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Edmunds U-Drags: Shelby GT500 Spanks the CT5-V Blackwing!

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  • The 2020 Shelby GT500 and 2022 CT5-V Blackwing tackle Edmunds' unique U-Drags battle course.
  • A combined 1,400+ horsepower produced some rather smoky starts.
  • Immense GT500 muscle proved too much for the Blackwing to overcome.

Power reigns supreme in drag racing, and that proved to be the case in the latest Edmunds U-Drags battle between the 2020 Ford Mustang Shelby GT500 and the 2022 Cadillac CT5-V Blackwing.

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These American all-stars and their supercharged V8 engines rumbled to blistering times in Edmunds' unique head-to-head race format. Two times in a row, switching drivers for fairness, the GT500 and the Blackwing rocketed down the initial straightaway into the tight U-turn and duked it out in a rolling drag race back to where they started. There was one clear winner at the end.

U-Drags 101

So what's a U-Drag anyway? In short, it's a one-of-a-kind drag race devised by Edmunds as the ultimate test of acceleration, braking and handling. The car that wins isn't necessarily better in all three areas; rather, it's the one that's better at putting it all together. Starting side by side, the two vehicles accelerate through the quarter-mile mark before braking into a U-turn (U-Drags — get it?) and accelerating back to where they started. Then we switch drivers and positions on the track and do it again.

Check out the diagram below to get a visual and then scroll down for the details on how this U-Drags throwdown played out.

The result

In the first race, the GT500 won handily, finishing with a time of 31.2 seconds to the Blackwing's 32.8 seconds. In the second race, the Blackwing closed the gap considerably, but not by enough. The GT500 finished in 32.0 seconds while the Blackwing managed 32.5 seconds.

These may be brutally powerful cars, but they require finesse on the U-Drags course. In order to achieve the best times, our expert test drivers deftly managed their power, weight and handling capabilities throughout. Too little thrust and the car would lose ground. Too much and it would disappear in a cloud of tire smoke — as evidenced by the long streaks of rubber left behind on the U-Drags starting line.

The details

If you want to win U-Drags, you need a good start. Both cars obliged. The GT500 produces so much power that it can be difficult to accelerate without being consumed by tire spin, and its 0-60-mph times of 4.3 seconds in Race 1 and 4.8 seconds in Race 2 reflect a light initial touch. By comparison the less powerful manual-transmission Blackwing hit 60 mph in 4.2 seconds both times.

Once the tires gain traction, though, the GT500 is a superhero. It hit the quarter-mile mark in 11.9 seconds and 12.0 seconds, respectively, at over 126 mph both times. The Blackwing reached the quarter mile in 12.0 seconds in both races but was only going around 118 mph.

It's not all about speed, though. Both cars quickly decelerated and dove into the U-turn with aplomb — especially considering each weighs over two tons. As they swung around the bend and began to accelerate again, the Blackwing exhibited an impressive 1.07 lateral g, while the GT500 reached an even higher 1.11 lateral g. From there, the GT500 took advantage of the full-traction rolling start, putting its massive power down and crossing the finish line at over 143 mph in both races. The Blackwing rumbled behind at almost exactly 135 mph.

Edmunds says

The Shelby GT500 and its 760 horses were simply too much for the CT5-V Blackwing and its 668 ponies to handle on the U-Drags course. Since the cars weigh virtually the same (4,100 pounds and change), that's not exactly a surprise, but you never know how it's going to shake out when handling and braking are key factors as well. Several of our editors came away so impressed with the Blackwing that they would prefer its comfortable ride and engaging manual transmission over the faster Shelby. Still, the numbers don't lie, and the wild and untamed Mustang emerges the winner.