January 22, 2019 Volume 15 Issue 03
 

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Mustang Shelby GT500: Most powerful street-legal Ford ever

We were excited last June when Ford released details of its 526-hp 2019 Mustang Shelby GT350, but now the pony car maker has gone one better. Arriving this fall, the all-new 2020 Mustang Shelby GT500 is the most powerful street-legal Ford ever -- with a supercharged 5.2-liter V8 producing more than 700 hp. Capable of mid-three-second 0-60 mph and sub-11-second quarter-mile scores, Shelby GT500 owes a lot of its impressive new attributes to tech transfer from Ford GT and Mustang GT4 racing programs.

"Carroll was always working on the next faster Shelby. I think he would love this Mustang more than any other," said Jim Farley, Ford president, global markets. "The new Shelby GT500 will surprise supercar owners with its Ford Performance racing tech, supercharged engine, and visceral swagger."

Arriving this fall to join its Shelby GT350 little brother, Shelby GT500 is engineered to attack on all fronts. At the drag strip, it's set to produce a projected 700-plus horsepower via its first-in-class dual-clutch transmission. At the track, performance improves even more thanks to its race-bred chassis, custom Michelin tires, and the largest front brake rotors ever available on an American sports coupe. On the street, its menacing aerodynamic design and Ford Performance driver control technologies make every moment behind the wheel even more exhilarating.

In the process of making the all-new Shelby GT500 the quickest street-legal Mustang ever, Ford Performance says it created an exclusive powertrain to deliver new levels of power and torque.

"With its supercar-level powertrain, the all-new Shelby GT500 takes the sixth-generation Mustang to a performance level once reserved only for exotics," said Hermann Salenbauch, global director, Ford Performance vehicle programs. "As a Mustang, it has to be attainable and punch above its weight. To that end, we've set a new standard among American performance cars with our most powerful street-legal V8 engine to date, plus the quickest-shifting transmission ever in a Mustang for all-out precision and speed."

Shelby GT500 starts with a supercharged 5.2-liter aluminum alloy engine built by hand. To keep the intake air cooler and deliver a lower center of gravity, the team inverted a 2.65-liter roots-type supercharger with air-to-liquid intercooler tucked neatly in the V8 engine valley.

Like Shelby GT350, the aluminum alloy block features weight-saving wire-arc cylinder liners and high-flow aluminum cylinder heads, plus larger forged connecting rods and improved lubrication and cooling passages. Beneath that, a structural oil pan adds strength, reduces vibration, and features a patented active baffle system to keep oil where it's needed.

To channel power and torque to the unique carbon fiber driveshaft, Ford Performance leveraged experience from the tuning of its Ford GT supercar's dual-clutch transmission. The team selected a TREMEC 7-speed dual-clutch transmission, which can shift smoothly in less than 100 milliseconds -- markedly faster than any manual gearbox. This dual-clutch transmission is designed for a number of drive modes, including normal, slippery, sport, drag, and track, and features line-lock and rpm-selectable launch control through selectable Track Apps.

To harness the power and torque of the most powerful Mustang ever made for the street requires cutting-edge active chassis technology, track-bred Michelin tires, and Brembo brakes -- all dialed in by Ford Performance.

Shelby GT500 takes advantage of revised suspension geometry, a new electronic power steering unit, and lighter-weight coil springs front and rear. Next-generation active MagneRide suspension is included, along with the latest in advanced drive-mode technologies from Ford Performance. The payoff: the highest-ever lateral acceleration from a Mustang for greater track performance and driver control.

Custom Ford Performance-spec Michelin Pilot Sport 4S tires and more aggressive Pilot Sport Cup 2 tires feature unique compounds and tread. To provide track-ready stopping power, massive 16.5-in. two-piece rotors are added -- the largest of any domestic sports coupe -- plus larger, stiffer Brembo six-piston calipers. With 20 percent more swept area than the Shelby GT350's, these brakes have more than 30 percent additional thermal mass in the front corners.

Two handling packages with increasing levels of capability are offered. An available Handling Package includes adjustable strut top mounts and spoiler with Gurney flap. For the truly hardcore, an available Carbon Fiber Track Package features exposed 20-in. carbon fiber wheels with 0.5-in.-wider rear wheels (11.5-in.), custom Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 tires, adjustable exposed carbon fiber GT4 track wing, and splitter wickers with integrated dive plane. The rear seat is taken out to reduce weight.

The 2020 Shelby GT500 has functional track-hero looks to match its performance capabilities.

"With a double front grille opening and 50 percent more cooling pack airflow versus the Shelby GT350, along with the most advanced aero components and downforce we've ever offered, every millimeter of Shelby GT500's fastback design is aimed at improving performance," said Melvin Betancourt, Ford design manager.

Those large angular grille openings and the muscular hood combine for a menacing, aerodynamic-led design inspired by modern fighter jet aircraft. The car's wider front fenders and stance housing Shelby GT500-specific 20 x 11-in. wheels proportionally align to its rear fenders that hug up to 20 x 11.5-in. wheels. A standard new rear spoiler and updated composite materials in the rear diffuser result in added thermal management.

The team leveraged Ford's motorsports technical center in North Carolina and the Windshear rolling road wind tunnel facility (where top-tier racing teams test), to perfect the design of the Shelby GT500. Front fascia openings are more than doubled versus the Shelby GT350, while six heat exchangers are stuffed in to increase cooling pack airflow by more than 50 percent. A massive 31 x 28-in. louvered hood vent features a removable aluminum rain tray for better air extraction and increased downforce.

Shelby GT500's purpose-built cockpit boasts race-inspired premium materials and unique finishes. Premium touchpoints include an available exposed carbon fiber instrument panel appliqué and new door panel inserts in Dark Slate Miko suede with accent stitching. Available Recaro racing seats with firm side bolstering and pass-throughs for safety harnesses offer the highest level of performance. For those looking for even greater comfort, power-adjustable seating with Miko suede inserts is offered.

Also included is a 12-in. full-color LCD instrument cluster, while a high-performance custom-tuned 12-speaker B&O Play premium audio system is available. All of this is controlled via an 8-in. SYNC 3 touch screen featuring SiriusXM and FordPass Connect.

New colors for 2020 include Red Hot, Twister Orange, and Iconic Silver. Painted stripes are available for the all-new Shelby GT500.

VIDEO

Carroll Shelby, American racer and entrepreneur, took his legendary Mustang GT350 model further in 1967 to craft the first-generation Shelby GT500 with a modified 428-cubic-in. V8 inspired by his team's 1-2-3 finish at Le Mans. We bet the 2020 model is something he'd be proud of.

Ford has yet to release pricing (although we do know that the 2019 GT350 starts at $59,140).

Source: Ford Motor Co.

Published January 2019

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