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Has anyone had any track experience with the Cobra

Joined
23 September 2022
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14
Location
Boston
I have a Ford guy at work that insists the the Ford Cobra (the Shelby/AC Cobra, not the Mustang) would wipe the track with a mildly modded NSX (I/H/E along with suspension bits - probably on par with a Type-R). Given equal driver ability, how well (or poorly) would an NSX (Type-R roughly) fare? Has anyone had any track experience with the Cobra?
 
Probably skewed towards the superior power/weight of the Cobra, but we can address this with some real-life data:
Road America is unchanged in it's layout from "then" until "now", and we have stop-watches:

Pole time in 1965 for a 289 Cobra with a pro driver on ye-olde tires was 2:38 and change.
I've seen a decently-well driven NA1/2 NSX turn a lap on the same layout (with the kink) in the low 2:5X range, let's say a real pro driver (maybe ask Peter Cunningham what his PB is around there in a stock-ish NSX?) could get into the 2:40s with skill alone.

Not a pretty picture for the stock-ish NSX once you put that 289 on modern tires and/or look at the 427 version.

Anecdotally I think the skill cap for being fast in a Cobra is higher (basically have to be a little insane) where the NSX is easier to drive up to 8/10ths. So a novice/intermediate skill driver might be quicker in the NSX, but in absolute terms, the Cobra is going to take it barring more serious mods to the NSX. I've autocrossed against some well-driven kit Cobras and the power/weight "argument" is pretty convincing given the skill to take advantage.

NC1 NSX is a bit of a different story I think though in case that was the context.
 
Agree with @R13, though it's a bit of an unsual comparison, as the Cobra (kit cars, since no one can afford a real one) s not typically shopped against a Gen1 NSX. The Cobra will have the advantage in the straights and the NSX will be faster through the corners, generally. It also depends on the circuit. Road America, with its long, fast straights would favor the Cobra. A circuit like Tsukuba, however, favors cornering and tends to nullify high power advantages. The NSX would do better there.

I was able to take a 427 Cobra kit car for a few laps at Watkins Glen over 20 years ago. The car had modern brakes and tires and it was still terrifying. It oversteers on the slightest application of throttle, is nervous on initial steering input and is absolutely mental on corner exit- the car wants to go in every direction but straight. You have to wrestle it into the racing line coming off the apex. Once you get it settled into a line, the acceleration is fearsome and unrelenting. It would take a very experienced and talented driver to squeeze a good lap out of this car. It's a completely different experience compared to the NSX. More like flying a P-51 Mustang LOL.
 
Depends on all the things mentioned. When I tracked alot there was a very experienced guy who had a track prepped replica and at the glen I could not keep up he was also on slicks. The cars where more equal at LRP where HP was not as important as overall corner speed.
 
Probably skewed towards the superior power/weight of the Cobra, but we can address this with some real-life data:
Road America is unchanged in it's layout from "then" until "now", and we have stop-watches:

Pole time in 1965 for a 289 Cobra with a pro driver on ye-olde tires was 2:38 and change.
I've seen a decently-well driven NA1/2 NSX turn a lap on the same layout (with the kink) in the low 2:5X range, let's say a real pro driver (maybe ask Peter Cunningham what his PB is around there in a stock-ish NSX?) could get into the 2:40s with skill alone.

Not a pretty picture for the stock-ish NSX once you put that 289 on modern tires and/or look at the 427 version.

Anecdotally I think the skill cap for being fast in a Cobra is higher (basically have to be a little insane) where the NSX is easier to drive up to 8/10ths. So a novice/intermediate skill driver might be quicker in the NSX, but in absolute terms, the Cobra is going to take it barring more serious mods to the NSX. I've autocrossed against some well-driven kit Cobras and the power/weight "argument" is pretty convincing given the skill to take advantage.

NC1 NSX is a bit of a different story I think though in case that was the context.
Thanks Man . You have prove a great point
 
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