Why the Hellcat Challenger Didn't Destroy the Corvette Stingray in This Race
The 2015 Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat is powered by a supercharged 6.2L Hemi V8 with 707 horsepower and 650lb-ft of torque while weighing 4,560lbs. The 2015 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray is powered by a naturally aspirated 6.2L LT1 V8 with 460 horsepower and 465lb-ft of torque while weighing just 3,298lbs. Even though the Corvette has a weight advantage of more than 1,200lbs, the Challenger still has a pretty significant advantage in power-to-weight ratio of 6.45lbs per horsepower to 7.17lbs per horsepower.
Hellcat Challenger VS Corvette Stingray on the Quarter Mile
On paper, the Hellcat Challenger should absolutely destroy the 2015 Corvette Stingray in a quarter mile drag race and with an NHRA certified stock-tire quarter mile time of 11.2 for the Challenger to the Stingray’s expected stock times in the 12.0-12.2 range, the big Dodge should beat the Vette pretty convincingly on a well prepared race track with two experienced drivers. However, out on the open road, results may vary based on conditions and driver skill so when Yahoo Autos' Ezra Dyer lined up in a new Stingray against the Wall Street Journal’s Dan Neil – we were all excited to see the outcome. Really, we were all excited to see just how badly the Hellcat Challenger destroyed the Corvette Stingray, but when the two were pitted head to head, the outcome wasn’t quite as lopsided as many people had expected.
The close race between the Hellcat Challenger and the Corvette Stingray caused many people to ramble on via the various social networks about how the Challenger really doesn’t have 707 horsepower or that it really isn’t capable of running an 11.20 stock quarter mile time. After all, the video below clearly shows that it could barely outrun a Stingray that should only run in the low 12s, but I can assure those naysayers that this video is a fine example of what should happen when these two awesome American performance cars meet on the bare, unprepared street surface.
Why the Hellcat Didn’t Devour the Stingray
The reason that the Hellcat Challenger only beat the Stingray by a small margin in the quarter mile comes down to the racing surface and the lack of available traction when trying to get away from the starting line. While the Challenger has a tremendous amount more horsepower and torque, I can say from my experiences with the beast that it is very tricky to launch hard. I made a few quarter mile runs with an automatic Hellcat Challenger similar to the one in the video and I was only able to muster a best time of 11.8 seconds on the unprepared race track. Those 11.2 NHRA quarter mile times were achieved by a professional driver on a very well prepared track in what was likely ideal weather.
Basically, when you launch the Hellcat Challenger, you are forced to baby the car through the first two gears before really cranking into the throttle. On the other hand, with “only” 460 horsepower and 465lb-ft of torque, the Stingray is much easier to launch hard so while the Challenger makes far more power at full throttle, it takes a few seconds of traveling down the quarter mile before you can put anywhere near that much power to the ground. However, with the Corvette, you can put all of the available power to the ground much more quickly.
This was why the Corvette Stingray jumped out to an early lead and maintained that lead throughout much of the quarter mile race, only to be caught and passed by the Challenger SRT Hellcat as the two cars neared the 1000 foot mark. Had the two raced on a half mile course, the beating would have been much, much more severe.