The latest installment in the bikes versus cars drag races series was provided to us by the folks at Carwow. The British crew decided to have some fun on the track and pit an elegant piece of Italian machinery against two German and Japanese twin-turbo brutes in an octane-heavy drag race.
In the two-wheel corner, the 425-pound, 221-horsepower Ducati Panigale V4R. In the four-wheel corner, two heavily-moded competitors: a BMW M5 Competition armed with a 4.4L twin-turbo V8 tuned to produce 800 horsepower and 700 lb-ft of torque and a Nissan GT-R powered by a 4.1L twin-turbo V6 rated at 1,600 horsepower and 1,106 lb-ft of torque.
Host Mat Watson was at the wheel of the BMW, GT-R owner Rocky Bhattel drove his $390,000 custom creation (yep, a close-to-$400k Nissan) while pro moto racer Tommy Bridewell was put in charge of getting the most out of the V4R.
They did three runs—two with rolling starts—and one braking test. On the first, 50-mph rolling start race, despite its healthy 800 ponies, the BMW landed in third, quickly overtaken by the Panigale and by the 1,600-hp Nissan that ended the race light-years ahead of everyone.
They tackled a second rolling start race, this time at 40 mph, and in second gear for the sportbike. 50 mph in third was probably too far out of the bike’s peak range to truly be competitive so they agreed to give him a better chance. Sadly, the second attempt didn’t go as planned—the GT-R fell behind due to an unhappy transmission, something owner Bhattel predicted might happen.
Though one of the competitors didn't get to perform to his full potential, the trio took the second race’s opportunity to test the three vehicles’ emergency braking distance. The BMW won that round hands down while the Panigale ended up with the longest braking distance.
Despite the GT-R’s fragile transmission, they entered a fourth and final face-off: a proper, quarter-mile , starting from a standstill. The Panigale won fair and square with a 10-second time, followed by the BMW at 10.4 seconds. As for the $390,000, 1,600 hp Nissan, the dude blew half of the transmission with the even gears out of commission which landed him in third with an 11.8-second run.
Had the transmission held up, there could have been a possibility for the GT-R to smoke its competitors. That being said, competitions aren’t decided based on “what if mechanical fails didn’t happen” results but rather on who finished the fastest. So, that’s technically two wins for the Panigale out of the four tests versus one for the BMW and one for the GT-R. Ducati gets to gloat a little, especially considering that the V4R was the only stock vehicle in this race.