Ever since we heard that the ZL1 was coming down the line, we—much like everyone else—wondered if it would finally be the Hellcat slayer that hard-core Chevrolet fans yearned for. Someone has finally stepped up to the plate to answer that question and it just so happens to be none other than industry legend John Hennessey.
A couple of weeks ago, we brought you a video of Hennessey taking the new ZL1 to its top speed—which was a slightly disappointing 173 mph. Now, just several weeks later, we find him back at it again, battling against a bone stock Hellcat in a test to see who really is the baddest on the block when it comes to all-out acceleration.
By now, everyone knows that the Hellcat is a 707-horsepower beast. It has become the defacto benchmark by which many of the world’s fastest cars are measured—including the Corvette Z06. But few have had what it takes to defeat the ‘Cat in stock trim. The Z06 may be able to squeak out a win, but from what we’ve seen, it typically comes down to the driver in that matchup.
All this is an insane testament to just how capable the 6.2-liter Hemi equipped Hellcat really is, especially when you consider the fact that most of them weigh in North of 4,200 pounds (Dodge lists the curb weight at 4,575 pounds). The 2017 ZL1, on the other hand, can weigh up to 692 pounds less in its lightest configuration. For all of you who don’t want to do the math on that, the ZL1 still weighs in at a not-light 3,883 at its lightest and 4,113 at its heaviest. This, however, is still significant weight savings when compared with the fat ‘Cat.
We were sure that the weight difference would be the deciding factor in this race—giving the ZL1 the obvious nod. The Hellcat is still up 57 horsepower on the ZL1, but that typically isn’t enough to make up for at least a several hundred pound disadvantage. That’s why we were a little shocked to see Hennessy’s sixth-gen fall behind at the hit and never make up the ground, and more than once.
They perform the test several time, putting to rest any notions that the run was a fluke or an error on the part of a single driver. Needless to say, we were more than a little bummed to see the ZL1 lose this race. We aren’t in the business of making excuses for a car that clearly lost a fair race, but it is interesting to note that the ZL1 is a manual car.
While the test is a clear victory for the Dodge, we are now left curious about how the matchup would go against the 10-speed equipped Camaro. In a recent test conducted by Automobile magazine, the automatic version of the ZL1 was .4 of a second quicker in the quarter mile than its manual counter part—yes, .4! That means the auto version of the ZL1 is substantially faster. Would the test be different if it was auto vs. auto or manual vs. manual? Perhaps. But we’d rather come in second in the ZL1 than win in the Hellcat—but that’s probably just us.