Ford has unveiled the all-new 2020 Mustang Shelby GT500 at the Detroit Auto Show, with the muscle car becoming the most powerful street-legal Ford ever – twice as powerful as the original 1967 Mustang performance model in point of fact.
With a supercharged 5.2-litre V8 producing “more than” 700 bhp, Ford says the new sports coupe is capable of mid-three-second 0-60 mph and sub-11-second quarter-mile times.
Power is channelled from the engine to a carbon-fibre driveshaft via a 7-speed dual-clutch transmission that is claimed “can shift smoothly in less than 100 milliseconds”.
The Shelby GT500 also gets revised suspension geometry, a new electronic power steering unit and lighter-weight coil springs front and rear. Next-generation active MagneRide suspension is baked-in, along with the latest in “advanced drive mode technologies” from Ford Performance. The payoff, Ford engineers claim, is the highest-ever lateral acceleration from a Mustang.
Putting all this chassis hardware to the pavement, custom Ford Performance-spec Michelin Pilot Sport 4S tyres feature bespoke compounds and tread. To provide stopping power, massive 16-5-inch (420 mm) two-piece rotors are added – claimed to be the largest of any U.S. domestic sports coupe – plus larger, stiffer Brembo six-piston calipers. With 20 per cent more swept area than the Shelby GT350’s, these brakes are said to have more than 30 per cent additional thermal mass in the front corners.
There are also two additional ‘handling’ packages, with one including adjustable strut top mounts and spoiler with Gurney flap, while the other features 20-inch carbon-fibre wheels with custom Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 tyres, an adjustable carbon-fibre track wing and splitter wickers with integrated dive plane, and a ‘deleted’ rear seat for weight reduction.
In order to optimise the car’s aerodynamics, Ford says the new Shelby GT500 has been developed by a cross-functional team of designers, Ford Performance engineers and motorsports collaborators.
The team leveraged Ford’s motorsports technical centre in North Carolina and Windshear, with its rolling wind tunnel – where top-tier racing teams are said to test – to refine the design of the car.
For example, the front fascia openings are more than doubled versus the Shelby GT350, while six heat exchangers are stuffed in to increase cooling pack airflow by more than 50 per cent. A massive 31 x 28-inch louvred hood vent features a removable aluminium rain tray for better air extraction and increased downforce.
“With a double front grille opening and 50 per cent more cooling pack airflow versus the Shelby GT350, along with the most advanced aero components and downforce we’ve ever offered, every millimetre of Shelby GT500’s fastback design is aimed at improving performance,” explains Ford design manager, Melvin Betancourt.
The aerodynamic-led design, which Ford says was inspired by modern fighter jet aircraft, has also managed to win the car the title of ‘Best Production Vehicle’ at the 2019 EyesOn Design Awards – the Detroit motor show’s annual design awards.