- 2019 Mustang Shelby GT500 – most powerful street Ford yet
- Mid-threes to 100, sub-11 to cover quarter-mile
- Biggest brakes of any American sports coupe yet
DETROIT, Michigan – This is the all-new Shelby GT500 – what Ford describes as ”the pinnacle of Pony Cars” (so far) from Ford Performance” capable of 522kW and said to have the quickest street-legal acceleration and most high-performance tech of any Mustang.
It’s due for market launch towards the end of 2019 to join the recently released Shelby GT350 stablemate
The cars are/were on show at the 2019 Detroit auto show and Jim Farley, Ford’s global markets boss, told The Corner in a media release: “Carroll (Shelby) was always working on the next, faster, Shelby. He would have loved this Mustang more than any other.
”As a takedown artist, the new Shelby GT500 will surprise supercar owners with its Ford Performance racing tech, supercharged engine, and visceral swagger.”
The car has, Ford says, been designed and developed for road, strip and track with a race-bred chassis and a dual-clutch transmission, Michelin tyres and the largest brakes so far available on an American sport coupe.
”On the street,” Ford says, ”its aerodynamic design and Ford Performance driver control tech make every moment behind the wheel even more exhilarating.”
The powertrain is unique. Hermann Salenbauch, global director for Ford Performance vehicle programmes, explained: “With its supercar-level powertrain, the car takes the sixth-generation Mustang to a performance level once reserved only for exotics.
“As a Mustang, it has to be attainable yet 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 yet and added the quickest-shifting transmission in any Mustang for all-out precision and speed.”
Here’s how some of it was done… The Shelby GT500 starts with a hand-assembled, supercharged, 5.2-litre, aluminum alloy engine. To keep intake air cool and deliver a lower center of gravity, the team inverted a 2.65-litre Roots-type supercharger with air-to-liquid intercooler in the notch of the V8.
As in the Shelby GT350, the aluminum alloy block has weight-saving cylinder liners and high-flow aluminum cylinder heads, plus larger forged connecting rods, improved lubrication and cooling passages. A structural oil pan adds strength, reduces vibration, and has an ”active” baffle system to avoid surge.
Power and torque are delivered by a carbon fibre driveshaft and the team chose a seven-speed dual-clutch auto transmission capable of shifts in less than a tneth of a second and the system has a choice of driver-selected modes: normal, weather, sport, drag and track – along with selectable launch control.
All this clout is kept under control by revised suspension geometry, electronic steering assistance light coil springs front and rear – each part of the latest in advanced drive mode technology from Ford Performance.
”The payoff,” Ford says, ”is the highest-yet lateral acceleration from a Mustang for track performance and driving control.”
Of course little of all that would matter without suitable tyres so the GT500 can be shod with custom Michelin Pilot Sport 4S or more assertive Pilot Sport Cup 2 rubber.
Both will have to handle not only scorching acceleration but also huge braking power from 420mm two-piece rotors – claimed by Ford to be the largest of any American sport coupe – plus large and very stiff Brembo six-piston calipers.
The set-up gives the brakes a 20% larger swept surface than those of the GT350.
Two handling packages will be offered that include adjustable strut top mounts and a spoiler with a Gurney flap. Hardcore drivers might prefer a whole carbon fibre Track package that inserts slightly wider 11.5” rear wheels, the Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 tyres, adjustable exposed carbon fiber GT4 track wing and splitters.
To further help the power/weight calculation, there’s no rear seat.
Melvin Betancourt, Ford’s design manager, explained: “With a double front grille opening and 50% more cooling airflow than the GT350, along with the most-advanced aero components and downforce we’ve ever offered, every millimeter of the GT500’s fastback design is intended to improve performance.”
The large grille openings and bonnet are meant, Ford says, to mimic a fighter jet and a huge louvered bonnet vent comes with a removable aluminum rain-tray for better air extraction and more downforce.
TOUCH OF SUEDE
The driver’s niche is said to be furnished with ”premium materials and unique finishes worthy of its world-class power”, among them an (option) exposed carbon fibre instrument panel appliqué and suede door inserts. Recaro racing seats (option) with firm bolstering and holes for crash-restraint harnesses are available but those of a less sporty demeanour might prefer power-adjustable seats with suede inserts.
Instrumentation includes/can include a 30cm color LCD cluster and a 12-speaker B&O audio system, the latter controlled by a 20cm Sync3 touchscreen.
Body colours on offer for 2020 are red, orange or silver. Painted go-faster stripes can be added.
But that’s as it should be, hey?
- Carroll Shelby called the original Shelby GT500 “the first real car I’m really proud of.” Today, that legacy continues with the third-generation 2020 Mustang Shelby GT500 – the most powerful and most advanced Mustang yet.