Mustang Shelby GT500 Officially Tops Out At 180 MPH

Joanna Estrada
March 14, 2019

Ford revealed mid-March the only thing stopping its new Shelby Mustang GT500 from reaching near-supercar status is Ford itself, who has somewhat neutered the car's performance with an electronic nanny limiting the top speed to 180 miles per hour (290 km/h). As to the latter, the company touts real-world racetrack testing of the GT500 at Virginia International Raceway, NOLA Motorsports Park near New Orleans, and GingerMan Raceway in South Haven, Michigan. To physically validate the improving designs, Ford's wind tunnels in MI and Windshear rolling wind tunnel in Concord were also used.

Delivering more than 700 horsepower using 93-octane fuel, maximizing cooling at the front is critical to the Shelby GT500's vigorous track performance, and where the team focused much of its efforts.

During this process, engineers analyzed "more than 500 3D cooling and aerodynamic designs", the most complicated of which were driven by professional driers on full chassis simulators at various Ford locations. For example, more than 10 front splitter wickers were printed and tested, some with minute modifications to ideal their design, with multiple versions of parts simultaneously sent out for track evaluation. Shifting power from its supercharged 5.2L V8 to the rear wheels via a dual-clutch automatic, Ford says the GT500 will be capable of catapulting from 0-60 in the low 3 second range and covering the quarter mile in less than 11 seconds. Ford calls the standard spoiler a "swing" because it exists somewhere between a spoiler and a wing. With an available Handling Package that adds a Gurney Flap to the "swing", the auto will make 379 pounds of downforce at the 180-mph top speed.

2020 Shelby GT500 building process
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Up front, the new fascia doubles the air volume to cool the powerful engine through six heat exchangers. A removable rain tray alleviates underhood air pressure, and a unique diffuser is found at the rear to control airflow under the vehicle.

Ford Performance resorted to a number of tricks to keep the GT500's nose down on weight despite all the added coolers and other parts, but Tranter says Ford Performance isn't ready to reveal how that mass compares with that of the donor GT350's nose. This Shelby GT500 is unlike anything previously offered and one ride that certainly fits into the next level category.

It probably won't be long before somebody takes the lock off, but we'll have to wait until the 2020 GT500 goes on sale this summer.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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