It seems that more and more of these videos are surfacing recently (or maybe they always have and your author is just in the dark), but Palm Beach International Raceway seems to be the hot spot for match-ups between Chevrolets and much more expensive sports cars recently – especially since the Street Car Drags event just took place there. Earlier this week, a super controversial video of a ZL1 and McLaren hit the interwebs and caused quite a stir – but this time the video is of a showdown between a C7 Corvette Z51 and the electric-powered 2013 Tesla Model S P85. You can check it out below.
There are a few reasons why this video is worth mentioning. One, both competitors knew that the race was valid (not the case with the aforementioned video, which was a fun run with an unfamiliar driver). Each car had a GoPro camera or two mounted in strategic spots to capture the action. Two, there was more than one run. It’s hard to say by looking at a single race whether one car is actually faster than the other or if driver error may have been involved. Mind you, that can always be the case, but at least each driver has more than one chance to get it right.
The video shows the C7 and the Tesla running very similar quarter-mile times. In both runs, the Tesla clearly beats the Corvette off the line, but the Corvette slowly reels it in until both cross the finish line in a very close call with only hundredths of a second separating them (Tesla by 0.0235 in the first run and Corvette by 0.0774 in the second).
So what’s the big deal? Why does it matter that the $54,795 (base price) Corvette Z51 can keep up with the Tesla? Well for one, the Model S has a base MSRP of $97,900 – nearly twice that of the Corvette (for argument’s sake). Now, we’re no Tesla magazine, but we can break down the competition for you. It’s powered by a 310 kW AC motor producing 416 horsepower and 443 lb-ft of torque. It doesn’t have a transmission, but a single speed fixed gear, and can accelerate from 0 to 60 in 3.9 seconds with a top speed of 130mph. The rear-wheel drive Model S has a curb weight of 4,647 pounds and it gets the equivalent of 89 miles per gallon (MPGe).
By comparison, the rear-wheel drive Corvette is powered by a 6.2L LT1 V-8 engine, which produces 455 horsepower and 460 lb-ft of torque – considerably more than the Tesla. The Corvette in question is outfitted with the six-speed automatic transmission and can accelerate from 0 to 60 in 3.8 seconds with a top speed of 195mph. Curb weight is somewhere around 3,400 pounds, and fuel economy is an awesome 17mpg city and 29mpg highway.
So check out the video and let us know what you think. Is this video a win for the Corvette? We think it is.