NAIAS 2019: Shelby GT500 most powerful and advanced Mustang in Ford history
The all-new 2020 Mustang Shelby GT500 will feature a 700-plus-hp supercharged V8 and dual-clutch transmission.
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Ford has debuted the all-new 2020 Mustang Shelby GT500 at the North American International Auto Show (NAIAS), describing it as the most-powerful production Ford ever. Essentially a more powerful, supercharged version of the track-focused GT350, it will offer a segment-first dual-clutch transmission and the largest brakes of any domestic sports coupe.
Although no pricing info was divulged at NAIAS: “As a Mustang, it has to be attainable and punch above its weight,” said Hermann Salenbauch, global director, Ford Performance vehicle programs. “To that end, we’ve set a new standard among American performance cars with our most powerful street-legal V8 engine to date.” Ford claims it’s the quickest-ever street-legal Mustang, and that the new 2-door coupe will be capable of 0-60 mph runs in the middle 3-s range and quarter-mile times of less than 11 s.
The 2020 Mustang Shelby GT500 starts with a hand-built supercharged cross-plane 5.2-L aluminum alloy V8 that is a structurally upgraded version of the flat-plane engine in the GT350. To reduce intake temps and lower cg, the team inverted an Eaton 2.65-L roots-type supercharger and air-to-liquid intercooler in the engine’s vee. “Putting the rotors as low as possible into the valley optimizes the weight,” said Ed Krenz, chief functional engineer on the new GT500. “It’s also a very efficient intercooler design from a plumping perspective of getting air in-and-out with reduced losses.”
Like the GT350, the aluminum alloy block features weight-saving wire-arc cylinder liners but with larger forged connecting rods, a structural oil pan contributes to overall stiffness and a patented active-baffle system helps keep oil properly apportioned during higher g-loads. Power from the supercharged V8 is routed through a Tremec 7-speed dual-clutch transmission capable of shifts in under 100 ms.
The transmission’s specific shift characteristics are closely tailored to the integrated drive modes (including normal, weather, sport, drag and track) while also supporting features such as line-lock and launch control. Channeling power to the Torsen rear differential is a carbon-fiber driveshaft that helps offset the additional mass of the supercharger and transmission while also providing significantly reduced rotational inertia.
“The engineering challenge was taking your traditional straight-line vehicle with all that power and make it go around the track,” Krenz noted. “That gets to cooling, managing heat and managing air.” The gaping front grille provides 50% more cooling-pack airflow versus the Shelby GT350 and helps channel airflow to six heat exchangers.
“Everything is cooled. We’ve got an engine oil cooler, two engine coolant radiators, a trans-oil cooler, axle oil cooler. Our proof point is 24 hours of track durability [testing] with no de-rate.” The louvered hood vent features a removable aluminum rain tray for improved heat extraction and increased downforce, with a revised rear diffuser for additional thermal management.
Compared to the GT350, the GT500 features revised suspension geometry, a new electric power steering unit and lighter-weight coil springs paired with next-gen active MagneRide magnetorheological dampers. Two Michelin Pilot Sport (4S/Cup 2) tires with tread and compounds unique to the GT500 are mounted to 20-in wheels, the extra inch in diameter necessitated by the 16.5-in (420-mm) two-piece rotors. Larger, stiffer Brembo six-piston calipers grip rotors with 20% more swept area and 30% additional thermal mass for improved fade resistance.
Two chassis packages will be offered for the new GT500. The Handling Package includes adjustable strut mounts and a rear spoiler with a Gurney flap. The Carbon Fiber Track Package deletes the rear seat and provides carbon fiber wheels (0.5-in wider in the rear at 11.5 in), and a two-position carbon fiber rear wing straight off the Mustang GT4 race car. Adjustable for drag vs. downforce, the rear wing was tuned on the rolling wind tunnel at Ford’s motorsports technical center in North Carolina.
Track mavens will want to select the available Recaro seats with safety harness pass-throughs, though power-adjustable seating will also be offered. The GT500 features a 12-in full-color LCD instrument cluster, an 8-in SYNC 3 touch screen and 12-speaker B&O premium audio system is available. New colors for GT500 will include Red Hot, Twister Orange and Iconic Silver along with painted-stripe options on offer when it goes on sale in the fall of 2019.
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