On Monday morning, the second worst secret in Detroit finally got its official revelation. Of course, I'm referring to the newest, fastest, and most grilled Ford Mustang of all time, the Shelby GT500. (The number one is obviously the C8 Corvette of the mid-engined engine.) Under its now protruding hood is a supercharged version of the 5.2L "flat crank" V8 that sounded so good on the Shelby GT350. The addition of a bit of forced air will give the GT500 "over 700 horsepower" (522kW), according to the spec sheet – the full numbers will have to wait until nearer the arrival of the car showroom later this year . To deal with this, it receives a new double clutch transmission from Tremec; Sorry fans, there is no option of three pedals this time.
The rest of the car has this same approach: start with the GT350 and then turn everything to 12 (because 11 is pass). Outlets and openings are larger because the more powerful engine and stronger transmission need more cooling. Similarly, make the brakes, equally oversized – the front rotors measure 16.5 inches (420 mm), which is a large increase in thermal mass. It is the front that dominates the appearance of the GT500. Ford says it has twice the GT350's open area – one we do not doubt – and that the chilled airflow is 50% larger.
There is revised suspension geometry to deal with all that excess, and like the Mustang GT we tested last year, there's a full suite of electronic tricks in the wake of the MagnaRide suspension and the powertrain. If you opt for the Handling Pack, you'll receive a few extra extras, including adjustable upper brackets and a spoiler with a Gurney flap. Or you can purchase the Carbon Fiber Track Pack, which includes carbon fiber wheels (slightly wider at the rear), Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 Ultra-Adhesive Tires, adjustable wing and splitter of the GT4 Mustang, and no back seats.
Obviously, Ford Performance may not face this whole problem and then drop a car that is slow around a track or drag track. Full performance numbers, like the rest of the statistics, remain well guarded for now, but the company says 0-60 mph should happen around the three-second mark, with quarter-mile taking less than 11 seconds. And with both aero and grip, plus a gearbox that can shift proportions in 100 milliseconds, I imagine the GT500 will be the fastest car to use a blue oval other than the Ford GT mid-range chassis. I doubt I'm the one to discover, however, given the way Mother Nature intrudes whenever I'm invited to a Ford track day …
Listing image by Ford