Could a Plymouth Superbird Beat a Modern NASCAR Camaro at Daytona?

A sim racing YouTuber pitted the two against each other in Assetto Corsa—wing car vs. Next Gen.

byHank O'Hop|
NASCAR photo
The Wind Tunnel via YouTube


Comparing modern cars to classics is a great way to start a fight. Folks will argue so passionately about which is better that you'd swear it's a life-or-death matter. The Wind Tunnel recently attempted to provide an answer, at least when it comes to stock car racing, by pinning the legendary 1970 Plymouth Superbird against a 2024 Camaro ZL1 with Assetto Corsa software. 

In this virtual experiment, the two cars raced at Daytona International Superspeedway. The Superbird is represented as a 430-horsepower variant with no restrictor plate. It has a zero to 60 mph time of 5.1 seconds, and a top speed of about 201 mph. On the other side, the 2024 Camaro ZL1 has 510 hp with a restrictor plate. It hits 60 mph in 4 seconds and has a top speed of 186 mph—quite a difference, yeah? 

The video goes on to show the Camaro gaining an impressive lead on the 55-year-old stock car off the line and holding it for several laps. However, the Superbird inevitably catches up and takes the lead repeatedly throughout multiple tests. 

Video thumbnail

If you're a wing car savant, these results likely don't come as a surprise. They were forged in wind tunnels back in the day to cut through the air like missiles, with a wing out back producing tremendous amounts of downforce. They were absolute tyrants on superspeedways and were essentially banned from NASCAR for being too fast just one season in, even after restrictor plates were mandated. 

As a classic Mopar lover, I really want to say this test confirms my bias of wing cars reigning supreme all these years later. It’s not that simple, though. 

A dead giveaway that real-world results may be vastly different is the 426 Hemi powering the virtual Superbird being rated at just 430 hp. This number is semi-accurate to a stock-tuned street Hemi, but not a racing version that would produce north of 600 hp without a restrictor plate. 

That's not to say a race between the two would be inherently trivial for the classic Superbird. Even with a jump of 200 hp, there are other factors to consider, like a modern NASCAR engine being able to produce the same level of power with a restrictor plate and a purpose-built chassis beneath it. Remember, the Superbird raced when they were based on factory cars and had a suspension to match. 

Hank O'Hop

And if you want a better representation of the real might of a wing car, skip the Plymouth. The Daytona Charger was capable of even higher top speeds than the Superbird, which lost some edge when it was reshaped to be more marketable. NASCAR legend Charlie Glotzbatch, former driver of the No. 99 Daytona Charger, told Diecast X Magazine that he was able to hit 243 mph at the Chelsea proving grounds in testing with the winged monster, which is in line with what an unrestricted modern NASCAR can reach out and touch. Mind you, top speeds shown in the video are more representative of lap averages, not what the cars could theoretically hit flat-out. 

Ultimately, this clip is a fun watch, but it's not entirely accurate. Until we’re fortunate enough to see a true NASCAR spec wing car put up against its modern counterpart on a superspeedway, we likely won’t have a real answer as to which is truly faster. Still, this test does inspire some fun thought experiments that beg the question: Which do you think would actually win?