The new 2020 Ford Shelby GT500 will be the most powerful production model the Detroit automaker has ever offered topping the street-legal version of the Ford GT by a full113 horsepower, the automaker confirmed today.
Set to reach showrooms later this year, the GT500 will become the 11th distinct version of the Mustang and serve as the pony car’s halo model. It also will help Ford come closer to matching the sort of numbers being made by key competitors – though it still falls short of the 797 hp Dodge Challenger Hellcat Redeye.
Ford has been using an eyedropper to dole out details about the GT500, looking to build maximum awareness ahead of its upcoming launch – and first media drive. Today’s news fleshes out some of the insights offered up last month.
To start with the GT500 boasts a supercharged 5.2-liter V-8. That’s the same displacement as the engine in the Shelby GT350, but there’s not much else in common, among other things, the new model dispensing with the flat-plane crankshaft found in the GT350, instead opting for a cross-plane crank.
Here, Ford has gone with a massive 2.65-liter supercharger developing 12 psi of boost and helping that V-8 spin up to a redline of 7,300 RPMs. Both the 760 horsepower and 625 pound-feet of torque come on fast – by 3,000 revs, in fact – and hold pretty much all the way up.
We’re hearing rumors, meanwhile, that this package doesn’t push the engine to its absolute limits. As Dodge has done with the Hellcat family, we’d be shocked if Ford doesn’t find a way to squeeze still more ponies out of the drivetrain at a later date. If it doesn’t, however, we’re positive there’ll be plenty of aftermarket vendors lending a hand to owners willing to risk their warranties.
When we got our first look at the Shelby GT500 last winter, the Mustang team made a point of emphasizing all the work they’ve done to keep that powertrain cooled, meanwhile. To that effect, start with the front end which is completely new from the A-pillar forward. You realize the extent of the changes nose-on, where the openings have been doubled in size compared to the GT350 to bring air into the engine and six radiators.
Aerodynamics were essential to the project. “It was all about making the car slippery, fast, agile,” said Melvin Betancourt, the chief designer. Add “cooling” to that list, he stressed last January.
We’re wondering if prospective buyers will be disappointed by Ford’s decision to go with a single gearbox: a seven-speed Tremec dual-clutch transmission. It marks the first time a DCT has been offered in any production Mustang and Ford contends it was the only real way to go in order to ensure all that power makes it to the pavement – and does so quickly.
Shifts can happen in as little as 80 milliseconds in Sport Mode, the automakers notes. If you want to use the paddle shifters it will take a bit longer, about 130 ms. That’s still a fraction of the time it would take just to get your foot down on the clutch of a manual transmission.
“The range of brute-force drag acceleration, seamless road shifts and amazingly smooth shifts on the track further highlights how the soul of the Shelby GT500 is elevated in our most advanced Mustang ever,” said Ed Krenz, Ford Performance chief program engineer. “Effortlessly handling the 760 horsepower is our segment-first Tremec dual-clutch transmission, with an advanced control system that enhances GT500’s five drive modes to deliver a driving experience once reserved only for exotic supercars.”
The gearbox sends power to a Torsen limited-slip differential through a carbon-fiber driveshaft, incidentally.
New transmission technology can deliver some incredible surprises for performance fans. When Chevrolet unveiled its new mid-engine C8 Corvette last month it estimated the sports car will be capable of 0-60 times in “less than 3 seconds,” a stunner considering the outgoing Corvette ZR1 was only a couple tenths faster even with an extra 265 hp.
As for the Shelby GT500 acceleration and top speed numbers, they will likely be doled out in the next news released but we’ve been told the 0-60 times will be comfortably below 4 seconds.
What we do know is that there’ll be plenty of electronic controls that, among other things, will allow for five distinct drive modes, including “Track” and “Drag.”
“Every aspect of the Shelby GT500 driving experience changes with the mode – be that the throttle responsiveness and snap of the shifts you feel in the seat of your pants, or the ‘pop and burble’ of the exhaust in performance modes. It’s a full multisensory visceral experience,” said Pat Morgan, Ford Performance powertrain manager.