It's a big time for big power. With a half-dozen reliable ways to make 800 hp in the aftermarket and an unbelievable amount of over-700-hp production cars, headline numbers have never been more achievable. But, as this Hoonigan drag race between a C8 and an 850-hp NASCAR race car shows, there's more to life and driving than sheer power.
Now, a NASCAR stock car may be cool enough on its own, but when it blew its original motor, drifter Dylan Hughes had a more interesting idea. Because the stock car was a two-generation-old Camry, Hughes decided to drop in Toyota's most famous motor: a 2JZ inline-six, of Mk. IV Supra fame. And, as you do when you get a 2JZ, he also added a big turbocharger. The Garrett GTX4088R boosts the power of the 3.0-liter to 850 hp, plenty in a 2900-hp, solid-axle, rear-wheel-drive application. The four-speed manual sends power through a 4.10 rear end, capping maximum speed at around 140 but making the Camry even more brutal off the line. A pair of drag radials and an aftermarket launch control system help prep the road-race-spec car for drag strip duty.
The C8 Corvette, meanwhile, comes drag strip ready from the factory. The bulky 6.2-liter makes big power down low, in good GM small block fashion. It sends 490 hp and 465 lb-ft of torque to the rear wheels through an eight-speed Tremec dual-clutch transmission. That's a huge power disadvantage, especially considering it has to haul 700 extra pounds compared to the Camry stock car. The numbers suggest it'll get walked.
Watch the video, though, and you'll see what factory tuning and properly calibrated launch control can do. From a start, the C8 leaps ahead of the Camry. After struggling for grip, the Camry eventually hooks up, but it can't close the gap before the 1000-ft race ends. Even with a car-length advantage from the start on its second try, the race car can't beat the factory C8. A good reminder, then, that it isn't about power. It's about what you can do with it.