The Cars of Lightning Lap 2021

2021 chevrolet corvette and 2021 ford mustang shelby gt500

Marc UrbanoCar and Driver

Each year we take the hottest cars to Virginia International Raceway (VIR) and lap them on the track’s 4.1-mile Grand Course. The course includes 24 turns and over 120 feet of elevation change, and it’s the closest thing we have in the U.S. to the N├╝rburgring Nordschleife. This year, we took 18 cars down to Virginia, and our editors set some fast lap times. Among these Lightning Lap pairs, which cars would you pick for yourself?

Lightning Lap 2021

2021 mclaren 765lt

Marc UrbanoCar and Driver

2020 lamborghini huracan evo

Marc UrbanoCar and Driver

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The McLaren 765LT is the more insane, track-focused version of the 720S that’s been fortified with parts from the Senna, the current lap record holder at our Lightning Lap test. It’s powered by a 755-hp twin-turbocharged 4.0-liter V-8, while the Lamborghini Hurac├ín Evo has a screaming 631-hp 5.2-liter V-10 on tap. Both are in our $250,000-plus category.


2021 porsche 911 turbo s

Marc UrbanoCar and Driver

2020 porsche taycan turbo s

Marc UrbanoCar and Driver

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These two Porsches have “Turbo S” in their name, but only one actually has turbochargers. The 640-hp 992-generation 911 Turbo S is tied for the second-quickest car we’ve ever tested with a zero-to-60-mph time of just 2.2 seconds, and the electric Taycan Turbo S is also tied for a record, though for the quickest four-door we’ve ever tested with a sprint to 60 mph in 2.4 seconds. Which “Turbo” are you racing for?


2020 bmw m8 competition

Marc UrbanoCar and Driver

2021 jaguar f type r

Marc UrbanoCar and Driver

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The M8 Competition sits atop BMW’s M lineup, and the F-type R is the top dog of the F-type lineup, which recently got a subtle redesign. The Jag is powered by a 575-hp supercharged 5.0-liter V-8, while the Bimmer’s twin-turbocharged 4.4-liter V-8 puts out a mighty 617 ponies. Are you a fan of the bright Java Green paint job, though?


2021 toyota supra 30

Marc UrbanoCar and Driver

2020 porsche 718 cayman gt4

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Toyota gave the Supra 3.0 a power bump to 382 horsepower for its second model year along with noticeable handling improvements, but the 718 Cayman GT4 is a different animal. It’s powered by a 414-hp naturally aspirated 4.0-liter flat-six paired with a six-speed manual transmission. Would you rather lap the Supra with its boosted six or Porsche’s purist’s sports car with a do-it-yourself gearbox?


2020 cadillac ct5 v

Marc UrbanoCar and Driver

2020 bmw m340i

Marc UrbanoCar and Driver

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These two sports sedans have more powerful variants, the CT5-V Blackwing and the M3, but that doesn’t mean they should be dismissed. The CT5-V uses a twin-turbocharged V-6 putting out 360 horsepower while the M340i makes 382 horses from its turbocharged inline-six. Are you clamoring for the keys to the American or German luxury sports sedan?


2020 cadillac ct4 v

Marc UrbanoCar and Driver

2020 mercedes amg cla45

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Cadillac’s CT4 is essentially a reskinned ATS, and this medium-performance version (a more powerful V Blackwing has just debuted) has a big 2.7-liter turbo-four under the hood. But power-wise, it’s no match for Mercedes-AMG’s highly boosted 2.0-liter turbo-four, which provides an impressive 382 horsepower in the small CLA45. Which of these pocket rockets do you prefer?


2021 toyota supra 20

Marc UrbanoCar and Driver

2020 ford mustang 23l high performance

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We paired up these four-cylinder, rear-wheel-drive coupes in a comparison test last year, and now they’re facing off yet again in a track battle. The Supra’s 255-hp BMW-sourced turbo-four is down on power compared with the Mustang’s 330-hp 2.3-liter EcoBoost four, but the Toyota is smaller and lighter, making for a close matchup.


2020 ford mustang shelby gt500

Marc UrbanoCar and Driver

2020 chevrolet corvette stingray z51

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The Corvette and Mustang were never direct rivals, but they’ve taken especially divergent paths as of late because of the Chevy’s switch to a mid-engine layout. Still, muscle is muscle, and we were eager to lap both of these American machines this year. Of course, the Mustang’s 760-horsepower supercharged Shelby variant is more akin to the Corvette’s many higher-performance models that have yet to debut. But which would you choose?


2020 mini john cooper works gp

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2019 subaru sti s209

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Think of these two turbocharged wonders as the ultimate expressions of their respective brands. The GP is the hottest Mini hatch you can buy, with a more powerful engine, an upgraded chassis, and a rear-seat delete to save weight. While the special-edition S209 is a rally-inspired all-wheel-drive sedan that’s meant to send off the current-generation STI in style. Which is your pick?


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