2020 Mustang Shelby GT500 Is the Most Powerful Ford Ever Built
It’s got more than 700 horsepower
and a wing stolen from a GT4 race car, but unfortunately it won’t come
with a manual transmission.
Let’s get the hard part out of the way first: it’s not a Voodoo. The car you see here, the 2020 Ford Mustang Shelby GT500, will run a 5.2-liter V8, but it’s not the flat-plane screamer that we love so dearly in the GT350. It is, however supercharged. Like, really supercharged. A 2.65-liter blower sits nestled deep in the vee of the aluminum block, capable of stuffing up to 12 psi of cooled air into the engine.
While exact power specs have not yet been revealed, at a Ford preview
event the week before the car’s debut at the 2019 North American
International Auto Show, chief program engineer Carl Widmann assured us
that the horsepower would be north of 700. For now, that’s good enough
for us. That figure helps propel the GT500 to a claimed mid-three-second
sprint to 60 mph. Ford also claims a sub 11-second quarter mile, useful
for ruling the strip—and making that hoser with the old GT500 eat his
hat. The automaker says this is the quickest-accelerating factory
Mustang ever built, with the most powerful street-legal V8 engine ever
offered by Ford.
But Ford isn’t just targeting drag times with the GT500. The automaker
sees the GT500 out on tracks, dicing it up at your local HPDE events and
wiping the smug look off that M3 driver’s face. “To be at today’s
pinnacle of performance, [the car] has to turn” noted Jim Owens,
marketing manager for the Mustang. The GT500 gets a specifically-tuned
version of Ford’s Magneride magnetorheological active damping system,
which began as an option on the GT350 and is now available across the
Perhaps the most contentious point about the GT500
is the gearbox. Row-your-own fans, you might want to take a seat. The
GT500 won’t be offered with a manual transmission. Instead, the GT500
will run a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission from Tremec.
The purist in us whimpers a little, but the realist gets it.
the days of a stick-shift being faster are over. Additionally, Ed
Krenz, chief functional engineer for Ford Performance, explained that a
dual clutch transmission is much better for on-track behavior because of
the smoothness and speed with which it can grab the next gear. A DCT is
less likely to upset the car mid-corner compared to a manual. When
asked if a manual was ever considered, Ford folks didn’t have much to
say, other than to point out that a manual might not make much sense in
such a high-power application. (The stick-shift Challenger Hellcat would
like a word.)
Stopping this thing shouldn’t be a problem. Massive
Brembo fixed calipers, six piston up front and four in the rear, clamp
down on gargantuan steel brake discs. The fronts span 420mm, making them
the largest front brakes available on any “domestic sports coupe,”
according to Ford. We believe it; they look like serving trays.
those stoppers are 20-by-11-inch aluminum wheels (one inch larger than
the GT350’s, to accommodate the massive brakes) wrapped in
custom-engineered Michelin Pilot Sport 4S tires.
It looks menacing, especially when fitted with the optional Carbon Fiber
Track Pack, which adds front splitter endplates and a massive, carbon
fiber decklid wing based on the unit designed for the Mustang GT4 race
car. The wing has two settings, regular and track, the latter angling it
up a few degrees for more downforce. According to Ford, that wing gives
the GT500 more rear downforce than the outrageous Ford GT. The Track
Pack also brings extremely lightweight 20-by-11.5-inch carbon fiber
wheels, which reduce unsprung weight and rotational mass in addition to
looking totally badass, and custom-compound Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2
tires. A less-aggressive Handling Package brings adjustable strut top
mounts and a smaller spoiler with Gurney flap. Per Ford, there will not
be a GT500R.
Is it any good? We’ll withhold judgment until we get some seat time, but
if its bloodline is anything to go from, it’s going to be excellent.
For now, we’ll find solace in the fact that while Ford is killing
exceptional cars like the Fiesta ST and the Focus RS and ST, it hasn’t
completely forgotten how to make a car that gets our adrenaline pumping.
The Big Snake arrives at dealerships this fall.