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There are a lot of great contenders to choose from if you’re in the market for V8 muscle cars. This is especially true if you’re looking to get something with a supercharged powerplant creating relentless horsepower. With the Dodge Challenger currently holding its place as the best-selling muscle car, it’s hard not to immediately put eyes on the Hellcat. However, the Camaro ZL1 should definitely make it to the list of considerations. How do they stack up against each other?

Watch these brutes go head to head on track

2022 Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat Engine
Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat Engine | Stellantis

James and Thomas from the Throttle House Youtube channel put a 2019 Dodge Challenger Hellcat Redeye up against a Chevrolet Camaro ZL1. Throughout the video, the hosts pit the muscle cars head to head in a series of competitions. These include a drag race, drifting, and a hot lap around the Throttle House race track.

On paper, the cars seem fairly comparable. The Hellcat Redeye puts out a whopping 797 horsepower thanks to its 6.2-liter supercharged Hemi V8. However, not to be outshined, the Camaro ZL1 also packs a 6.2-liter supercharged V8. Though, it makes 650 horsepower.

If there’s one thing the Hellcat is known for, it’s going fast in a straight line. So, pitting it against the corner-oriented Camaro ZL1 1LE seems like a moot point. Especially if you consider the Camaro’s missing 147 horsepower and its manual transmission as compared to the Hellcat’s automatic. Predictably, the Hellcat wins the drag race. However, it only clears about a car length on the Camaro. Certainly, the ZL1 is no joke!

Moving past the drag racing portion is where things step into Camaro Zl1 territory, though. This is especially true thanks to the 1LE package equipped on this ZL1. The 1LE package adds aggressive aero components like the carbon front canards, splitter, and the massive rear wing. Additionally, the 1LE adds much more aggressive suspension and Recaro bucket seats. Despite the Camaro’s muscle car heritage and association with going in a straight line, the 1LE is absolutely a dominant force when it comes to corners.

Is the ZL1 faster than the Hellcat?

The 1LE package is all well and good. However, the Hellcat Redeye also features upgraded suspension components to make it perform in conditions where the road isn’t so straight.

As one might expect, with power ranging from 650 to nearly 800 horsepower, both of these cars have no issues getting the rear end out and sliding. The Camaro’s track-oriented suspension and incredibly grippy Goodyear tires make it a bit of a fight, though. Believe it or not, the Camaro wants to get out of corners with no pomp and circumstance. Meanwhile, the Hellcat will gladly cook an entire pair of rear tires within a lap if you so desire.

During the hot laps, Thomas Holland describes the driving experience of each car. Predictably, he gives high praise to the Camaro ZL1 1LE and its ability to carry remarkable speed both in and out of corners. However, his remarks about the Hellcat Redeye on track are a bit surprising.

“…it’s brutally fast in a straight line and much more tame, albeit a bit slower in the corners. That being said, once you get used to the size, it’s a surprisingly easy car to drive at the limit of traction,” says Holland.

However, the track times speak for themselves. The Hellcat Redeye came in nearly five seconds slower than the Camaro ZL1 1LE. While the 1LE set a new lap record on their track, the Hellcat Redeye came in behind a handful of cars, including the Honda Civic Type R, which has nearly 500 less horsepower than the Hellcat.

Which should you buy?

White 2019 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 1LE on racetrack
Camaro ZL1 1LE | Chevrolet

Effectively, it really comes down to what you intend to use the car for. If you just want something that’s fast in a straight line, then the Hellcat Redeye is the clear choice.

However, if you’re after a car that is still ferociously quick in a straight line yet manages to whip itself into and around corners with the simplicity of sports cars half its size, the Camaro ZL1 1LE is undoubtedly the play.


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