It’s a battle between European technology and American muscle as a McLaren 720S Spider takes on a Dodge Charger Hellcat that has been tuned to have over 1,000 horsepower.
In a straight shootout between a McLaren and a Hellcat, the McLaren would win every time. They have roughly equivalent power, although the McLarens get it from a twin-turbocharged V8 and the Hellcat instead opts for a great big supercharger, but by and large we’re looking at the same oomph from both vehicles.
The difference comes in weight and aerodynamics. The McLaren is a light supercar that uses carbon fiber at every opportunity to save weight. Meanwhile, the Hellcat is a big lump of American steel with about the same aerodynamics as a brick.
However, this is not a stock Hellcat. It’s been tuned to produce more than 1,000 horsepower at the crank thanks to several modifications, but the biggest is new engine timing to run on E85 racing fuel. Then a new supercharger pulley, an exhaust retrofit, and drag radials do the rest.
Oh, and it’s been stripped of all non-essentials. Anything that doesn’t help with speed is gone, including the rear seats. This helps the car save hundreds of pounds over the stock Hellcat, but it’s still probably a little bit north of 4,000 lbs.
The McLaren has been only lightly tuned with new downpipes, so it probably makes just a few more horses than the stock 720S’s 710 horsepower. It’s the Spider model, so it does weigh roughly 100 lbs more than the coupe, but that still gives it an almost 800 lb advantage over the Hellcat.
So in the end, it’s power against lightness. Who wins?
Both times, it’s the 720S. We’re not sure if the Hellcat is still enduring some technical issues, but after great starts both races, the 720S just puts the power on and walks away with a few car lengths between them. The last race was separated by a few tenths of a second though, so we’re confident the Hellcat can take the 720S after a bit more work.
Check out the video above for a bonus race against a tuned Demon.