As insane as the 1400-hp Mach-E is, it’s not the only high-powered electric Ford Mustang drag racer. A few months prior, Ford unveiled an equally-powerful Mustang Cobra Jet EV for the drag strip. If that name sounds familiar, it’s because it’s previously appeared on several gasoline-powered track-only cars. But which is faster, the ICE one or the EV? Ford decided to settle it on the drag strip.
2020 Ford Mustang Cobra Jet 1400 vs. 2018 Ford Mustang Cobra Jet: the specs
Not all of the 2020 Ford Mustang Cobra Jet 1400’s powertrain details have been revealed, Autoblog reports. But we do know the one-off EV racer has 4 motors, which combined put out 1400 hp and 1100 lb-ft, Motor1 reports. At least, that was the goal Ford set for itself.
However, at its public unveiling during testing at the US Nationals, the Mustang Cobra Jet 1400 managed to beat those expectations, Motor Trend reports. It puts out 1502 hp, and definitely more than 1100 lb-ft. As a result, the EV ran the ¼-mile in 8.27 seconds, with a trap speed of 168 mph. In comparison, on a prepped surface, a Tesla Model 3 Performance needed 11.71 seconds to do the same. And it was about 54 mph slower.
The gasoline-powered 2018 Ford Mustang Cobra Jet 50th Anniversary Edition, though, isn’t exactly a pushover. Under the hood it has a supercharged 5.2-liter V8, which sends power to the rear wheels via a 3-speed transmission, MT reports. The exact output isn’t known. However, Ford claims it can run the ¼-mile in roughly 8 seconds, with a trap speed of over 150 mph. MT estimates it has over 700 hp at the very least. Car and Driver estimates it could be as much as 1000 hp.
Admittedly, that’s still less than the electric Ford Mustang Cobra Jet has. However, the EV’s batteries may mean it weighs more than the ICE one. Plus, a good 0-60 time on paper doesn’t mean it’ll be easy to launch the actual car.
Which Ford Mustang Cobra Jet was the winner?
The Mustang Cobra Jets ran two races on two separate days on prepped NHRA drag strips. Bob Tasca III, the NHRA Funny Car driver who helped with the Cobra Jet 1400’s development, drove the EV, Autoweek reports. And behind the wheel of the ICE model was 2-time Funny Car champion, Tony Pedregon.
Because both Ford Mustang Cobra Jets are so fast, they come with several safety devices. Both have NHRA-certified roll cages, FIA-certified race seats, parachutes, and wheelie bars. And as it turns out, that last part came in handy.
In the first race, the Ford Mustang Cobra Jet 1400 launched so quickly, it wheelied for a bit down the strip. And Pedregon also had a slightly faster reaction time. As a result, the gasoline Cobra Jet won, crossing the line in 8.797 seconds with a trap speed of 156.81 mph. The EV, meanwhile, finished in 8.826 seconds at 156.81 mph.
However, in the second race (labeled ‘race 1’ in the video above), Pedregon didn’t apply enough brake pressure to keep the ICE Cobra Jet behind the starting line. As a result, it triggered the starting lights too early. Nevertheless, the Mustang Cobra Jet 1400 actually finished quicker than the 50th Anniversary Edition. The former ran the ¼-mile in 8.68 seconds, finishing at 162.84 mph. The latter ran it in 8.868 seconds with a trap speed of 158.82 mph.
Will there be more EV factor drag racers?
Unlike the Ford Mustang Cobra Jet 50th Anniversary Edition, the Cobra Jet 1400 is a one-off meant to demonstrate Ford’s EV technology capabilities. However, that doesn’t mean the automaker couldn’t revisit the idea in the future. In fact, developing the Cobra Jet 1400 is also a way to help the NHRA work on its future EV rules.
But it’s not the first factory-supported drag racer offered by an American automaker, though. Chevrolet made an electric COPO Camaro and sold it to a willing buyer. Admittedly, it had ‘only’ 700 hp. Chevrolet still offers limited-production COPO Camaros, albeit gasoline-powered ones. But if there’s enough demand, it’s demonstrated that it can supply.
Dodge, on the other hand, seems to be sticking to ICE for now. The new Challenger Drag Pak has a supercharged 5.8-liter V8, and can allegedly run the ¼-mile in 7.5 seconds.
Still, if anyone needed to be convinced that electric cars can be just as fast and pulse-pounding as gasoline ones, I’d say the Ford Mustang Cobra Jet 1400 demonstrated it perfectly.
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