Street Drag Time: 2018 Mustang GT vs 2016 Shelby GT350R

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We know already know how these two beastly V8 engines do the track, but now it’s to take it to the streets.

The 2018 Ford Mustang GT is the quickest and the most powerful model to ever wear the GT moniker, thanks in part to the new 10-speed automatic transmission. The current Shelby GT350R is the highest performance model in the corral right now, but it is built for road course domination (as we’ve seen here already). This leads many to believe that the GT is the better car in a drag race.

To find out for sure, YouTuber Speed Phenom put the two head-to-head in a short drag race on the street to see which is quicker in a straight line.

Pony Car Glamour Shots

The video begins with a couple minutes of gorgeous footage of each car, including drone footage of the Mustangs cruising down the road. After that, the host of the video introduces us to the 2018 GT and the 2016 GT350R, providing some basic details and discussing the modes in which the two cars will be run.

2018 Mustang GT and 2016 GT350R

The 2018 Mustang GT has the 460-horsepower, 5.0-liter V8 mated to the new 10-speed automatic transmission while the Shelby GT350R has the 526-horsepower, 5.2-liter flat plane V8 mated to a 6-speed manual transmission.  The Shelby is also a bit lighter in stock form and it has stickier stock tires than the Mustang GT, so on paper, it appears that the GT350R should easily win the race.

The dispute, it seems, is that the Shelby’s engine makes its power at high RPMs, so it will be at a disadvantage in a short race. As we see, that is not the case.

Mustang Racing Action

The video includes three short drag races between the 2018 Mustang GT and the 2016 GT350R. The two don’t race much longer after the Shelby shifts into second gear, so this is really more of a race to 60 miles per hour or so than a real drag race, but these short runs on the narrow road answer the aforementioned question.

2018 Mustang GT Runs a 2016 Shelby GT350R

On the first run, both cars seem to leave right around idle and the newer Mustang takes an early lead over the Shelby. That early lead turns into an easy win.

On the second run, the Shelby driver brings up the engine speed a bit and gets out to a quick lead. The stronger Mustang continues to pull away for the win, and on the third run, the results are the same. With the GT350R driver launching like he wants to win, the more-powerful Mustang proves to be quicker in the short drag race.

So there you have it folks. The real winner in between these mechanical titans depends on the environment. GT for track, GT350R for the road.

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Longtime auto journalist Patrick Rall contributes to Ford Truck Enthusiasts, Rennlist, Club Lexus, F-150 Online, and YotaTech.

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