As the 2020 Mustang Shelby GT500 gets closer to dealer showrooms, Ford is drumming up interest in the most powerful street-legal car it has ever built by releasing more details about just how capable it is. Ford claims the GT500 can bang off a 0-100-0-mph sprint and mega-stop in just 10.6 seconds. Ford did not publish any 0–60 time.
Overall, Ford is promising “a driving experience once reserved only for exotic supercars.” At 760 horsepower and 625 lb-ft of torque, the GT500's 5.2-liter V-8 engine is claimed to be the most power- and torque-dense supercharged V-8 in production. All of that power and torque is routed through a seven-speed dual-clutch Tremec transmission capable of upshifts as fast as 80 milliseconds.
Ford attributes the GT500’s performance in significant part “to the largest front brakes of any domestic sports coupe (16.5 inch rotors).” The available carbon-fiber wheels and Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 tires, made to Ford Performance's own specifications, should help the new Mustang Shelby get off the line with alacrity.
Ford is using the computer-controlled dual-clutch gearbox to give the 2020 GT500 a dual personality, to satisfy the two main groups of performance Mustang enthusiasts: those who like to go fast in a straight line, and those who get their kicks from lateral acceleration. The 2020 Mustang Shelby GT500 should be a capable performer on both road courses and quarter-mile drag strips.
“In many ways, this is like having two transmissions in one,” said Pat Morgan, Ford Performance powertrain manager. “On one hand, it enables performance at the outer reaches of straight-line quickness with minimal torque interruption, yet provides an incredible amount of finesse and control in track environments for maximum stability and predictability at the limits of lateral acceleration.”
Tremec's TR-9070 DCT uses an innovative wet clutch system with 11 friction plates and a total of almost 300 square inches of contact surface area. Though it's a wet clutch design, to reduce parasitic loses and improve cooling, transmission fluid is only applied to the clutch surfaces “during thermal events,” presumably when shifting.
The computer-controlled transmission pulls data from the engine, transmission, driver inputs, and g-forces to pre-select the optimum gear ratio for just about every driving condition. Should the driver want to take manual control, the steering wheel-mounted paddle shifters are directly wired to the transmission, eliminating the delay of the commands going through the Mustang's CAN-bus.
It isn't only about lightning-quick shifts. The transmission is programmed to shift appropriately for the driving situation.
“Contrary to popular belief, fast shifts do not always equate to better road performance,” said Morgan. “In every driving situation, we emulated what professional drivers do, whether it’s a smooth, precise heel-and-toe shift of a professional track driver or a much more forceful powershift like drag racers. We’ve designed the perfect shift every time.”
The new engine and transmission are only part of the drivetrain story. For reduced rotational mass and greater torsional stiffness, a carbon-fiber driveshaft connects the DCT to a 3.73:1 ratio limited-slip differential supplied by Torsen. The Mustang's independent rear suspension gets stronger rear hubs and larger diameter half-shafts, as well.
To further enhance the driving experience, the new Mustang Shelby GT500 comes with a console-mounted driving selector for five driving modes, which Ford says changes most aspects of the car's behavior, including stability control, shock absorber settings, throttle response, shift points and feel, gear selection, steering feel, and even ABS modulation.
“Every aspect of the Shelby GT500 driving experience changes with the mode – be that the throttle responsiveness and snap of the shifts you feel in the seat of your pants, or the ‘pop and burble’ of the exhaust in performance modes. It’s a full multisensory visceral experience,” said Morgan.
Normal mode is for everyday driving, with smooth, nearly seamless shifting. Sport mode reduces shift times by about a fifth, gives more responsive throttle tip-in, and holds gears longer into the power and torque curves. Drag mode maximizes straight-line performance, with “over-torque” shifts for continuous power delivery. Track mode smooths out the DCT's shifting to improve cornering by reducing driveline disturbances. In addition to the drive modes, there is a rpm-selectable launch control and electronic line lock for quarter-mile runs, and an always-on “pseudo launch control” allows for “spirited” launches at any time.
The all-new 2020 Ford Mustang Shelby GT500 will arrive at dealers later in the third quarter of 2019. We can’t wait to see it matched up against the Hellcat Redeye and the Camaro ZL1.