DRAG races are the ultimate dispute-settlers. Putting two cars of differing merits on the same stretch of tarmac, side-by-side, at the same time is the easiest way of determining which one is king of the hill – at least as far as straight-line performance goes.
We set out to answer a few questions with our HSV head-to-head. How much of a lead does the mighty W1’s LS9 have over the more prosaic LSA? Both displace 6.2 litres, but does The General’s 474kW/815Nm big-boost bent-eight back up its on-paper dominance of the 410kW/691Nm LSA out on the drag strip?
Plus, what does spending an extra $74,000 actually net you? If you were lucky enough to be one of the few to snare a W1, is the hefty premium you paid justified in pure performance terms?
And then there’s another intriguing question: which would be faster, a powerful automatic, or an even more powerful manual?
Power often reigns supreme on the dragstrip, but manuals can be tricky to launch. Too many revs and not enough clutch slip and you’ll waste energy by frying the tires. Too few revs and the engine will bog down when you dump the clutch. Both scenarios will result in a crap elapsed time.
And then there’s also the brief pause in power delivery when rowing through a H-pattern manual gate.
So are you better off in an auto? Even one with substantially less poke than a manual? For this experiment we’ve lined up the LSA-powered HSV Senator Signature 30 Years with its muscle-bound sibling, the mighty GTS-R W1.
Both have six-speed transmissions, but the W1 has a traditional three-pedal manual while the Senator has a more user-friendly automatic. Does the W1 monster the Senator down the strip, or do slick auto shifts give the less-powerful car something of an edge? Watch our video to find out.