We had an early Corvette ZR-1 (C4 375 horsepower 5.7 V8) go up against our Ford Raptor R (700 hp 5.2) at the dragstrip, and it was a stupid kind of fun.
Yes, racing an early C4 Corvette ZR-1 against a pickup truck it completely pointless, but it was a hoot to film and watch. Besides, the idea of bringing the legendary ZR-1 out of retirement was compelling in itself. Our friend Jordan brought his 1990 Chevrolet Corvette ZR-1 out to play, and we immediately freaked out. Why? Because that ZR-1 was a legend.
What makes the 1990-1995 Corvette ZR-1 special?
General Motors worked with Lotus to design the new engine, which took the place of the L98. Called the “LT5” this all-aluminum block had four overhead camshafts, 32 valves and an all new air management system. Early versions, like the one Jordan brought, put out 375 horsepower, but later versions put out 405 hp. A ZF 6-speed manual transmission was standard.
It weighs 3,465 pounds, nearly half of the Raptor R’s curb weight.
Nearly every performance component, from the brakes to the suspension and tires were all-new or significantly upgraded with the ZR-1. At the time, its overall performance was rated as good if not better than almost any sports car in its class. It proved that the Corvette had the potential to be a world beater.
Our 2023 Ford Raptor R – the “R” is for Ridiculous
While it’s not quite as powerful as the monster Ram TRX, the supercharged 5.2-liter V8 Ford F-150 Raptor R is a 700-hp screamer. On top of that, it’s a lighter truck by about 500 pounds. Thus, with a total curb weight of 6,000 pounds, the power-to-weight numbers are compelling. If you include the fact that the truck can take off with power going to all four wheels, it has a real advantage at high elevation.
Despite its advantages, this is more than just one race – it’s three performance events. That means that the Raptor R has to do a rolling race, and a braking test against the ZR-1. As such, the outcome isn’t cut and dry.