Shelby American tunes the GT500 to 800+ hp
The 2020 Ford Mustang Shelby GT500 is an absolutely lethal weapon, taking the highly-refined S550 chassis and amping things up with a supercharged, 5.2-liter V-8 that sings in the upper rev ranges to 760 hp as its 10-speed DCT clicks through the gears at an unbelievable rate. Of course, what you need is more horsepower, right? That’s where Shelby American has your back. Enter the 2020 GT500 Signature Edition.
Let’s get the nomenclature out of the way. While Ford calls it the Shelby GT500, the truth is that the GT500 rolls out of Ford’s Flat Rock Assembly Plant alongside the beach-cruising base models and plainclothes GTs. What makes the new GT500SE unique is that Shelby American has tweaked the already-monstrous GT500 with its own recipe, adding it to the Shelby Registry alongside other official Shelby builds, including its Cobras. That distinction alone is worth it to some Blue Oval and Shelby disciples, but the extra hardware that’s included in the $29,995 upgrade doesn’t hurt, either.
With standard 93-octane pump gas, the GT500SE puts out over 800 horses thanks to a smaller supercharger pulley and upgraded intercooling system to support the increased boost created by the higher-revving supercharger. Further supporting that increased power are a set of beefier half-shafts, providing a little extra insurance against a snapped axle on the track. Shelby American has further tailored the GT500SE for track use thanks to a new suspension combination that brings its own formula to the springs, sway bars, camber plates, and MagneRide calibration.
The final step in track prep comes down to the unique Shelby wheels. The GT500SE’s rear rims share their 11.5-inch width with those on a Carbon Track Pack-equipped GT500 (stock GT500s make do with 11-inch rears) but retain the strength of traditional monoblock wheels. In addition, Shelby says its seven-spoke units should to hold up better to street abuse—think potholes and other nasty surfaces. Shelby American has already done you the favor of swapping in extended-length, hardened wheel studs, which will stand up to more track stress and frequent wheel changes compared to the stock pieces from Ford. Should you need more track-ready stiction, Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 tires are optional, and Shelby American will also offer a harness bar to help keep you glued to the seat.
Unless you’re opting for the Shelby widebody package, exterior changes are limited mostly to the carbon-fiber hood. Huge extractor vents flank the haunches of the dry-carbon panel, and the combination of increased cooling and 30 fewer pounds over the nose is a win-win. Of course, the requisite badging also gives the person next to you sufficient warning for what’ll happen when the light turns green. The interior treatment is modest, too, with custom leather seat covers and other Shelby-inspired details updating the already-welcoming 2020 Mustang cockpit.
With just 100 units built for this year, and with 2020 marking the first year of the GT500’s return, the GT500SE could go down in history as one of the more desirable and rare S550s.