On Monday morning, the second-worst secret in Detroit finally got its official reveal. I am of course referring to the newest, fastest, and biggest-grilled (that’s a word) Ford Mustang ever, the Shelby GT500. (Number one is obviously the mid-engined Corvette C8.) Under its now-bulging hood is a supercharged version of the 5.2L “flat crank” V8 that sounded so good in the Shelby GT350. The addition of some forced air will give the GT500 “more than 700 horsepower” (522kW), according to the spec sheet—full figures will have to wait until closer to the car’s showroom arrival later this year. To cope, it gets a new dual-clutch transmission from Tremec; sorry stick shift fans, there is no three-pedal option this time.

The rest of the car takes this same approach: start with the GT350 then turn everything up to 12 (because 11 is passe.) The scoops and vents are bigger, because the more powerful engine and stronger transmission need more cooling. So, too, do the brakes, similarly supersized—the front rotors now measure 16.5in (420mm) which is a hefty increase in thermal mass. It’s the front that dominates the GT500’s appearance. Ford says it has double the open area of the GT350—a stat we don’t doubt—and that cooling airflow is 50 percent higher.

There’s revised suspension geometry to cope with all this excess, and like the Mustang GT we tried driving last year, there’s a full suite of track-biased electronic trickery on offer from the MagnaRide suspension and the powertrain. If you opt for the Handling Pack you get some additional goodies, including adjustable strut top mounts and a spoiler with a Gurney flap. Or you can go for the Carbon Fiber track package, which includes carbon fiber wheels (slightly wider at the rear), ultra-sticky Pilot Sport Cup 2 tires from Michelin, the adjustable wing and splitter from the GT4 Mustang race car, and no back seats.

Obviously Ford Performance can’t go to all this trouble and then release a car that’s slow around a track or drag strip. Full performance figures, like the rest of the stats, remain closely guarded for now, but the company says 0-60mph should happen in around the mid-three second mark, with the quarter mile taking less than 11 seconds. And with that much aero and grip, plus a gearbox that can swap ratios in 100 milliseconds, I imagine the GT500 will be the fastest track car to wear a blue oval other than the mid-engined, carbon chassis Ford GT. I doubt I’ll be the one to find out, though, given the way Mother Nature intrudes whenever I get invited to a Ford track day…

 

Listing image by Ford



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