A low 0–60 time has been a benchmark for decades when comparing performance cars. The two latest headline-grabbing autos are the 2020 C8 Corvette and the 2020 Mustang GT500. Comparing the two reveals that the 760-hp GT500 is slower to that magical number. Why? Prepare to nerd out on some math.
Jason Fenske at Engineering Explained released a video that has so much math in it that my student loan debt went up each minute I watched. Rather than waiting for Chevrolet and Ford to release the C8 and GT500 out into the wild for testing, Fenske uses formulas to call BS on a few numbers the manufacturers have released—and they may be sandbagging—and also figure out some numbers they haven’t yet released.
The root of the comparison, though, is that 0–60 stat. Though the Corvette faces off against the GT500’s 760 hp with just below 500 hp, the ’Vette is over half a second faster in the measured acceleration: 2.9 seconds versus the Mustang’s 3.5 seconds. Fenske uses the known coefficient of friction for the OEM tires and center of gravity to calculate the theoretical maximum acceleration force, then plugs that in to calculate perfect 0–60 times.
The Corvette “wins” this comparison thanks to the rear weight bias of the mid-rear engine placement. The GT500 appears to be traction-limited under 60 mph—and barges freight-train-style right on past the Corvette once the test is increased to a 0–100 mph pull.
Many of the numbers used in this video are theoretical, but Fenske has reasoning behind each of the figures he uses and acknowledges that the real world is not just numbers on a white board. Even so, it is fascinating to think of what could be just based on numbers.
It’ll be even more exciting behind the wheel of either of these machines.