Ford Unleashes Most Powerful Mustang Yet: 2020 Shelby GT500

In  1967, the father of Mustang performance, Carroll Shelby, took his Mustang GT350 model several steps further by replacing the Ford small block with a modified FE 428 V8. The 7-liter engine was similar to that which powered the GT40 MK II to a 1-2-3 finish at the 24 Hours of Le Mans the previous year. In turn, Shelby called the original Shelby GT500 “the first real car I’m really proud of.” Now Ford has continued that legacy with the third-generation 2020 Mustang Shelby GT500 – the most powerful passenger car Ford has ever built.

The inspiration for the original GT500 came from the dominating performance of the V8 in Ford’s 1-2-3 victory at the 24 Hours of Le Mans.

The all-new Shelby GT500 delivers performance that would make Carroll Shelby smile with more than 700 horsepower creating the highest-technology and fastest street-legal acceleration Mustang to-date.

Available in Ford dealerships this Autumn, the Shelby GT500 is engineered to take on road courses and drag races, as well as dominate the streets. At the strip, its 700-plus horsepower is delivered to the ground with a first-in-class dual-clutch transmission. At a road circuit, a race-bred chassis, custom Michelin tires and the largest front brake rotors ever available on an American sports coupe make it as track-ready as they come.

Hand-built 5.2 Liter Hand-built Supercharged V8 Engine

Each 2020 GT500 5.2-liter engine is hand built with the build date inscribed on the supercharger cover.

Under the hood of the Shelby GT500 sits a hand-built, supercharged 5.2-liter aluminum alloy engine block. To reduce intake air temperature and as well as lower the center of gravity, a 2.65-liter roots-type supercharger with an air-to-liquid intercooler is positioned within the V8 engine valley.

The aluminum alloy block features components like wire-arc cylinder liners and, larger forged connecting rods, and higher-capacity lubrication and cooling passages. A structural oil pan is bolted to the bottom of the block which adds strength, reduces vibration, and features a patented active baffle system to keep oil where it’s needed. Topping off the engine are high-flow aluminum cylinder heads.

Lightning Fast Dual-Clutch Transmission

Engineers looked to the success of a dual-clutch transmission in the Ford GT and selected a TREMEC  7-speed dual-clutch gearbox, which shifts faster than any manual gearbox. The driver can select from a number of drive modes, including normal, slippery, sport, drag and track, and features line-lock and rpm-selectable launch control through driver-controlled Track Apps.

The Shelby GT500 features a revised suspension geometry, new electronic power steering unit, and lighter-weight, higher rate coil springs all around. Next-generation active MagneRide suspension is standard.

Putting power to the pavement are Michelin Pilot Sport 4S tires and more aggressive Pilot Sport Cup 2 tires each developed specifically for the GT500. At the front, massive 16-5-inch two-piece rotors are fitted along with larger, stiffer Brembo six-piston calipers.

Additional Handling Packages

The exposed weave carbon fiber wheels and massive Brembo packages are on full display.

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-inch carbon fiber wheels that measure 11.5-inches wide, the aforementioned Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 tires, adjustable exposed carbon fiber GT4 track wing and spliter wickers with integrated dive plane. And like the original, the rear seat is deleted to reduce weight.

Well-Equipped Interior

Available Recaro seats are ready for multi-point driver restraints.

The Shelby GT500 cockpit boasts an 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 safety harness slots are available for those headed to the track. In addition, it’s fitted with a 12-inch full-color LCD instrument cluster, with an available high-performance custom-tuned 12-speaker B&O Play premium audio system. All of this is controlled via an 8-inch SYNC 3 touch screen featuring SiriusXM and FordPass Connect.

About the author

Art Michalik

Art has served in marketing functions at various aftermarket manufacturers, driven in autocross events and in road racing in a car of his own construction, and even managed a world-famous racing school.
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