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2020 Ford Mustang Shelby GT500
by John Davis
You may not realize that the Shelby GT500 has been missing from the Ford Mustang lineup for 6-years. You also may not even care that the 2020 Ford Mustang Shelby GT500 is the most powerful street-legal Ford ever built. But, believe us, Mustang faithful the world over certainly do!
When Ford first announced the return of this beast, they claimed it’s supercharged V8 would make more than 700-horsepower. Well, they’ve delivered that, and then some. Yes, under the hood starts out with the same dual overhead cam aluminum 5.2-liter flat-plane crank V8 as found in the GT350. But, before it leaves the Romeo engine plant, it gets a traditional cross-plane crankshaft, structural reinforcements, and a sizable 2.7-liter supercharger nestled between its cylinder heads. The result is 760-horsepower!
Keep in mind, that the most horsepower you can get in a stock Camaro is the ZL1’s 650, not to mention the new Corvette everyone’s talking about only puts out 495. Yeah, remember way back in 2015 when the Hellcat’s 707-horsepower seemed insane?
Now, what may seem even crazier to some, is that there’s no traditional manual transmission available. The GT500’s standard 7-speed dual-clutch automatic is just one of many items finding their way into this Mustang from Ford’s GT racing team. Racing engineers also added their aero knowledge to this 6th generation ‘stang’s body.
There’s 50% more airflow through the front compared to the GT350. More through the hood as well; serving dual roles of extracting hot air, as well as increasing downforce. The front fenders needed reshaping, in order to house new wider 20-inch wheels; and both the rear spoiler and diffuser have been reinforced as well. The Carbon Fiber Track package swaps that spoiler for an adjustable wing, adds a front splitter with wickers and integrated dive plane, and upgrades the wheels to carbon fiber as well.
Inside the cockpit is a standard 12-inch full-color LCD gauge cluster; but most other major departures from regular Mustang fair are optional. They include, carbon-fiber trim, suede materials, and Recaro racing seats.
Out on the road, the GT500 does indeed feel like a big intimidating beast. The ride is firm, but not harsh, seats are comfy, there’s very little supercharger whine, and the transmission is smooth, staying mostly in the background.
If you live your life a ¼-mile at a time, that dual-clutch transmission, as well as Drag Mode with launch control, will help you get through the ¼ in less than 11.0-seconds. Ford claims 10.7, with a supercar-worthy trip to 60 in just 3.3-seconds. Much like the GT350, this Shelby is about much more than just ¼ miles. Ford’s racing engineers addressed the entire suspension to ensure that it’s the best handling Mustang ever, as well.
That means completely revised geometry throughout, upgraded coil springs front and rear, as well as an all-new electronic power steering unit. Not to mention next-generation MagneRide and comprehensive track-focused drive modes; along with larger Brembo brakes and your choice of either custom Michelin Pilot Sport 4S’s or Sport Cup 2 tires. Surprise, even with all of that horsepower the GT500 is not overly tail-happy.
For our complete road test of the 2020 Ford Mustang Shelby GT500, be sure to catch MotorWeek episode #3911 that begins airing November 15, 2019. For a listing of the public television stations that broadcast MotorWeek, go to motorweek.org and click the “About The Show” tab at the top. MotorWeek is also seen Tuesday evenings and throughout the week on the MotorTrend cable network.
Time will tell where the 2020 Shelby GT500 falls on the list of exceptionally entertaining Ford Mustangs. But, its place in our oil-pumping hearts is secure. It will take Ford, and everyone else, a long time to top it.