Burnout Supertest: 2012 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 vs. 2013 Ford Shelby GT500

Burnout Supertest: 2012 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 vs. 2013 Ford Shelby GT500

The Best Burnout Cars in the Universe Burn Them Down in a Burnout Supertest!


Fifteen billion years ago there was nothing. There were no galaxies, no stars, no planets, no Mustangs, no Camaros and no anything else. Then, in one explosive moment, the big bang happened. Suddenly there was friction, heat and smoke. Existence instantly had an ultimate destination. And here is that supercharged V8 apex to which all creation has been leading up: Edmunds.com's greatest Burnout Supertest ever. It's Ford's 662-horsepower 2013 Shelby GT500 vs. Chevrolet's 580-horse 2012 Camaro ZL1.

The results of this Burnout Supertest are earth-shaking, paradigm-shattering and wicked cool awesome. One of these cars laid down the longest stripe of rubber residue in Burnout Supertest history. A performance that doesn't merely top any previous Burnout Supertest high water mark, but obliterates it. Your grandchildren's grandchildren will be reading about this titanic performance long after the Internet itself has faded into history. Smelling it, too.

The glory of Burnout Supertests, however, never fades.

Built To Burn
In character, heritage and ability, no cars seem more ideally suited to Burnout Supertest success than the GT500 and ZL1. These are muscle-bound pony cars built more for the sheer joy of showing off than setting low lap times on road courses. They're unsubtle, blunt instruments and all the better for it — ideally suited to tire incineration.

But though the Supertest is a burnout contest, it is not subjectively judged as many of this genre are. The cars get no points for big, billowy clouds of blue-gray smoke. Since there's no crowd, there's no reason to measure how much it cheers and hollers. Blowing the tires clean off wouldn't earn a car anything either. What matters here are the stripes of rubber left behind by the car when it accelerates. The longer the lustrous layer of deep black residue, the better a car scores. It's an objective measure of how well a car can overwhelm its tires with brutal horsepower and blistering torque.

Each car was given three shots at burning down the long straight on the Streets of Willow course at Willow Springs Raceway in bucolic Rosamond, California. Then with the exacting precision that only comes by using our eyeballs, we marked the visual start and finish of each run using gaffer's tape. A 300-foot tape measure plucked straight from the inventory of America's top home improvement warehouse was then used to measure the space between each pair of tape markings. The best of each car's three runs becomes that car's score.

In sum, this is scored just like all the previous Burnout Supertests. However, "Big Daddy" Josh Jacquot was unavailable during this test, so instead Mike "The Mongoose" Monticello did the piloting chores.

Incidentally, this is a rematch of sorts. Back in April of 2010, the normally aspirated, V8-powered 2010 Camaro SS and 2011 Mustang GT met in a similar contest alongside the 2009 Dodge Challenger R/T. In that competition the Mustang GT's best run stretched for 72 feet, 5.5 inches, the Challenger R/T peaked at 109 feet, 10.5 inches and the Camaro SS slammed out a run of 210 feet, 1.5 inches.

2nd Place: 2012 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1
First Run: 159 feet, 8.5 inches
Second Run: 207 feet, 6 inches
Third Run: 104 feet, 1 inch

Considering the 426-hp Camaro SS's dominating performance in the first Burnout Supertest, expectations were that the supercharged, 580-hp ZL1 and its additional 154 hp could compete successfully with the even more powerful GT500. Those expectations were dashed as the best the ZL1 could do was actually almost a full yard shorter than the SS. That's also well less than half — HALF! — the GT500's epic performance.

There are two likely culprits for this car's modest striping talents. First are the big 305/35ZR20 rear Goodyear Eagle F1 Supercar tires the car wears. That's nominally 30 millimeters wider than the P275/40ZR20s worn by our Camaro SS two years ago. And the Goodyear F1s are significantly stickier as well. Where the SS had about 1.6 horsepower for every millimeter of tread width, the ZL1 has 1.9 horsepower per millimeter. That's about a 20 percent advantage to the ZL1, but it may not be enough to overcome the stickier rubber compound.

But something else appeared during dyno testing of the ZL1 that may affect its ability to burn the tires down. On the chassis dyno the same ZL1 Edmunds.com used in the Burnout Supertest came up hard against its rev limiter at 6,200 rpm. It's at this point that the wheels are just starting to achieve meaningful momentum during the burnout and it forced a shift into 2nd from which the car didn't easily recover. In fact, the more forgiving nature of the naturally aspirated 6.2-liter V8 in the Camaro SS might actually be better suited to tire destruction than the supercharged 6.2-liter V8 in the Camaro ZL1.

So if you're thinking of buying a Camaro solely in order to fry its rear tires, save yourself some money and go for the SS.

1st Place: 2013 Ford Mustang Shelby GT500
First Run: 464 feet, 11 inches
Second Run: 472 feet, 5 inches
Third Run: 362 feet, 3 inches

It was like watching Secretariat win the Belmont Stakes by 31 lengths to take the Triple Crown in 1973. The new GT500 is the '27 Yankees, '67 Packers and '86 Lakers of the Burnout Supertest. This is a performance so ungodly that the Vatican should launch an investigation.

As Mongoose Monticello revved the GT500 the air around it seemed to cower in fear. The supercharged, 5.8-liter, DOHC 32-valve V8 rocked the car over so hard that a dimple appeared in the left rear fender's sheet metal. The sound was a snarl so vicious there should have been chunks of molten lava spitting out each tailpipe. And all this was before 'Goose put the GT500 in gear.

The math says that the GT500 has 2.3 horsepower for each ONE of its 285 millimeters of rear tire tread width. And the chassis dyno proved the GT500 makes more than 500 pound-feet of torque from 2,300-6,000 rpm — and it continues to almost 7,000 before hitting its rev limiter. No production car has ever been more perfectly engineered for the slaughter of tires.

On launch the GT500 screamed and the rear Goodyear F1s began spinning as if the pavement were covered in Crisco. Finally the car began moving while trailing an awesome cloud of smoke and laying down gorgeous slashes of rubber. It was well past the marks left by the ZL1 when Monticello shifted into 2nd and the GT500 once again resumed tattooing the tarmac. That's 472 feet, 5 inches of glory — almost 149 feet longer than the Chevrolet Corvette Z06 Carbon's 323-foot, 7-inch performance in the May 2010 Burnout Supertest.

This epic performance makes the 2013 Ford Shelby GT500 the single greatest burnout car in the history of the universe. At least, that is, until the next Burnout Supertest.

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