Throttle down and clutch up, our burnout-lovin' friends — it's time for a grudge match.
When we last experienced a lapse in judgment this egregious, we found ourselves with an empty stretch of pavement, a tape measure and an itchy throttle foot. There, a Camaro, Challenger and Mustang faced off in a contest to determine what is without question the most important measure of vehicular performance in existence: the length of the burnout that can be laid down.
Once the rubber had become one with the tarmac, a conclusion emerged. That is, Chevrolet was the undisputed hulk among hoons, and Dodge had some catching up to do.
It was pretty nice, but if you really want to lay some tracks, you need some freakin' horsepower. Fast-forward four weeks and the stage had been set again. 2009 Dodge Viper SRT-10. 2011 Chevrolet Corvette Z06 Carbon. More power. Less weight. Itchier throttle feet. (What about a Ford? Sorry, the blue oval was eliminated in round one.)
Exhibition of Speed
The drill would remain the same as the last time. Get in, turn off all the traction control nonsense, mat the gas and dump the clutch. No slippery stuff on the tires, no holding the car with the brakes. Just tarmac, a pinned throttle and the sublime conversion of a combined 1,105 horsepower from 18 cylinders into haze and grime.
Burnout Savant Josh Jacquot performed three attempts in both the 2009 Dodge Viper SRT-10 and the 2011 Chevrolet Corvette Z06 Carbon. Both ends of the tire tracks were marked, and a tape measure was laid down straight and the measurement rounded to the nearest whole inch to account for wind shear, humidity, thermal expansion, interplanetary gravitational influence and user apathy. If the road tattoo could be maintained through 2nd gear, so much the better.
We didn't bother measuring the distance of anything but the longest burnout from each car because, let's face it, consistency doesn't count for anything here. This isn't bracket burnout-ing.
2nd Place: 2009 Dodge Viper SRT-10
Best run: 273 feet, 4 inches
Burnouts are the glorious result of a bumfight between traction and an engine's ability to overcome it. All that, plus a heaping helping of immaturity.
More power exerts obvious influence on the length of a car's burnout, but would the increased traction afforded by sticky summer tires drag the distances down? And what if those meats are as wide as steamroller drums, like the 345/30R19 Michelins on this Viper? These are life's vexing questions, and we're here for you, the loyal Inside Line reader, to provide solid answers.
It turns out that even the world's fattest skins don't stand a chance against a 600-horsepower 8.4-liter V10. The Mopar's third run of 273 feet, 4 inches was easily its longest, pummeling the 2010 Chevrolet Camaro SS, winner of the first Burnout Super Test, by more than 63 feet.
And the Viper was able to get some worthwhile scratch in 2nd gear, too. This is because burnouts require more than just a lot of peak horsepower; they also rely on ample low-end torque in order to prolong the stupidity after a gearchange. Torque happens to be a specialty of the Viper, as it belts out 560 pound-feet of the stuff at 5,000 rpm, and plenty elsewhere on the tach.
Still, despite a showing that would make "Big Daddy" Don Garlits proud, the Dodge once again came up short — quite literally — to the Bowtie boys. Its taller gearing, extra poundage and additional tire kept the rump of the car nailed to the pavement more effectively. Or less, depending on your viewpoint's burnout-centricity.
Yes, there is some subtlety to the art of a burnout. Loud, silly and life-affirming subtlety.
1st Place: 2011 Chevrolet Corvette Z06 Carbon
Best run: 323 feet, 7 inches
GM engineers brag about the Corvette's Nürburgring lap times, their Pratt & Miller C6.Rs winning thousands of endurance races, blah blah blah. It's all nonsense. Clearly, these guys are spending countless corporate resources honing their burnout craft in preparation for this, the World's Most Important Test.
First, there was the 2010 Camaro, which spanked all comers. This time, they've taken down the more powerful Viper with the car you see here, a 2011 Corvette Z06 Carbon, which is actually a prototype of a special-edition model, which is actually a 2009 Z06 with most of the trimmings of the Carbon (or something). Or so we've been told. If this sounds complicated, join the club. The mental gymnastics are too much for our smoke-addled brains.
You can call it complicated, but we call it impressive. Laying down stripes 323 feet, 7 inches long, the Z06 Carbon-like flat-out wasted the Viper by 50 feet. That's like 178 packs of Marlboro cigarettes laid end to end. Or the number of years you'd spend behind bars if you put one of these down in front of the cop hive at Broadway and Magnolia.
The key to the Corvette Z06's success is gearing, lots of power and the ability to unleash it all at once. Although the 505 hp from its 7.0-liter LS7 V8 is shy of the Viper's leviathan output, the Z06 is considerably lighter and has snappier throttle response. Plus, the shorter gearing puts more torque to the ground. This makes it easier to shock the tires and maintain wheelspin when you release the clutch for 2nd gear. And with 470 lb-ft of torque available, it's not like the Z06 can't twist off a bottle cap.
It's rumored that if you put your ear to the ground at the railroad tracks across from Building 24 of GM's Milford proving grounds, you can hear engines bouncing off their rev limiters for hours on end. Tires go in one end of the building. Out the other, smoke. They call it "benchmarking." But you and I both know better.
The manufacturers provided Edmunds these vehicles for the purposes of turning their tires into molten droplets.