The Shelby guys have thought of everything with the racy 2020 Mustang GT 500 …
By Paul Daniel and Mark Savage
PAUL: I sort of backed into loving Mopar stuff after Chrysler bought American Motors Corp. in the late 1980s. I’ve always been the kind of person who has a soft spot for the underdog. I’ve driven all the Challengers, with the exception of the Red Eye, and enjoy the driving experience they provide. In fact, if I could go out and buy a high-performance pony car I’d go buy one. That was until I drove the 2020 Mustang GT 500.
This car scores high on the fun factor and Ford and Shelby have really thought this car through. During the weekdays its a car that you could use to commute to work, but on the weekends it turns into a full-fledged track car. When Mark and I buckled into our cars and hit the start button, we knew we were in for some real fun.
Ford didn’t just slap on a supercharger to make it go fast, they also put it on a serious diet like the carbon fiber wheels to the magnesium alloy suspension. Besides the gobs of power, 760 hp, and a 0-60 time under four seconds, the car handles like a slot car. Several times going into turns at the Autobahn Country Club track, I misjudged the apex and the front tires rode up on the rumble strips, but the electronically-adjusted suspension saved me. And that 10-speed auto transmission shifts faster than Star Trek‘s Data could. Mark will go more into the stats below but suffice it to say, I’m hooked on this car.
RELATED VIDEO: Hop in and go for a hot lap.
I also want to give special props to the Ford PR folks who put this event on in our Covid-19 world. We were all given face masks and there was hand sanitizer all over the place. The cars were cleaned (de-fogged sort of) after every driver got out and of course, we all maintained our social distancing. With so many car events postponed or canceled, Ford managed to pull this off. Thanks!
MARK: I know Paul is a Mopar maniac, but I too grew up in a family that loved Mopar machines along with GM muscle. I mean we had a beautiful Aztec Gold 1969 Olds Cutlass S with a strong V8. It’d probably fetch a small fortune at a car auction today!
But my grandfather had owned a Ford dealership during the Depression and to be honest I always loved how Mustang’s looked, especially the 1960s fastbacks. This new 2020 Mustang GT 500 reflects that look, which still lets you know it’s a Mustang. And firing up the GT 500 today lets you know it’s a race car.
Ford and Shelby folks at this session at the Autobahn Country Club, a private track near Joliet, Ill., made sure we knew that. They spent hours running through all the testing, weight loss and special parts that were created to pump up this supercharged monster, in case the owner wanted to put in some track time. They estimate at least 50% do at some point, whether on a drag strip or road course.
There’s simply no way to describe how fast, full-throated or sure-footed this GT 500 is, but consider this:
- 760 horses are propelling this pony car.
- 625 lb.-ft. of torque comes from its 5.3-liter supercharged V8.
- 6-piston Brembo brakes slow it down, and how! Compared with the fast GT 350 these brakes have 35% more swept area.
- A 6-speed manual tranny is available, but the 10-speed automatic shifts quicker than you can. The expert drivers at the Ford/Shelby event said even THEY don’t try to outshift the automatic anymore.
- It’ll mash out a quarter-mile in less than 11 seconds.
- 0-60 mph comes in 3.5 seconds.
- Wheels are 20-inchers and made of carbon fiber. It was amazing how light they were compared with a standard wheel, and that cuts unsprung rotational mass for better handling. How much? Ford says these wheels save 50 lbs. WOW!
- An electronically adjusted suspension system reacts in milliseconds to keep the car well planted on a road course. For instance, if you hit a rumble strip (like Paul) with a front tire, the suspension adjusts the rear suspension in anticipation of the rear tire facing the same vibration, well before that wheel clips the strip.
- That suspension is light too, made from a magnesium alloy that means some suspension pieces are lighter than your beer can (Empty of course!).
- GT 500s noses are specially designed to cut through the air and also allow major cooling to the engine. Those designs came to life via 3D printing of parts that were then put on pre-production cars to test effectiveness.
- The rear wing’s Gurney flap has been specially designed too and creates 397 ft.-lbs. of downforce by itself!
- Electronically, the GT 500 has 5 drive modes, including Drag, which engages Launch Control to avoid excessive wheel spinning on a drag strip. There’s even a Line Lock feature to allow up to 15-second burnouts at less than 25 mph to warm your tires for the strip. Oh yeah!
There’s more of course, but you get the drift. The Shelby developed Mustang GT 500 is a race car first, a road car second and a hot rod full of fun.
As the Ford guys said (no brag, just fact): “This is the Fastest Mustang ever!”
That’s saying something.
This post is dedicated to a good friend of mine and Mark’s, Neil Besougloff who passed away recently from Covid-19. Like myself and Mark, Neil loved cars. We’ll miss you, buddy. I suppose you’ve already taken some laps up there is something fast and fun. See you on the other side.