Burnout Super Test, Part 7: 2012 Chevy Corvette ZR1 vs. 2013 SRT Viper

Burnout Super Test, Part 7: 2012 Chevy Corvette ZR1 vs. 2013 SRT Viper

America's Most Powerful Supercars Battle It Out


Imagine a world without logic or common sense or personal responsibility or any environmental concern. A world where spectacle trumps achievement and the only mark one can leave is made of burnt rubber. A world where the sole currency is self-satisfied idiocy. That's the world of the legendary Burnout Super Test. Welcome.

This is it, the seventh Burnout Super Test and it features two of the greatest, most technologically advanced tire-incineration systems ever devised. The first is the redesigned, if not entirely all-new, don't-call-it-a-Dodge 2013 SRT Viper GTS. And the second is that legendary badass, soon-to-be-no-more 2012 Chevrolet Corvette ZR1. Chaos ensues.

The rules are as before — eternal and never-changing.

1. Traction control is off.
2. Start each car in 1st gear.
3. Pop each car's clutch while throwing a brick at the accelerator pedal.
4. Hold on.
5. Each car gets three runs.
6. Measure resulting stripe on pavement.
7. Whichever car lays down the longest black stripe on the pavement wins.

Driving for this subtle, complex event is Big Daddy Josh Jacquot, who also occasionally writes things.

The Contenders
Under the Viper's reincarnated clamshell hood is a burly blunt instrument: an 8.4-liter, overhead-valve V10 slamming out 640 horsepower and a stupefying 600 pound-feet of peak torque at 5,000 rpm. Hooked directly to a six-speed Tremec manual transmission, all that power is ultimately channeled to a pair of P355/30ZR19 Pirelli P Zero Corsa rear tires.

The new Viper's rear tires are the widest yet seen in a Burnout Super Test. And so new that they weren't even listed on The Tire Rack when we went looking. But a phone call to sources at that tire retailer revealed that they'd be going for $900. Each. That's $1,800 for the pair. It was an honor to liquefy them.

Yeah, the ZR1 as we know it has only months to live. But here it still is, a glowering linebacker of a car. It's burly, slightly demonic and swollen with power. The clear plastic window atop the hood is silly, but under it is the most powerful V8 General Motors has ever installed in a production car. It's the supercharged, 6.2-liter 638-hp LS9 small-block. It's an engine that growls at idle like a lion looking out over a water buffalo buffet.

And while the ZR1's LS9 may trail the Viper V10 by 2 whole rated peak horsepower, it hoofs out a thunderous 604 lb-ft of peak torque at 3,800 rpm. Do the math. That's 4 more than the Viper, down 1,200 rpm lower in the rev range. Ferocious. Connected by a torque tube to its rear-mounted Tremec six-speed manual transmission, the ZR1's LS9 churns the optional, track-ready P335/25ZR20 Michelin Pilot Sport Cup run-flat rear tires. At $539 each through The Tire Rack, they're almost cheap. You know, relatively speaking. Almost.

In the context of the Burnout Super Test, everything else about these cars doesn't matter. Which is quicker, which is easier to live with and which looks better parked at a restaurant is meaningless. Carbon-fiber fenders? Who cares? Fancy nav system? Meh. Burning rubber? Awesome!

The Day
The Streets of Willow is a familiar venue. And while there's plenty of love for the track, that familiarity has bred contempt for the weather of California's high desert. When it's not broiling at Willow Springs, it's freezing. According to the thermometer in a Lexus LS 460 it was 52 degrees that Wednesday. But the wind chill factor brought that down to the point where it felt as if we were breathing in liquid nitrogen.

It was, by far, the coldest day ever for any Burnout Super Test. Speculate as you want about how it affected performance.

Here's what happened:

2nd Place: 2013 SRT Viper
First Run: 416 feet, 5 inches
Second Run: 265 feet, 9 inches
Third Run: 294 feet, 3 inches

With slightly less peak torque and slightly wider rear tires than the ZR1, that the Viper finished 2nd is logical. But it's nonetheless surprising. This car looks as if it's eager to destroy its tires.

The Viper makes an unholy, banshee wail. Revved up just before its first run, spitting through its side exhausts, it sounds like a high-speed, 30-millimeter Gatling gun spraying out lead from the nose of an A-10 Warthog. Then Big Daddy dropped the clutch, the exhaust note dropped a couple octaves and the Viper struck forward.

Back on its haunches, the Viper's rear tires gripped for a moment, then broke traction and began producing blue-gray smoke that seemed to glaze over them like honey on a ham. A moment later, the tires still spinning, the tail slewed over and the car sort of crabbed forward as Big Daddy countersteered to correct. Finally the tires found traction, the Viper steadied itself and roared away.

"That was epic," one of the photographers gasped. "That was absolutely pornographic," someone else remarked as the measuring crew scrambled out to lay down the 300-foot tape to put a number to the Viper's glory. And 300 feet wasn't enough. At 416 feet, 5 inches the Viper had just become the second greatest burnout performer in Burnout Super Test history — behind only the Ford Shelby GT500's incredible 472-feet, 5-inch performance last July. Suddenly it seemed the GT500's record wasn't so safe.

But the 2013 SRT Viper's next two runs proved disappointing. Maybe it was the cold pavement, or that the expensive Pirellis have some secret self-preservation technology built in. But on the next two runs, the Viper hooked up relatively early. You know, just the way it was engineered to launch.

1st Place: 2013 Chevrolet Corvette ZR1
First run: 490 feet, 4 inches
Second run: 514 feet, 2 inches
Third run: 436 feet, 8 inches

After the Viper's spectacular performance, we were ready for the ZR1's runs to be anticlimactic. "My record is safe," asserted Mike "Mongoose" Monticello, who had piloted the GT500 during its Super Test record run. How wrong he would be.

With Big Daddy blipping its throttle in anticipation of launch, it was as if determination was being added to the ZR1's exhaust note. The deep tone and raspy vibrato of that exhaust sound grew more urgent and more confident every time he tapped the pedal. In the cold air, there was a wisp of condensation from each tailpipe that suggested the atmosphere itself was being consumed by this monster. Then Big Daddy dumped the clutch and the Corvette broke forward as if it were digging furrows into the pavement. Smoke poured forth from the big rear Michelins as if they were 1920s Pittsburgh steel mills.

On the first run the steel gray Vette spun its tires so hard it was approaching the rev limiter in 1st. So Big Daddy grabbed 2nd and the lunacy continued. The ZR1 was screaming like it was trying to ingest all of California and spitting the state back out its exhausts one county at a time. At 490 feet and 4 inches, the first run obliterated the GT500's record by almost 18 feet. "Damn!" Mongoose exclaimed through gritted teeth while stomping his Nikes into the pavement. "It has to be a fluke!"

Then on the second run, Big Daddy more than repeated the first as he extended the Corvette's tire fry all the way out to 514 feet, 2 inches. Irving Berlin will have to come back from the dead just to write a ballad about this blistering performance. We're lucky that NORAD's early warning radar didn't mistake the ZR1's contrails for an unauthorized missile launch and order a full-scale retaliatory strike.

By the third run the ZR1's tires were greasy and the last number was disappointing. But our minds were blown, even if the ZR1's tires weren't.

All hail the King of Kombustion! The 2013 Chevy Corvette ZR1 goes out victorious.



  • zr1man zr1man Posts:

    I love it. The ZR1 blows the doors off the viper every time. It has more power and more performance. Each test Edmund's / IL does the ZR1 comes out on top. I like this new format too. 8 more days for IL.

  • olyeller_ olyeller_ Posts:

    I guess cameras with any sort of video recording capability aren't part of the new and improved Edmunds budget.

  • n1c0l45 n1c0l45 Posts:

    Where's the video?

  • pommah pommah Posts:

    Ok, now that this epic battle of the titans never to be surpassed burnout test is over, can we end this "burnout" stuff and get back to articles about cars and driving? My old fogey vote, anyway.

  • redgeminipa redgeminipa Posts:

    Where's the video!?!? I really hope Edmunds releases a complete makeover when IL disappears next week. I just CAN'T adjust to this site!

  • emajor emajor Posts:

    Derp a derp. Derp.

  • saintviper saintviper Posts:

    This site is really ugly compared to IL. Please fix it soon. And please show the comments at the end of the article without having to click on something. I don't comment much but I enjoy reading them.

  • jeepsrt jeepsrt Posts:

    Would nice to have a video like past burnout test's. Also, new site is horrible having to log in to see comments and no comment function in long term test's. I really hope there is an update soon as I use to come here first everyday and look for updates every hour or so where as now I look about once a day.

  • davisdvm davisdvm Posts:

    I'm disappointed that Edmunds would waste its resources on such a a silly and useless exercise. What type of reader are you trying to attact? Serious gear heads appreciate accurate detailed insights into the vehicles we are so enthralled with, not this nonsense.

  • adantium adantium Posts:

    This new site Is horrible. How do I see a rolling blog for the Longterm Fleet? LAME!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • speed12sil speed12sil Posts:

    Greasy tires by the 3rd run and the ZR1 still beats the Viper's best run. Guess those narrower tires do make it more suited for longer burnout.

  • autoboy1 autoboy1 Posts:

    Is anyone still reading this site? Where's the HD video? This is 2013

  • trackwrex trackwrex Posts:

    The photo captions are hilarious!

  • The Gt500 ran 285's because Ford forgot to design a chassis that could fit anything bigger in the back. That said. I wonder if the Viper and Vette would have run far longer stripes if they too were wearing 285's.

  • moparfan5 moparfan5 Posts:

    i a mopar guy and the viper will always be my pick. what i cant stomach is 1800 dollars up in smoke o how the other half lives.

  • zr1man zr1man Posts:

    The video is there, right on the site, just click on it. The viper really sounds sick during it's burn out. The ZR1 sounds strong like the monster it is. There is no comparison. The ZR1 wins across the board. Right now you can only imagine what 2014 C7 ZR1 will do. 10 more days until the new C7 is unveiled and 7 days until IL is gone.

  • redgeminipa redgeminipa Posts:

    @zr1man The video wasn't there before...

  • Man the ZR1 sounds soooo good!

  • rock2155 rock2155 Posts:

    Need larger pics...

  • AJT123 AJT123 Posts:

    Viper doesn't sound half as good as the Vette. Long live the Chevy small block!!!

  • swooshdave swooshdave Posts:

    "silly and useless exercise" Let that sink in for a while. Then consider that these two cars have a combined 1278hp and . The whole fact that these cars exist is "silly and useless" and yet any car guy would give up an appendage for a crack at one of them. I know I would. More useless tests please!

  • done37 done37 Posts:

    This video gives a glimpse of the massive power these vehicles have. But mostly it shows that Josh can't drift. Not a lick!

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