Camaro ZL1 Puts Up Valiant Fight In Challenger Hellcat Drag Race

The current muscle car war has Chevrolet sitting in third next to Detroit rivals Ford and Dodge. From a sheer power standpoint, Dodge rules the roost with its Challenger but we’ve seen the Mustang Shelby GT500 hold its own in straight-line speed. With 650 horsepower (485 kilowatts), the Camaro ZL1 is over 100 hp (75 kW) down compared to its rival flagships. But this drag race video isn’t a flagship battle. Can the ZL1 hang with a mere Hellcat?

This clip from the YouTube channel Wheels seeks to answer that question, but as always, there’s a caveat. We have no information regarding possible modifications to these cars, so we can’t confirm whether this is a stock-for-stock faceoff. That said, we can tell you the racing action takes place at Canada’s Mission Raceway Park, which is close to sea level so there’s plenty of air for the engines to breathe. We can also tell you at least one of the two Hellcats in this video is equipped with drag radials, though we suspect all the cars featured here have some properly sticky rubber.

The video gives us two matchups, with the same ZL1 racing two different Hellcats. Assuming the cars are stock, we’d expect to see the Hellcats finish first with a modest advantage but imagine our surprise when the Camaro jumps to an early lead on the first race. It’s a legit nail-biter with the Challenger trying to overcome a slower reaction time and possibly some traction issues, but the Hellcat’s power makes up the difference on the big end. The Camaro crosses the line with an 11.26 ET, a solid time in line with a healthy, stock ZL1. The Hellcat finishes with an impressive 10.63, suggesting it might not be entirely stock.

The second race sees another black Hellcat and right off the bat we notice skinny tires up front with drag radials at the back. The traction helps the Hellcat driver nab a significant advantage off the starting line, though this Hellcat actually runs a slower ET at 10.86. This time does feel like something from a stock Hellcat on race tires, but with a time of 11.28, the Camaro still can’t keep up. And that’s before losing a car length from the slow start.

Rumors say Chevrolet will give the ZL1 a small boost to 670 hp (500 kW) for a special Collector’s Edition in 2024, possibly ending the entire Camaro production run. That’s neat, but if 2024 is the final hurrah for Chevy’s warhorse, we hope it goes out with a bigger bang than that. The loyal Bow Tie fans deserve a factory-fresh Hellcat killer, if only for a little while.

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Wheels via YouTube

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