Ford Shelby GT500 Mustang Beats Tesla Model S Plaid In A Drag Race

by Gabrielle DeSantis

Fans of the internal combustion engine are disheartened. This summer, the world has watched the Tesla Model S Plaid beat all competitors on the drag strip. Even trouncing the Dodge Demon. After enough videos, it began to look like no one could beat this electric sedan. Then Palm Beach Dyno stepped up to the challenge, and we got to watch as this Ford Shelby GT500 Mustang beats Tesla Model S Plaid in the quarter-mile.

Palm Beach Dyno

Florida | Photo by CHANDAN KHANNA/AFP via Getty Images

Ken Bjonnes is a veteran drag racer and mechanic. Bjonnes has been building cars to run ten-second quarter miles for almost twenty years. Some of his wildest projects include his old body style Mustangs and his F-150 SVT Lightning. After working for several racing teams, Bjonnes founded Palm Beach Dyno in Boynton Beach, Florida, in 2016.

Palm Beach Dyno offers both remote tuning and in-person dyno tuning to its customers. In addition, the Palm Beach Dyno team holds the records for the fastest drag car (both supercharged and overall) to use Ford’s 6R80 transmission. 

If anyone could beat the Model S Plaid in the quarter-mile, it would be Bjonnes and his team. But they would need a special car to do so.

The 2020 Ford Shelby GT500

Bjonnes began his latest drag racing project with a 2020 Ford Shelby GT500, CX1100R. The coupe came stock with a 5.2-liter supercharged V8. Bjonnes has been ramping up this build for a year and a half. His modifications include:

  • JLT intake.
  • Long-tube headers.
  • Fifth-generation 3.8L Whipple supercharger
  • Carbon fiber track pack

By the summer of 2021, Bjonnes’ drag-racing beast was running nine-second quarter miles. Moreover, the car’s tuned engine–rated at 1,100 horsepower–is powerful enough to break the occasional axle!

In July, Bjonnes took his car out on the drag racing circuit. On July 22nd, he was at the World Wide Technology Raceway in Madison, Illinois. The GT500 was running well, Bjonnes laying down decent times–then a Tesla Model S Plaid rolled onto the drag strip. A stock Tesla Model S Plaid can accelerate to 60 mph in two seconds and holds a world record. But Bjonnes did not back down: he challenged the electric supercar to a race.

Ford Shelby GT500 Mustang Beats Tesla Model S Plaid

The Drag Racing and Car Stuff Youtube channel was on hand to capture Bjonnes race the Tesla Model S Plaid. Their now-viral video shows two head-to-head races between the cars. Both races are very close, but in both races we can see the Shelby GT500 Mustang beats Tesla Model S Plaid.

These first two races feature a rolling start. Tesla fans have pointed out that much of the Model S Plaid’s speed comes from its incredible launch-control algorithm. So the Youtube channel included two more standing quarter-mile runs, one from each car. When both cars start from a standstill, the Ford Shelby GT500 is once again slightly quicker.

Bjonnes called his runs against the Tesla, “Awesome side by side racing.” He filmed his own video during the race. Later in the weekend’s MITM Elite event, the Tesla would go on to lay down a 9.08 second time at 154 mph, setting the Tesla Model S Plaid world record.

For Once, Mustang Beats Tesla

31 March 2020, Berlin: Andreas Lemmer, car mechanic and owner of his workshop, reaches for a wrench. Photo: Fabian Sommer/dpa (Photo by Fabian Sommer/picture alliance via Getty Images) A mechanic built 2020 Ford GT500 Mustang beat Tesla Model S Plaid in a drag race.
A mechanic’s workshop |Photo by Fabian Sommer/picture alliance via Getty Images

Not many people can say they built a drag-race-ready muscle car with their own hands, took it to the drag strip, and beat a record-setting Tesla Model S Plaid. Hates off to Bjonnes and his team! 

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