the release of the GT-R, versus the Porsche Turbo. Those numbers just don't make sense either. Porsche is lighter, more hp and more hp on the rear wheels. Still can't make up for the the GT-R monstrous something? The Camaro does look down significantly on hp/weight ratio but who knows. Maybe they know something we don't? Could it be possible: 1. The Camaro is UNDERrated by a good amount? Possibly another 30-40hp? 2. The Mustang could be truly rated at 650hp? This would put them within 20-30hp instead of the 70hp shown above? Also, a 10mm wider tire and a slightly wider track with better suspension will make up the 0-60 / 1/4 mile and track times with no problems. I don't know the size of tires on each of these cars, I don't know the weight balance on these 2 and I don't know the track width of the rear axle.. so who knows. This could entirely be true. Ford could have just went with the age old "more hp" and Chevy could have tuned it to be a track / drag monster. Better gearing etc.. So many variables when you are playing with this much hp.
        Firefly
        • 2 Years Ago
        @graphikzking
        One of the most intelligent posts thus far...
        Kris
        • 2 Years Ago
        @graphikzking
        Exactly what I was going to say! I'm willing to believe the Camaro is gonna be the faster one. Nissan GT-R proved that technology smacks around dry numbers.
      NeoS281
      • 2 Years Ago
      I wish someone would let us know the details of the media embargo that GM placed on Motor Trend, Automobile, Road & Track etc. It still makes no sense to me that MT pitted the Boss (Ford’s Best Not Fastest Mustang) against the ZL1 which has 140 more hp. As tested in Insideline’s review, the GT500 was faster around Willow Springs then the rest of the mustang lineup including the Boss 302 LS. Would someone already test the current ’12 GT500 against the ’12 ZL1 so we know where we stand?
      jbm0866
      • 2 Years Ago
      Without going into any fanboyism...I'm just glad that Detroit automakers are still waging performance wars well into the 21st century. We better enjoy it while we still can..
      DrEvil
      • 2 Years Ago
      Fight - Fight - FIGHT. This is how it is supposed to be, smack talkin' then comes the bar-room brawl. Fight - Fight - FIGHT.
      Kevin Gregerson
      • 2 Years Ago
      0-60 I'll give to the camaro with those magnetic ride shocks its no surprise who the winner would be. Nuburing, I'd also give to the ZL1. However, 1/4 mile I'd give to the Shelby.
        Carlos Vargas
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Kevin Gregerson
        Just because the Camaro has MR shocks doesn't guarantee it is going to be able to make up 70hp and almost 300lbs.
      Dean Hammond
      • 2 Years Ago
      thinly veiled pot stirring 101 I think, and the post count will be massive, lot of Ford and Chevy loyalists out there. So far in this corner we have Oppenheiser with undocumented arrogant speculation....will be interesting to see if Ford quietly shuts his mouth, I do respect the lack of retort though, why get drawn into a pi$$ing match that really acheives nothing but making a certaiin individual look like a total idiot ?.....sure builds up the anticipation though.
      RodRAEG
      • 2 Years Ago
      I wouldn't bet on the ZL1 on a drag strip, but I bet it will compete quite well with the '13 GT500 on a curcuit. It has wider tires, the latest version of the MR shocks that are found on the CTS-V/Corvette ZR1, and the body was designed to actually produce downforce at speed. It's already been compared against the Boss 302 Laguna Seca Edition, Ford's most track-oriented Mustang to date, and it beat that by 2.45 seconds at Inde Motorsports Ranch. It's gonna be an interesting competition to say the least.
      Chase
      • 2 Years Ago
      My call is the Mustang will be a bit faster in a straight line, but slower around tracks. I came to that conclusion based on the ZL1 vs Boss comparo. The Boss is extremely well setup for track, and assuming the GT500 has similar tuning, similar tires, and is heavier, it will only be able to put an incremental notch into the Boss's lap time with the higher power. Its not a 100% kind of thing, but I bet you the ZL1 will be the track tool of choice in this segment when the dust settles.
      Jason Alan Sipes
      • 2 Years Ago
      The new GT500 at Nurburgring was a mule and not a real 2013 GT500. Releasing mule numbers would be misleading, just like saying they tested a real 2013 GT500 at Nurburgring would be misleading.
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