The back-and-forth between Chevrolet and Ford goes back generations. It’s a tit-for-tat battle that’s brought consumers some of the most significant vehicles ever. But one area where the two American automakers often butt heads is with their respective sports car—the Chevrolet Camaro and Ford Mustang. This is a legendary rivalry that won’t go away anytime soon. Chevrolet upped the ante with the 2012 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 with 580 horsepower. It was a shot across the bow of Ford and the 550-horsepower GT500 at the time. Fast-forward six years, and Ford is taking Chevy, and the Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat, to task with the 2020 Ford Shelby Mustang GT500.
We still don’t know the final power figures for the Mustang GT500; however, Ford says it will produce north of 700 horsepower with a mid-three-second sprint to 60 miles per hour and a sub-11-second quarter-mile time. Power will come from the 5.2-liter V8 with a cross-plane crankshaft and a 2.65-liter supercharger. A Tremec-sourced seven-speed dual-clutch transmission is the only gearbox available; however, it will deliver shifts quicker than a manual.
An entry-level Handling Package adds a Gurney flap extension on the rear spoiler and adjustable strip top mounts. The Carbon Fiber Track Package removes the rear seats, adds lighter and wider carbon-fiber wheels, a GT4-style carbon-fiber rear wing, and Pilot Sport Cup 2 tires. Other options include massive 16.5-inch two-piece brake rotors. Those are some serious performance parts.
By comparison, the Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 makes 650 horsepower and 650 pound-feet of torque from its supercharged 6.2-liter engine. However, unlike the new Mustang GT500, the Camaro ZL1 has two gearboxes available—a six-speed manual or a 10-speed automatic. The 1LE package adds a host of track-oriented extras that include aerodynamic enhancements, sticker tires, and upgraded suspension components to the Chevrolet Camaro ZL1.
We can talk numbers all day long, but the real determination between which is a better track star has to happen on the race track. Ford made a splashy announcement at the Detroit Auto Show today, but we’re still waiting for the final performance numbers. Until then, we’ll have to debate online which new top-tier American sports car is best.