Episode 1 – Horsepower Wars Pony Wars: 2017 Mustang vs. 2017 Camaro

Power Automedia is in the throes of producing a no-excuses automotive show called Horsepower Wars. This new competition will feature many different exciting storylines and rivalries that will showdown during competitions across the country. The first installment of the Horsepower Wars saga, Pony Wars, will take on one of the oldest muscle car rivalries of all time by pitting a 2017 Camaro SS and Mustang GT against each other in four different challenges. Testing will take place via dyno testing, drag racing, road racing, and 60-0 mph braking.

Kicking off the series with a Camaro vs. Mustang storyline is only appropriate since the inspiration behind the entire competition came from a 2016 pilot show “Coyote vs. LS Shootout”, which was viewed over 2 million times online. We will take a closely matched 2017 Camaro SS and 2017 Ford Mustang GT, both equipped with automatic transmissions, then give the teams a budget of $5,000 for a bolt-on battle, and then $15,000 for the battle of the boosted machines, to see who comes out on top. Beforehand, baseline testing will be conducted simply to establish where each of our pony cars started out and will not be counted toward the competition – though, let’s be honest, we all want to know who’s faster in stock trim, too. We’ve spent many hours pinning down airtight rules so we can bring you the most accurate results possible. To read the full list of rules, see here.

First off, there is no prize for second place here, so both teams are expected to go all in. With the assistance of leading aftermarket experts such as Steeda, BMR, Holley, COMP Cams, and Lund Racing. The Mustang team shall be lead by Steve Turner, Executive Editor of FordNXT Magazine (FordNXT.com) and the Camaro team shall be led by Chase Christensen, Editor of LSX Magazine (LSXMag.com). Host Brian Petty, an experienced drag racer in his own right, will man the wheel during the dragstrip testing, and professional drivers will take both cars through the road racing challenge.

The tension is starting to build between the two teams, each confident that they’ll walk away victorious.

“The Camaro has the clear advantage here, and not just in the looks department either. It’s likely 200 pounds lighter, has better suspension, a better transmission, a better powerplant, and is easier on the eyes.” – Chase Christensen, Editor of LSX Magazine 

 The Mustang is a more adaptable platform and a better car to drive on a daily basis. The suspension is more comfortable and you can actually see out of the rear windows to navigate the street or the track. – Steve Turner, editor Ford NXT

The Horsepower Wars competition tech committee must sign off on the parts list and budget in advance, and all work will be done by the Horsepower Wars techs with each editor overseeing the build. In addition to equally matched factory options, sponsor Mickey Thompson will provide ET Street S/S drag radials for baseline testing and teams can opt to go with a more aggressive tire as power is added. The tires will be equally sized for all testing. For stage two, Weld Wheel drag-oriented wheels and tires will be utilized on both vehicles. And in case you’re wondering, no nitrous will be allowed throughout the entire competition.

To ensure both teams are budgeting fairly, and not just using Craigslist or Walmart to set their pricing, we’ve turned to Summit Racing who will not only be our official parts supplier but will establish pricing for both team’s lists. In addition to Summit Racing’s involvement, some of the best brands in the industry such as Mickey ThompsonHolleyProChargerCOMP Cams, BMR, QA1, E3, Royal Purple and many will be providing parts and support to each team, so this is going to get heated!

When questioned about the ensuing battle, each of the coordinating editors was confident in their vehicle’s capabilities and lambasted the competition. “No matter how the competition plays out, the Mustang is always a winner in the hearts of Ford fans. Chevy people can’t even resist putting their engines in our cars,” said Steve Turner, Editor of FordNXT. ” The Mustang is a more adaptable platform and a better car to drive on a daily basis. The suspension is more comfortable and you can actually see out of the rear windows to navigate the street or the track.” But LSX Magazine Editor, Chase Christensen, sees it a different way. “The Camaro has a clear advantage here, and not just in the looks department either. It’s likely 200 pounds lighter, has better suspension, a better transmission, a better powerplant, and is easier on the eyes. Any way you cut it, the Camaro is the clear leader here and I don’t intend to squander the lead.” But no matter how each editor feels, they’ll have to put their money where their mouth is as they move into the two build phases of our competition.

The car that has the most points at the end of the eight events (the four $5,000 events from Phase 1, and the four $15,000 events from Phase 2) takes home the crown of overall best Pony Car. To earn points, each vehicle must prove that it is either quicker or more powerful than the competition. However, each competition will be worth a predetermined amount of points. For example, the chassis dyno is worth two points for winning while the drag strip and road course are worth three points each. To make sure things don’t end in a tie at the end of it all, we’ve spiced things up with a 60-0 mph contest that will be worth one point. 


And while a $5K and $15K winner will be selected, each stage’s points will be totaled at the end of it all, giving us an overall champion. So, if say the Camaro wins at the drag strip and dyno for Phase 1, the Mustang still has a fighting chance to win competitions in Phase 2 and still walk away with ultimate bragging rights. There are 18 total points up for grabs and whoever can snag the most, will snag the crown in the process.

During Phase 1, each team will be restricted to bolt-on parts only, where the teams get to spend $5,000 on their pony. This means no fabrication, customization, nitrous, or internal modifications during this round. When the cars move into Phase 2, things will get really serious as they will get an additional $15,000 for upgrades; this includes ProCharger superchargers for each car. Beyond picking their own model and boost level for the blower, no fabrication, porting, or customization will be permitted. Engines may feature upgraded pistons, rods, bearings, rings and camshafts if desired. See the full list of rules here.

Safety equipment, spark plugs, ignition wires, fuel, brake pads, wheels/tires, gaskets and fluids will not be deducted from the team’s budget and will be provided by brands such as E3, EPIC, and Weld. The competition will focus on off-the-shelf parts available to any builder and both cars have to have a full exhaust system with catalytic converters and rear exiting tailpipes. To keep the challenge as even as possible, both teams will be closely monitored and are barred from using tricks such as ice intakes between rounds, removing air filters, or any other such chicanery that may skew the results in their favor and give them the extra edge – the competition will hinge solely on the parts and platforms.

Watch the entire competition as it unfolds for free at HorsepowerWars.com!

About the author

Elizabeth Puckett

Elizabeth is a seasoned writer and hardcore gearhead. She was born with motor oil in her blood and a passion for everything that goes fast.
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