There’s really only one reaction to reading Ford’s press release on the all-new Mustang Shelby GT500, a reaction of abject lust. This is a car that marks Ford seeing a new GT supercar and Mustang together, looking at the GT, looking back at the Mustang, looking back at the GT, and finally decides, “Eh, let’s make the Mustang a lot more powerful!” Something we wholeheartedly endorse if the outcome is a 700-plus-horsepower, rear-wheel-drive sports car that looks like it had a helluva cocaine problem in the mid-’90s. This is going to be a madman.
The goal was to take “the sixth-generation Mustang to a performance level once reserved only for exotics.”
Ford’s team of engineers took the already superb Mustang platform, a spare 5.2-liter engine from the supernatural GT350, and aerodynamics off the brand’s GT4 race car then slapped a 2.65-liter supercharger onto the block for an added dose of hotness. The goal, according to Ford’s global director of Ford performance, Hermann Salenbauch, was to take “the sixth-generation Mustang to a performance level once reserved only for exotics.” The engine, which again was lifted from the GT350, is an aluminum alloy block mated to the supercharger which rests in the valley of the engine’s “V.” While an official figure hasn’t been announced, Ford did say that it’s over 700 horsepower.
Connected to that leviathan of an engine is a newly developed seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission sourced from Tremec that will provide faster-than-ever-before acceleration, according to the Blue Oval. Manual purists will be upset as Ford didn’t announce an option for a “row-your-own” gearbox. However, rumor has it if you want one, all you’ll need to do is ring Ford and they may or may not grant your request. Transmitting all those horses will then go through a carbon fiber driveshaft for reduced weight and increased torsional rigidity.
As you’d expect from a monster such as this, Ford blessed the GT500 with a host of electronic aids so as not to decimate the Mustang driver population when they light the GT500’s fire. Preprogrammed into the Mustang’s computer are traction settings such as normal, slippery, sport, drag and track. Also included in the Mustang’s Track Apps are settings for drag launches and burnouts, because why not! Keeping drivers on the road further is Ford’s brilliant MagneRide adaptive suspension with revised geometry, as well as the stickiest of Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 tires.
Ford also plans on offering two handling packages. The first gives GT500 owners a front strut tower brace and gurney flap and the second adds the aforementioned strut brace and flap, as well as carbon fiber rims, a bespoke set of Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2s, an adjustable carbon fiber rear wing, and a revised front splitter with integrated dive planes; the rear seat will be deleted to save weight. As standard, the stoppers on the most-powerful Mustang ever are a set of carbon ceramics.
Speaking ahead of the 2019 North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) in Detroit, Jim Farley, Ford’s president of global markets said, “Carroll was always working on the next faster Shelby; I think he would love this Mustang more than any other. A takedown artist, the new Shelby GT500 will surprise supercar owners with its Ford Performance racing tech, supercharged engine and visceral swagger.”
The Mustang Shelby GT500 will go on sale later this year with a price that’s yet to be announced. We’d estimate it’ll go for around $80,000, but for the most powerful Mustang ever, a Mustang that’ll likely even shame it’s $450,000 sibling, the GT supercar, that’s isn’t much at all. We can’t wait to get behind the wheel.