Drag Race: Mustang Mach 1 vs Shelby GT500

If you’re reading this, then that means you are in the mood to watch a drag race. We can’t blame you. We’re always in the mood for a good drag racing video too. In recent weeks we’ve presented some interesting matchups. If you’ve been following along, you have seen everything from a Lamborghini versus an Audi RS5 to a McLaren 720S against a Tesla Model S Plaid.

We even presented some off-the-wall races like the three-way battle between an F1 car, BWM superbike, and a Porsche 911. One matchup that we haven’t seen yet is two of the same chassis going against each other. The test team at Edmunds wanted to see what would happen if two Ford Mustangs faced off in a drag race.

Even though both chassis are the same, there is actually one big difference between them. One Mustang is a Mach 1. The other one is a Shelby GT500. Now, do you see the difference we’re talking about?

2021 Ford Mustang Mach 1

2021 Ford Mustang Mach 1 similar to the car used in the drag race video in this article
Ford Mustang Mach 1 | Ford

The Ford Mustang is an American icon. For decades the Mustang has been the car of choice for drivers all over the country who wanted to go in a straight line really fast. Granted, the early base models of the Mustang were not the most powerful cars in the world, but over time the engines got bigger, and the horsepower numbers got higher. Eventually, the Mach 1 variant was born and sat atop the Mustang model line for a long time.

The Mach 1 name continues today, and just like in past decades, the Mach 1 is near the top of all the available Mustang trims. Its 480 horsepower 5.0-liter V8 packs plenty of punch, but unlike the Mustangs of the past, the new Mach 1 can do much more than just go in a straight line. The current Mustangs are much more road course-focused than the classic pony cars. However, is a Mustang still be called a “Mustang” if it can’t rip down the quarter-mile in a proper drag race?

The Ford Mustang Mach 1 should be a formidable opponent against most other sports cars by all rights. Then again, the Mach 1 is lining up against a vehicle that is more than “formidable.”

2020 Ford Mustang Shelby GT500

orange 2020 Ford Mustang Shelby GT500 similar to the car used in the drag race featured in this article
Ford Mustang Shelby GT500 | Ford

Remember earlier when we said the Mach 1 was near the top of the available Mustang trims? Well, the reason it’s not at the top is because the Shelby GT500 is already there. Like the Mach 1, the Shelby GT500 has a storied history that goes back decades. The original GT500 was a creation of the legendary racer and tuner Carol Shelby. Eventually, Ford brought the Shelby GT500 into their official model line, and the rest is history.

As for current day, the Shelby GT500 comes equipped with a 5.2 liter, supercharged V8 engine that pumps out 760 horsepower. By now, you probably realize that the GT500 has a significant power advantage over the Mach 1; basic math would agree with you. On paper, the GT500 should have no problem winning this drag race. On the other hand, there is one major factor that could hinder the GT500’s performance. The two cars are not racing on a traditional drag strip that has been prepared specifically for straight-line racing; rather, the Mustangs are facing off on the straightaway of a road course. That means the GT500 may struggle to find grip and put its power down.

Drag Race: Mach 1 vs. Shelby GT500

Considering the GT500 has a 280 horsepower advantage over the Mach 1, it seems like a sure thing that it will win this drag race. However, as we mentioned before, the cars will be racing on a non-prepped surface. Can the GT500’s transmission put all that power down effectively? The Mach 1’s more manageable power and 10-speed automatic might just be the formula required to win. Make your predictions, then check out the race above to see if you guessed right.

Though, if we’re honest, we already know how this one will turn out. It is entertaining to watch it all unfold nonetheless.

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