Every year Motor Trend sets out to find its Best Driver’s Car. In addition to its smattering of typical tests, it also takes all the cars and put them head-to-head in the quarter-mile. For the past seven years, Motor Trend makes a little video to go along with it. This year, the World’s Greatest Drag Race takes its competition to a new venue. It also has some of the quickest cars ever tested.
In the past, the race took place at the Marine Corps Air Station El Toro in Irvine, California. However, that’s since undergone a conversion to a mixed-use space and lost its runway. This led the Motor Trend team to search out a new location. Thankfully, Vandenberg Air Force Base in Lompoc, California stepped up. This is a little strange since the base is still very active. However, the top brass navigated the security channels to get Motor Trend access to the runway.
Vandenberg is a pretty cool base in itself. It’s home to the USAF’s rocket and missile testing program. It also houses the SpaceX west coast launch facility. In addition to the rockets, it, more importantly, has a 15,000-foot runway capable of allowing the former Space Shuttle to land without issue.
The drag race is the standard quarter-mile affair. Instead of two cars going head-to-head though, Motor Trend lines up all 12 cars for the ultimate shootout.
During this year’s Best Driver’s Car test, the Miata was included in the competition — and would be a dead-cert for last in a drag race in this field. Motor Trend thought it would make a better spectacle to bench it for a Tesla Model S P100D. While this is a tad against the spirit of the competition, it does make it slightly more exciting to view than the 15 seconds it take the Miata to run the quarter.
Other competitors include the Ferrari 488 GTB and Alfa Romeo Giulia representing Italy. For England, the McLaren 570 GT and Aston Martin DB11 get their numbers called. Flying the red, white, and blue for the US is the Chevrolet Corvette Grand Sport and Camaro ZL1. Japan gets Godzilla itself with the Nissan GT-R Nismo and the Lexus LC500. Finally, for Germany, the Mercedes-AMG GTR and two Porsches — 911 Turbo S and 718 Cayman S — take charge.
With the field set, the countdown begins in the traditional rocket launch way — appropriate, in this setting!
If you’re curious to see how the race progressed, check out the Motor Trend video. Don’t scroll too far though, as we’ve posted the results below.
- 1st Place: Tesla Model S P100D 10.5 @ 125 mph
- 2nd Place: Ferrari 488 GTB 10.6 @ 135.2 mph
- 3rd Place: Porsche 911 Turbo S 10.6 @ 129.6 mph
- 4th Place: McLaren 570GT 10.7 @ 131.9 mph
- 5th Place: Nissan GT-R Nismo 11.0 @ 126.8 mph
- 6th Place: Mercedes-AMG GTR 11.4 @ 127.6 mph
- 7th Place: Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 11.7 @ 123 mph
- 8th Place: Aston Martin DB11 11.9 @ 124.7 mph
- 9th Place: Porsche 718 Cayman S 12.0 @ 114.9 mph
- 10th Place: Alfa Romeo Giulia 12.1 @ 119.8 mph
- 11th Place: Chevrolet Corvette Grand Sport 12.2 116.1 mph
- 12th Place: Lexus LC500 13.0 @ 109.8 mph
We found no real surprises at the sharp end. The Tesla is one of the fastest accelerating cars on the planet and it’s no secret an electric car will almost always be better in a drag race.
Towards the bottom, it was a little sobering to see the 718 and Giulia edge out the Corvette. While the Alfa has 45hp more and several hundred pounds less on the Corvette, it seems strange to see a purpose-built sports car lose out to a sedan. The 718 is about 500lb less than the Corvette, but it’s also down over 100hp and tuned more for corners than outright straight-line speed.
The drag race itself is pretty cool to watch and it gives a nice visual on how different cars perform when compared to one another. We only wish that the Hummvees had taken up a position with the cars — but with a 0-60 time of never and 190hp to haul around over three tons, they probably would still be trying to finish the race.