The 2020 Ford Mustang Shelby GT500 is going to be the fastest Mustang ever around a track. A lot of this is attributable to over 700 horsepower from its 5.2-liter supercharged V8, but speed takes a lot more than just pure power. Ford didn’t worry too much about going left and right fast in the last rocket of a GT500 with 662 horsepower. This one is different, and we went to one of Ford’s wind tunnels in the Detroit area to find out how.
Unfortunately, Ford still isn’t telling us how much horsepower and torque this thing is going to have beyond the “over 700” figure we were told at the Detroit Auto Show. Ford engineers did tell us it’s running sub-11-second quarter miles, though. So, yes, it’s going to be fast. We know it’s going to be fast around a road course, too, because Ford also told us it’s the “fastest production Mustang left and right.”
To keep the car under control, Ford revamped the aero package entirely. In full attack settings, the GT500 produces up to 550 pounds of downforce. This figure is more than any Mustang prior, including the GT350R, which Ford claims produces about 300 pounds of downforce. What Ford seems even more proud of is the speed at which it was able to develop the aero package.
Vehicles like the last Shelby GT500 or Corvette Z06 take a lot of courage and skill to drive fast, but Ford appears to be appealing to a broader audience with this GT500. Said Titus, “We want this car to be available for everyone to drive fast near the limit.” We’ll learn how that effort turned out when we get behind the wheel for the first time.
Cooling was a major concern for Ford now that forced induction and all the extra power is on tap. The front opening for airflow is double what the GT350 offered. Larger coolers (oil, transmission, etc.) and heat exchangers are hidden behind the new front fascia along with a new 600-watt electric fan that’s much larger than before.
The hood vent is also the largest ever implemented on a Mustang, and it even needs its own rain tray. Ford suggests that you leave the rain tray in if you’re going to park it outside or drive it while it’s raining. Otherwise you risk water entering the engine bay and getting down into areas where it shouldn’t be.
This rain tray conundrum is part of the car’s character. There are two settings to drive the GT500 in: track and street. For normal driving the rain tray goes in; the lowest front splitter pieces come off, and the massive wing can be set to its lower downforce position. You’ll get the best fuel economy with this low downforce setup, but who cares about fuel economy when there’s over 700 horsepower on tap.