NAIAS 2019: 2020 Ford Mustang Shelby GT500 Is An Earthquake You Can Drive

When it comes to the types of sports cars I like, I tend to lean more towards those built for complete balance. Their power, weight, and suspension are built in perfect harmony to create an optimal machine for clicking quick lap times while also having tons of fun doing it. All within an exterior that is elegantly designed but also aerodynamically optimized.

However, I’m also an American… As an American there is just something irresistible about a car that throws balance out of the window and is all about making as much power and noise as possible while looking like it wants to eat your soul. Its why we created the muscle car back in the 60s and why we brought them back despite their environmental irresponsibility.

That is exactly why Ford has brought a magnificent beast to Detroit for NAIAS 2019. The monster you see in these photos is the 2020 Mustang Shelby GT500.

Despite the “500” in its name, that’s actually not quite apt here because this car packs 700 over horses from its supercharged 5.2 liter V8. The crazy part is that “700” isn’t even the official number. It makes more than that but the final figure has yet to be released.

Though don’t be fooled. The 2020 Shelby GT500 isn’t just a basic muscle car with a ton of power. It is actually wielding some significant tech derived from the Ford GT supercar and the Mustang GT4 race cars.

Like the Shelby GT350, the GT500 has an aluminum alloy block and heads with forged connecting rods. The supercharger is a 2.65 liter roots-type unit with an air-to-water intercooler all of which was inverted and mounted into the “V” valley of the engine to help lower the center of gravity.

For the first time, the GT500 will feature a dual-clutch transmission which is mated to a TREMEC 7-speed transmission. According to Ford, the clutch and transmission set up tuning is borrowed from the Ford GT supercar which makes the new GT500 the fastest shifting Mustang to date. Also, the carbon fiber driveshaft returns to the drivetrain.

The engine combined with the newly tuned transmission allows the new GT500 to go from 0 to 60 in the “mid three second range” and can stomp through a quarter mile in under 11 seconds. So there’s your 10 second car Dom.

Stopping power is provided by Brembo six piston calipers clamping on to 16 inch two-piece rotors which is a package taken from the Mustang GT4 race program mentioned earlier. The rotors are also the largest ever equipped on a domestic car according to Ford.

While this thing will likely spend most of its time at drag strips, Ford Performance has granted the GT500 with a capable suspension package which will allow it to perform respectably on a road course.

The active “MagneRide” suspension dampers will return as standard equipment and well as the active drive modes and custom tuned spring rates. Once again a new set of carbon fiber wheels will be available as an option. Two offerings from Michelin will be on tap with the standard rubber being the Pilot Sport 4S, while the more aggressive Pilot Sport Cup 2 tires are optional.

Obviously one look at this car will tell you that there are a ton of aerodynamic and styling changes done. Too many to list here really but I can’t neglect to mention the massive front air dam which likely provides double function of cooling and feeding the hungry engine. Additionally as part of the “handling package” a rear spoiler equipped with a “Gurney Flap” is available.

As per usual with the Shelby offerings, customization is key as a several colors for the base paint and racing stripes are on the table as well as color matching interior styling options including Miko suede inserts.

Like it or not, it can’t be argued that Ford isn’t offering a lot of car here. Though it remains to be seen if the GT500 will be a relative bargain as the GT350 was. Pricing hasn’t been announced yet and likely won’t be until closer to the GT500’s fall release date.

Yet I am willing to bet a significant amount that there are at least a few people who don’t care about the price and have already found a way to put their name down for a pre-order.

I can’t say that I blame them…

For a better look at the 2020 Ford Shelby GT500 Mustang just click any of the thumbnail images above or below. For more information checkout the press release below as well.

2020 Ford Mustang Shelby GT500 gallery:


Press Release:

  • Arriving this fall, all-new 2020 Mustang Shelby GT500 is the most powerful street-legal Ford ever with a supercharged 5.2-liter V8 producing more than 700 horsepower
  • Capable of mid-three-second 0-60 mph and sub-11-second quarter-mile scores, Shelby GT500 features the best Mustang track times, the best cornering and the largest brakes of any domestic sports coupe thanks to tech transfer from Ford GT and Mustang GT4 racing programs; this includes a segment-first dual-clutch transmission
  • Shelby GT500’s aero-led design increases downforce and thermal management, while Ford Performance race-tuned active chassis drive modes make this the most advanced performance Mustang to date

DETROIT, Jan. 14, 2019 – The all-new Shelby GT500 – the pinnacle of any pony car ever engineered by Ford Performance – delivers on its heritage with more than 700 horsepower for the quickest street-legal acceleration and most high-performance technology to date ever offered in a Ford Mustang.

“Carroll was always working on the next faster Shelby, I think he would love this Mustang more than any other,” said Jim Farley, Ford president, global markets. “A takedown artist, the new Shelby GT500 will surprise supercar owners with its Ford Performance racing tech, supercharged engine and visceral swagger.”

Arriving this fall to join its Shelby GT350 stablemate, Shelby GT500 is engineered to attack on all fronts. At the drag strip, it’s set to produce a projected 700-plus horsepower via its first-in-class dual-clutch transmission. At the track, performance improves even more thanks to its race-bred chassis, custom Michelin tires and the largest front brake rotors ever available on an American sports coupe. On the street, its menacing aerodynamic design and Ford Performance driver control technologies make every moment behind the wheel even more exhilarating.

Most powerful Ford production car ever
In the process of making the all-new Shelby GT500 the quickest street-legal Mustang ever, Ford Performance created an exclusive powertrain to deliver new levels of power and torque.

“With its supercar-level powertrain, the all-new Shelby GT500 takes the sixth-generation Mustang to a performance level once reserved only for exotics,” said Hermann Salenbauch, global director, Ford Performance vehicle programs. “As a Mustang, it has to be attainable and 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 to date, plus the quickest-shifting transmission ever in a Mustang for all-out precision and speed.”

Shelby GT500 starts with a supercharged 5.2-liter aluminum alloy engine built by hand. To keep the intake air cooler and deliver a lower center of gravity, the team inverted a 2.65-liter roots-type supercharger with air-to-liquid intercooler tucked neatly in the V8 engine valley.

Like Shelby GT350, the aluminum alloy block features weight-saving wire-arc cylinder liners and high-flow aluminum cylinder heads, plus larger forged connecting rods, improved lubrication and cooling passages. Beneath that, a structural oil pan adds strength, reduces vibration, and features a patented active baffle system to keep oil where it’s needed.

To channel power and torque to the unique carbon fiber driveshaft, Ford Performance leveraged learnings from the tuning of its Ford GT supercar’s dual-clutch transmission. The team selected a TREMEC® 7-speed dual-clutch transmission, which is capable of shifts in under 100 milliseconds – markedly faster than any manual gearbox. This dual-clutch transmission is designed for a number of drive modes, including normal, weather, sport, drag and track, and activates features like line-lock and launch control through selectable Track Apps.

Next-evolution Mustang performance bred from Ford GT and Mustang GT4
To harness the power and torque of the most powerful Mustang ever made for the street requires cutting-edge active chassis technology, track-bred Michelin tires and Brembo® brakes – all dialed in by Ford Performance.

Shelby GT500 takes advantage of 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 is the highest-ever lateral acceleration from a Mustang for greater track performance and driver control.

Putting all this chassis hardware to the pavement, custom Ford Performance-spec Michelin Pilot Sport 4S tires and more aggressive Pilot Sport Cup 2 tires feature unique compounds and tread. To provide track-ready stopping power, massive 16-5-inch (420-millimeter) two-piece rotors are added – the largest of any domestic sports coupe – plus larger, stiffer Brembosix-piston calipers. With 20 percent more swept area than the Shelby GT350’s, these brakes have more than 30 percent additional thermal mass in the front corners.

Two handling packages with increasing levels capability are offered for the all-new Shelby GT500. An available Handling Package includes adjustable strut top mounts and spoiler with Gurney flap. For the truly hardcore, an available Carbon Fiber Track Package features exposed 20-inch carbon fiber wheels with 0.5-inch-wider rear wheels (11.5-inch), custom Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 tires, adjustable exposed carbon fiber GT4 track wing and splitter wickers with integrated dive plane. The rear seat is deleted to reduce weight.

A functional, menacing design tuned with Ford Performance know-how
Thanks to a cross-functional team of designers, Ford Performance engineers and motorsports collaborators, the 2020 Shelby GT500 has functional track-hero looks to match its performance capabilities.

“With 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 Shelby GT500’s fastback design is aimed at improving performance,” said Melvin Betancourt, Ford design manager.

Those large angular grille openings and muscular hood combine for a menacing, aerodynamic-led design inspired by modern fighter jet aircraft. The car’s wider front fenders and stance housing Shelby GT500-specific 20×11-inch wheels proportionally align to its rear fenders that hug up to 20×11.5-inch wheels. A standard new rear spoiler and updated composite materials in the rear diffuser result in added thermal management.

The team leveraged Ford’s motorsports technical center in North Carolina and its windshear rolling wind tunnel – where top-tier racing teams test – to perfect the design of the Shelby GT500. 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 percent. A massive 31×28-inch louvered hood vent features a removable aluminum rain tray for better air extraction and increased downforce.

More craftsmanship, technology and driver comfort
Shelby GT500’s purpose-built cockpit boasts race-inspired premium materials and unique finishes worthy of its world-class power. Premium touchpoints include an available exposed carbon fiber instrument panel appliqué and new door panel inserts in Dark Slate Miko® suede with accent stitching. Available Recaro racing seats with firm side bolstering and pass-throughs for safety harnesses offer the highest level of performance. For those looking for even greater comfort, power-adjustable seating with Miko suede inserts is offered.

The all-new Shelby GT500 picks up a 12-inch full-color LCD instrument cluster, while a high-performance custom-tuned 12-speaker B&O® Play premium audio system is available. All of this is controlled via an 8-inch SYNC® 3 touch screen featuring SiriusXM and FordPass Connect.

New colors for 2020 include Red Hot, Twister Orange and Iconic Silver. Painted stripes are available for the all-new Shelby GT500 too.



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