Production car drag races might very well be pointless when it comes to the overall performance of a car. But damn if they aren’t entertaining as hell to watch. Especially when it’s supercars lined up next to each other on an open runway where they can really get out and stretch their legs. It really comes down to the bragging rights of being able to say that your car is the fastest over a predetermined length of road.
Top Gear is no stranger to producing some epic drag race shootouts, but this particular one really sparked my attention because it has four cars that should be quite evenly matched, at least on paper. But as we all know, what’s on paper doesn’t always translate to what’s going to happen when the rubber meets the road. Let’s take a look at the contenders and some of the key features that might help them come out on top.
When you earn the nickname Godzilla or the Supercar Killer, you must be one bad S.O.B. And that’s exactly what the GTR is, or should I say was. As phenomenal as the GTR is and as technologically advanced as it was when it hit the scene, it almost seems outdated at this point. And when you think about it, minus a few small updates here and there, it’s still the same car that was released almost a decade ago. However, it still has a ridiculously powerful 3.8L twin turbo V6 that’s good for 562hp and 469lb-ft or torque, that combined with an extremely sophisticated all-wheel drive system and launch control the GTR will repeatedly rip off 0-60 times around 2.8 seconds, which happens to be the fastest claimed time of the group. The top speed is listed as 196mph but you know you could push it to 200mph if you really tried. There was a time when it would’ve been a no-brainer that the GTR would come out on top in an all out drag race. But other car companies have stepped their game up so significantly that now it’s the GTR that’s playing catch up. Maybe in a way, we have the GTR to thank for the advancement in supercar performance because Nissan managed to change the game by having a car with that performance for such a reasonable price.
Porsche 911 Turbo S
Like the GTR, there was a time when the Porsche 911 Turbo S was the pinnacle of off-the-line acceleration and was virtually unbeatable when it came to 0-60 times. I vividly remember back in the early ’90s scouring the back of Motor Trend magazine where they listed the specs on pretty much every production car. I was fascinated with the 0-60 time and for the longest time it was the Porsche 922 Turbo, Turbo S, GT2, or some variation that was listed as the fastest with times around 3.6/3.7 seconds. Which was significantly faster than almost any other car at the time. But then other cars started to get better and for a brief period of time, the 911 Turbo sort of fell out of the limelight, likely during the height of the GTR’s run. However, as of the past few years, Porsche has brought the Turbo back with a vengeance and now is making some of the best sports cars they’ve ever produced. Providing the oomph is a rear mounted 3.8L twin turbo flat six that produces 572hp and 553lb-ft. All that power is sent to yet another highly sophisticated all-wheel drive system that helps the 911 blast off the second fastest 0-60 time of the group with a time of 2.9 seconds. And with a top speed of 205mph, the Turbo S is heavily favored to win.
One of the newest additions to the supercar class is the 570S by McLaren. Technically it’s the “entry-level” supercar in the Mclaren lineup but trust me, there’s not a damn thing “entry-level” about it. This little 570S is a bad little car, not to mention it is absolutely gorgeous. I saw one at a local cars and coffee event in this spectacular shade of blue and it was simply stunning. Aside from the sexy body lines, the performance coming from the 570S is not even close to entry level either. Power comes from a mid-mounted 3.8L twin turbo V8 that puts out 562hp and 442lb-ft of torque. When it comes to the power delivery though, the 570S is at somewhat of a disadvantage in this shootout. That’s because it’s the only one in the group that doesn’t have all-wheel drive and instead all that power is sent to just the rear wheels. Even with a high-tech launch control system, it should struggle to get off the line compared to the all wheel drive cars. The claimed 0-60 of the 570S is 3.2 seconds and a top speed of 204mph. Even though it might be slightly outmatched on paper, keep in mind the 570S did win the title of Best Driver’s Car of 2016 so you never know what it might pull off.
Audi R8 V10 Plus
Last, but most definitely not least, is the Audi R8 V0 Plus which has always been an extremely capable car. But as of the last couple years, it seems as if the overall performance of the R8 has drastically increased. Especially the V10 Plus thanks to its 610hp coming from the 5.2L V10 that is considered one the best engines in modern history. It’s the same engine that powers the Lamborghini Huracan and Gallardo. That combined with the somewhat legendary Quattro all-wheel drive system allows the V10 Plus to crank off 3.2 seconds 0-60 times and run to a top speed of 205mph. Just like the other cars on this list, the Audi is no stranger to winning drag races. As a matter of fact, it even won the coveted “World’s Greatest Drag Race 6” put on by Motor Trend where it beat the GTR quite handily and barely edged out the 570S. One could probably even argue that the Audi is probably the best-suited car for drag racing and therefore should be favored to win.
Now you can see why this particular drag race was so intriguing to me. All the supercars are so evenly matched that it’s quite literally a toss-up as to who will come out on top. So place your bets because it’s about to go down. Again, don’t forget to comment below who you think will come out on top!