What has over 700 horsepower (522 kW) and is the most powerful street-legal Ford ever made? The new 2020 Mustang Shelby GT500. Hitting the streets in the third quarter of 2019, the Shelby GT500 has a supercharged V8 and chassis components from Ford's GT racing programs.
The new Shelby holds several firsts for both Ford and the muscle car arena on the whole. From the engine to the transmission to the chassis, the Mustang GT500 is a culmination of Ford's experience with the GT350 Mustang both on and off the race track.
The Shelby GT500 has a supercharged 5.2-liter V8 engine made of aluminum alloy for lighter weight and better heat shedding. Intake air is cooled by an inverted 2.65-liter roots-type supercharger with an intercooler tucked into the valley between the engine's heads. The engine block's design comes from the Shelby GT350, with its wire-arc cylinder liners and high-flow aluminum cylinder heads. Larger connecting rods and improved lubrication and cooling passages also make for better performance. A baffled oil pan below the engine holds oil in place, reducing slosh in heavy cornering.
Unique to the Shelby GT500 is a Tremec seven-speed dual-clutch transmission, which shifts in under 100 milliseconds. This is a first for both Ford and the muscle car segment. Also a first is the carbon fiber driveshaft attached to the transmission. This weight-saving, torque-channeling driveshaft powers the rear wheels of the Mustang Shelby GT500 and reduces the amount of inertial losses associated with a heavier unit.
Ford looked to its Ford GT and Mustang GT4 race cars for answers to the question of how all of the muscle from the GT500 would meet the road without spinning out of control. The Ford Performance arm added Brembo brakes, Michelin track-ready tires, and active chassis technology from its race programs to tune the chassis of the Shelby GT500 for controlled performance.
Lightweight coil springs in the front and rear of the car start the business and hold a next-generation active MagneRide suspension on revised suspension geometry. This translates to better downforce to keep the tires pressed into the pavement as the suspension reacts to the road surface, and to the physics of the car's dynamics. An electronic power steering unit lightens the load on the engine and improves response for the driver.
Michelin Pilot Sport 4S tires are Ford's choice for the new Shelby GT500. The Brembo braking system is a 16.5-inch (420-mm) two-piece rotor on each wheel, while larger six-piston calipers provide the stopping and maneuvering power the 2020 Ford Mustang Shelby GT500 requires.
Driver controls in the cockpit of the Mustang Shelby GT500 include modes for everyday driving, inclement weather, sport, and drag/track driving. Ford's Track Apps in the GT500's infotainment includes options for line-lock launching and launch control. Optional handling packages from Ford can increase the Mustang Shelby GT500's performance further by enhancing exterior components to match performance expectations.
The standard Handling Package adds adjustable strut-top mounts and a Gurney flap spoiler for performance tuning. A Carbon Fiber Track Package adds 20-inch carbon fiber wheels, 0.5-inch (1.3-cm) wider rear wheels, Michelin Sport Cup 2 tires, adjustable carbon fiber GT4 track wing and splitter wickers, and a rear seat delete.
All of the performance changes to the 2020 Ford Mustang Shelby GT500 meant that exterior changes for the new muscle car were needed. "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 the Shelby GT500's fastback design is aimed at improving performance," says Melvin Betancourt, Ford design manager.
The hood of the 2020 Shelby GT500 is much more aggressive than that found on other Mustang models, with a set of large, angular grille openings in front and a bulky feel to accentuate the muscle underneath. The front fenders are noticeably wider and race-styled, accommodating the wider tire track on the GT500's 20 x 11-inch (51 x 28cm) and 20 x 11.5-inch (51 x 29cm) wheels. The rear spoiler on the Shelby GT500 is standard and composite materials on the rear diffuser improve thermal management.
Using the windshear rolling wind tunnel at Ford's technical center in North Carolina, designers of the Mustang Shelby GT500 worked the aerodynamics of the muscle car. Front fascia openings are more than double the intake capability of the GT350, and six heat exchangers increase cooling pack airflow by over 50 percent. The hood vent measures 31 x 28 inches (79 x 71cm) with a removable aluminum rain tray improves air extraction and increases the downforce in the 2020 Mustang Shelby GT500.
Inside, the GT500 can include an exposed carbon fiber instrument panel applique, Dark Slate Miko suede door panel inserts, Recaro racing seats, and other options. The Shelby GT500 includes a 12-inch full-color LCD instrument cluster, introduced in 2019 Mustang models, and a high-performance 12-speaker B and O Play audio system. An 8-inch Sync 3 infotainment touchscreen is also standard in the GT500.
Ford will offer new colors and paint stripe options for the new Mustang as well, including Red Hot, Twister Orange, and Iconic Silver.
The new 2020 Ford Mustang Shelby GT500 will enter production later this year for market launch in the third quarter of 2019. Pricing and more specifications will be released as the launch date approaches.
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