While originally made to excel on straight lines, some muscle cars are agile enough to hold their own on the track. Since their entry into the industry, muscle cars have had exciting gearboxes with blistering straight-line performance. Apart from the hair-raising acceleration, they also impress with a good look and the raw growl of the big V8 engines. Most importantly, their prices are easier on the pocket than other performance cars.
It’s clear, therefore, why Americans’ love affair with muscle cars shows no signs of waning. But unlike sports cars, muscle cars are tough beasts that are quite difficult to tame, offering little more than pure dragstrip-conquering performance. This is why most of them have a headache to drive in stop-and-go city traffic. However, many modern American muscle cars are just as much at home on the track as they are on the drag strip. These are the ten best muscle cars for track day.
10 2017 Dodge Challenger T/A
Weighing in at 4,274 pounds, the 2017 Challenger T/A rocked a black deck lid, roof and hood with a central air intake. Two versions were offered – one with a 5.7-liter HEMI V8 and the other with a 6.4-liter HEMI V8 unit. With 485 horsepower and 475 lb-ft on tap, the latter was able to cover a quarter-mile of 12.5 seconds at 116 mph.
Underneath, it got huge Brembo brakes and a non-adjustable Bilstein damper to aid handling. With the upgrades and everything, the 2017 Challenger T/A 392 was not only capable on the track, but it was also very easy to live with on a daily basis.
9 Ford Mustang Shelby GT350R 2019
Before being discontinued, the beautiful Shelby GT350R was the track specialist of the Mustang range. He got his motivation from a high-revving 5.2-litre V8 mill that also powered the GT350. Mated to a six-speed manual transmission, it delivered 526 hp of fury and 429 lb-ft of torque.
Thanks to various weight-saving measures and better aerodynamics, it could reach 100 km/h in 3.9 seconds. With a specially tuned chassis and sporty carbon fiber rims wrapped in special rubber, the 2019 GT350R was pure excitement on wheels.
8 2019 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 1LE
Dominating the Camaro range, the ZL1 powers the same 6.2-litre supercharged V8 engine that powers the Corvette Z06. Of 650 ponies and 650 lb-ft available at the push of a pedal, the 2019 ZL1 is a serious performance car. Pairing it with the coupe-only 1LE performance package brings performance dangerously close to the realm of supercars.
With wild aerodynamic improvements, sticky tires and manually adjustable front suspension, it tackles the track like a Corvette. With the level of thrills offered by the 2019 ZL1 1LE, it’s easy to forgive the car’s limited visibility to the outside.
7 2016 Chevrolet Camaro SS
Chevy’s beloved pony car entered its sixth generation in 2016 and ran on the GM Alpha platform shared with the Cadillac CTS. Under the hood of the SS versions was a 6.2 liter V8 mill – the same unit that powered the C7 Corvette. With 455 horsepower and 455 lb-ft of torque, it made the SS a monster on the track.
It came with standard features like a 4-way drive mode selector, limited slip differential and Brembo brakes; it attacked corners with confidence. On a straight line, he could hit 60 mph in four seconds and the quarter mile in 12.4 seconds at 115.8 mph.
6 2003 Ford Mustang SVT Cobra
Arriving in 2002 as a 2003 model, the Mustang SVT Cobra featured extensive chassis and powertrain upgrades. Underneath, it got a limited-slip rear differential, independent rear suspension and Bilstein monotube shocks on all four corners. Thanks to a chassis designed to withstand the SVT’s front-heavy weight distribution, handling was top-notch.
It was powered by a 4.6-liter supercharged modular V8 mill that put out 390 horsepower and 390 lb-ft through a Tremec six-speed manual transmission. This made zero to 60 mph in 4.5 seconds while a top speed of nearly 180 mph was possible without the governor.
5 Equus Bass 770
The Equus Bass 770 is a handcrafted muscle car that performs believably both on a racetrack and in a straight line. It runs on a 6.2-liter supercharged V8 engine that produces 640 horsepower and 605 lb-ft of torque. Mated to a six-speed dual-clutch transmission, it sends the 770 from 0 to 60 mph in 3.4 seconds and a top speed of 200 mph.
A set of powerful Brembo brakes provide effective stopping power, while various electronic aids are used to improve handling. Although it is not a very popular nameplate, it has everything to dance with the best.
4 Ford Mustang GT 2021 2021
All models in the 2021 Ford Mustang range are fun cars that guarantee driver satisfaction. The Mustang GT runs on a 5-liter V8 engine that produces 460 horsepower and 420 lb-ft of torque. Coupled with the available 10-speed automatic transmission, it takes the GT to 60 mph in four seconds.
For better handling and performance on the track, the GT Performance package adds unique chassis tuning and improved Brembo brakes. A larger radiator, stickier summer tires, a larger rear anti-roll bar, a Torsen limited slip differential and a performance rear wing are also offered.
3 Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat Redeye
The Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat is a super sedan that needs no introduction. In the Redeye version, this widebody bad boy is backed by an insane 797 horsepower and 707 lb-ft of twist. The large sedan, which is routed to the rear wheels, reaches a speed of 60 mph in 3.5 seconds and covers the quarter mile in 11.5 seconds at a speed of 126 mph.
Rolling on wider, stickier tires and with stiffer chassis components, the Hellcat Redeye is more agile than it looks and has excellent road grip. Not only is it fast, but it also has enough accommodation to take your family for the ride.
2 Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat Redeye
The SRT Hellcat Redeye was developed to fill the void left by the discontinued Challenger Demon. It runs on a slightly less powerful Demon engine – a 6.2-liter supercharged V8 with 797 horsepower and 707 lb-ft of torque. This is sent to the wheels via a reinforced ZF 8-speed automatic transmission.
With a 0-60mph time of 3.7 seconds, the Redeye is a beast on a straight line. However, thanks to a track-tuned suspension, it can also handle a day on the track. With its face-distorting acceleration and hellish soundtrack, the Hellcat Redeye is designed to send shivers of fear or excitement down your spine.
1 Ford Mustang Shelby GT500
Resurrected in 2020, the Shelby GT500 is much more than a muscle car. It is also a daily driver and track car that will lock exotic car horns and come out on top. Flip open the hood and you’re faced with a supercharged V8 mill that puts out 760 horsepower and 625 lb-ft of torque.
Addicted to a clairvoyant 7-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission, it steers the big car to 60 mph in 3.2 seconds. For almost supercar performance, the Carbon Fiber Track package adds a huge wing, Recaro bucket seats and 20-inch rims, while removing the rear seats. Not only does the GT500 burn rubber on the strip, it cuts corners with ease.