Motor Trend’s Head 2 Head recently put the C6 Corvette ZR1 up against the new SRT Viper GTS in a variety of settings, and – spoiler alert – the Chevy emerged as the champ once again.
Jonny Lieberman, senior features editor of the magazine, first climbs into the two cars and after taking both for a spin, says he actually had a hard time telling one from the other – “they’re that similar.”
“Running around on the same roads, back to back, we couldn’t even get a tire to squeak,” Lieberman says. “Thing is, the limits of these cars are so high that you can’t even begin to sanely approach them on public roads. Personally, I would have had more fun in a Boxster, Camaro 1LE or a Subaru.”
So if you can’t fully exploit these two beasts on the street, he says, “then you’ve got to take them to a track, and what better track than that notorious destroyer of brakes, Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca.”
Lieberman proclaims the ZR1 is “such a beast.” With its 15-inch ceramic brakes and sticky Michelin Cup tires, the Corvette offers tremendous control, he says.
“What an amazing car!” he says during his trip around the course. “Wow, what a machine! What a violent, fun, athletic machine! I just hope they build these forever – so much fun, what a car!”
Climbing into the Viper, he’s impressed with “so much power! This thing just lights up at 5,000 RPM. That’s actually where max torque is.”
However, Lieberman quickly comes to realize that “it’s a lot more work to go fast” in the Viper, which “doesn’t have nearly the brakes or nearly the grip of the ZR1.”
What’s funny, Lieberman says, “is that when you get near red line, there’s a red snake face that lights up – the car wants to bite you. I’m actually surprised this thing doesn’t punch you in the crotch when you get near red line!”
But, Lieberman does say the Viper feels faster than the ZR1 on straight line acceleration, but as he then heads into the corkscrew, he admits, “I’m not getting the confidence in the Viper that I had in the ZR1. It doesn’t seem to grip as well or as quickly at high speeds.”
The Viper is “a lot of fun,” he concludes, “but a lot of work, too. What a mean car, what a mean, mean car!”
Lieberman says he prefers the Corvette but wonders what a professional race car driver like Randy Pobst would think about the performance of the two cars.
Pobst ends up with the same conclusions, saying that the ZR1 is “more refined, an easier car to drive, a brutally fast car” while the Viper is “powerful, viscereal, kinda wild and crazy ride, fun car, less refined ride than the Corvette but faster in the straight line.”
In the end, Pobst sets a new production car lap time with a 1:33.70 in the ZR1, more than two seconds faster than the Viper’s mark of 1:35.77.
Both cars are faster than some notable foreign rides, including the Ferrari and Nissan GT-R, prompting Lieberman to proclaim, “God bless America!”
MotorTrend Head 2 Head
Edmunds Dynos the 2012 Corvette ZR1 and the 2013 SRT Viper GTS
[VIDEO] Burnout Super Test: 2012 Corvette ZR1 vs 2013 SRT Viper GTS
2013 Corvette ZR1 Beats Out 2013 SRT Viper for Lap Record at Laguna Seca