Meet The 2020 Mustang Shelby GT500
Ford had already revealed that the car is "projected" to make 700 hp, and now it's promised to make over 700 hp (and around the same power as the Ford NASCAR race car, Ford said). That may be all what A LOT of people need to know about it. But, as magnificent as it is, making that much horsepower alone isn't the best thing about this car. Less than two weeks ago, I wrote what I thought is going to be the best thing about this car in Two Massive Reveals Coming in 2019. This GT500 should stay truer to the original 1967 GT500 formula put together by Carroll Shelby and Ford and be more track capable.
Carbon Fibre All Things
There's a Track Pack. It's called Carbon-Fibre Track pack. I fully expected this car to be more track capable, and I figured there would be a performance pack of some sort like Ford did with the last generation (i.e. the SVT pack). But I didn't expect something of this caliber. Ford seems to have a clear target in its sights; the Camaro ZL1 1LE. The same Ford Performance team that worked on the Ford GT race car (which won at Le Mans and the 24 Hours of Daytona in its Debut year) was set loose on this car.
The Track Pack will bring 20" carbon-fibre wheels like the Shelby GT350R (although that one uses 19" wheels). Front wheels will be 20" x 11" and rears will be 20" x 11.5". It will also bring carbon fibre instrument panel and adjustable carbon fibre "GT4 track wing" likely from the Mustang GT4 race car. If that's not enough carbon fibre, the car will also come standard with a carbon fibre driveshaft (prop shaft).
And as predicted in the last article, Ford isn't shying away from big tires. Those carbon fibre wheels will come with serious tires; Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 tires sized 305/30/20 in the front and 315/30/20 in the back. Additional modifications to prep for track work include additional aero in the form of splitter wickers and dive planes, some weight savings in the form of a rear-seat delete, adjustable strut mounts to allow track alignment (camber), and Recaro seats to hold you in place while you're enjoying your car (likely chasing that Camaro).
It Looks Mean Because It Is
A lot of the styling is functional. There's an aggressive front splitter and the mesh grilles in the front fascia are functional, bringing 50% more cooling airflow than the last hardcore track Mustang; the Shelby GT350R. So is the hood vent, which should help get more air flowing through the engine bay for cooling (you can read why that's important here) and for better high speed grip by reducing pressure build up causing lift. When combined with the larger wing and added aero bits with the Track Pack, it will have the most downforce of any production Mustang.
The hood vent will come with a removable rain tray (that's what Ford is actually calling it) so you can take your car out when it's raining without filling the engine bay with water. Nice touch. There's also a function rear diffuser.
The standard wheels will also be 20", although they'll be flow-formed aluminum - it's a process that strengthens the barrel/rim of a wheel so that the alloy is stronger than a traditional cast wheel without going through the process (and cost) of a fully forged wheel. The wheels will, of course, also come with Michelin tires, although the standard tires will be the excellent but much more street friendly Pilot Sport 4S tires.
I can't believe I've going this long without mentioning the engine. It will be a hand-built 5.2 litre supercharged V8 using a 2.65 litre roots-type Eaton Supercharger producing over 700 hp and, as predicted, it won't use the flat-plane crank out of the naturally aspirated 5.2 litre V8 in the GT350R. Instead, it is switching back to a cross-plane crank. The supercharger will feature an intercooler tucked into the engine valley between the cylinder banks. AMG has been doing that with turbo's in its current twin-turbo V8's, often referred to as a hot vee. America's version of a hot-vee setup includes a massive supercharger and an air-to-liquid intercooler. There are also six heat exchangers to help get rid of heat.
The big surprise here is the transmission. Tremec has been making transmissions for Shelby Mustangs for over a decade and this car is no exception. What is different here, though, is the type of the transmission. It is a dual-clutch. That's right, the Mustang will come with a dual-clutch 7-speed gearbox. Tremec already revealed a family of dual clutch transmissions (discussed in more detail in that previous post) and it was expected to find its way in the upcoming mid-engine Corvette. I did expect Ford to put an automatic in the GT500 as mentioned in that article, but I figured it would be the 10-speed automatic used in the Mustang GT. There is no mention of a manual, which is cause for grave concern... I'm hoping one will be offered as a result of the demand, but I wouldn't hold my breath.
All that power will be sent to the rear wheels via a carbon fibre driveshaft (prop shaft), which will come standard. This isn't the first time a carbon fibre driveshaft was in a Mustang though. The 2013-2014 Shelby GT500, which made 662 hp, was fitted with a carbon fibre driveshaft as well.
The result? Ford estimates a 0-60 mph time of about 3.5 seconds, and a sub 11 second 1/4 mile time, meaning this will be "a 10-second car". To make sure the entire drivetrain can deal with heat from track use, the car will come standard with engine oil, transmission/gearbox, and differential coolers. And the Engine will come with special active baffles in the oil pan to keep oil where it's needed, presumably under high cornering loads.
Brakes & Chassis
Helping rein in all that power will be 6-piston calipers in the front and 4-piston calipers in the back, all made by Brembo. Massive 16.5" (420 mm) two-piece brake discs/rotors in the front and 14.6" (370 mm) in the back should have no trouble dealing with the heat and braking forces.
There is nothing ground breaking here in terms of the suspension, but that's mostly because the Shelby GT350 paved the way. The same MagneRide technology suspension is back here, along with specialized "high trail" steering knucles for improved steering response. Moreover, there is revised suspension geometry and lightweight springs front and back. A strut tower brace will help stiffen things up, made of magnesium to save weight. And as has been the tradition for nearly a decade of high performance Mustangs, a TORSEN (torque-sensing) rear differential will be made standard with a 3.73:1 axle ratio.
Ah, you might've thought I'm talking about bluetooth and sat nav. No, the more important bits first (although all of that is here too).
There's an electronic line-lock feature which allows anyone to be a hero and do a burnout. There's launch control to help you tame all of the horsepower from a standstill. There are Track Apps for lap times, lateral grip, etc and AdvanceTrac ESC (Ford speak for electronic stability control) with multiple modes including a Sport mode, Drag mode and a Track mode (undoubtedly, the best one).
But if you care more about convenience, Ford included that stuff too. The optional digital instrument cluster Ford offers on the Mustang GT is standard here, as is 4G LTE Wi-Fi hotspot that connects up to 10 devices. Ford' great SYNC 3 infotainment system is here, of course, and a rear view camera. But that's not all.
There's an optional Technology Package that will bring more, including a 12-speaker Bang & Olufsen Sound System - also a first for a Mustang. There will also be Voice Activated Touchscreen, Blind Spot monitoring with cross-traffic Alert, and 3-setting memory features for the Power seats, plus heated mirrors (also with memory settings for different drivers), turn signals, and Cobra puddle lamps.
Back to (Track) School
As has been the tradition with Ford since the Boss 302, any track ready Mustang comes with a complimentary High Performance Driving School called Track Attack. It is designed to help owners learn about the limits of the car and how to enjoy them. The school includes Classroom time, video session, and on-track instruction by Ford professional drivers.
Big Value, Big Money
All this goodness will set you back, I'm sure. Ford hasn't announced how much it will list the car for, but I suspect it will start at the high $60,000 or low $70,000 mark and likely will approach or exceed $80,000 with all the performance options. Of course, that's a huge amount of money for a Mustang. But the problem is only that last bit... "for a Mustang".
If you stop thinking about this as just a Mustang and think of it as the giant killer that it will undoubtedly be, it is a bargain. Where else can you find a dual-clutch, track capable car with this much technology and well over 700 hp for anywhere near that cost? The closest thing to it is the Camaro ZL1 1LE which, while hugely capable, does not have the pedigree or the heritage of a Shelby badge, nor does it have the looks (sorry Chevy fans).
I expect it’ll go on sale before the end of this summer. If you want to hear how glorious it sounds, make sure to check it out here:
Check mate, Chevy.