A manual Corvette Z06 takes on a Challenger SRT Hellcat in the half-mile.
Half-mile races are completely different animals to the quarter-mile. In a quarter-mile, short gear ratios and quick shifts are the hallmarks of a winning car, while in the half-mile, overall top speed comes more into play. Or if we were going to attach numbers, the quarter-mile cares about 0-60, while the half-mile cares more about 60-130 mph.
This makes the matchup of a Z06 Corvette and a Challenger Hellcat very interesting. The two cars have similar 0-60 times, with the Z06 clocking in the low 3-second range and the Hellcat in the 3.5-3.6 range, but the Z06 has slightly better late acceleration. From 60-130 mph, the Z06 takes 7.8 seconds, while the Hellcat takes 8.1 seconds.
Both cars have a 6.2-L supercharged V8 engine, but the Hellcat produces 707 hp while the Corvette makes 650 hp. The Corvette is far more a featherweight, however, coming in a full 1,000 lbs lighter than the Hellcat.
But the Corvette is a manual. That enters human error into the equation, while the Hellcat’s automatic (with paddle shifters) means it’s pretty hard to screw up a shift.
In the first race, we see this happen in real time. The Corvette driver seems to have trouble shifting out of first gear, and while they had a decent jump on the Hellcat, they quickly fell behind after one bad shift. This lets the Hellcat speed to victory with quite the distance between the two cars.
On the second race, the Corvette had it the entire way. Perfect shifts meant that the Corvette’s lighter weight and superior acceleration allowed it to put a huge gap between the heavier Hellcat. It was just impossible for the Hellcat to keep up.
Our delightful host also mentioned that the Corvette has wider rear tires and is better able to grip the unprepared airfield concrete. The Hellcat’s relatively skinnier tires meant that grabbing the road was a slightly more difficult prospect. We think this matchup would usually go the Corvette’s way. Now, the Hellcat Redeye, on the other hand, might put up a better fight.