Skip to main content
HOME   |   ABOUT   |   NEWS   |   TECH ARTICLES   |   AT THE TRACK   |   REVIEWS   |   VIDEOS   |   CONTACT ME

2020 Shelby GT500 Top Speed & Downforce Figures Revealed


The last iteration of the Shelby GT500 that debuted in 2012 as a 2013 model year had 663 hp and a claimed top speed of over 200 mph. While some publications tried and failed to replicate the top speed claim, you knew that somewhere under specific conditions, Ford probably was able to crack 200 mph. If you were expecting the new one with "over 700 hp" to also crack 200 mph (I was), you'd be wrong.

Ford is going to equip the new Shelby GT500 with a 180 mph governor, meaning the GT500 will be electronically limited with a top speed of 180 mph. That is, at least until someone fiddles with it like they do with BMW's and remove the 155 mph limiter. Thankfully, it appears that top speed has been sacrificed at the altar of track performance.


A More Balanced Pony Car

A Ford spokesman told me that "Ford Performance engineers and professional drivers have found the sweet spot to make the all-new Shelby GT500 as fast as possible at both road courses and the drag strip." The goal? To "deliver the fastest track times ever in a production Mustang along with improved driver control for greater confidence behind the wheel." Colour me (very) giddy.

Earlier today, Ford just revealed how amount of effort and dedication to making sure the car can deal with high speed on track and it is fantastic. As I have said in previous posts, one of the biggest enemies of speed is heat. Ford clearly knows that because its engineers went through 500 3D cooling and aerodynamic designs to find the optimal combination of design exterior elements that can deliver the target cooling and aerodynamic performance. Ford didn't just simulate spoilers, grilles, and vents, they even went as far as simulating the brake ducts.


By The Numbers

Ford says that the front brakes alone generate 100 kW of heat (341,300 Btu/hr or British Thermal Units/hour). At maximum power, the cooling system needs to be able to deal with 230 kW of heat (784,990 Btu/hr). The result is six heat exchangers and a front fascia that deliver 50% MORE airflow at top speed than the Shelby GT350. There are also new oil and transmission coolers. Downforce is also much higher.

Just about everything you see on the car is functional. The rear diffuser is Shelby specific and functional. The front splitter? Ford went through more than 10 wicker designs (actually built them using 3D printers) so they could be tested and perfected. There are 16 aero flaps around the radiator fan to direct airflow so that drag and front-end lift are better managed while increasing cooling airflow. All of those components (and others throughout the car) work with the rear wing taken from the GT4 racer to deliver 550 lb. (249 kg) of downforce at the 180 mph top speed.


No Track Pack? No Problem

Even if you don't opt for the Carbon Fibre Track Package, you still get 379 lb. (172 kg) at top speed. Considering that the vast, vast majority of road cars have lift, this is very impressive. In fact, the 650 hp C7 Corvette Z06 with the Z07 (track) package manages to deliver "only" 350 lb. of downforce at 150 mph.

Ford said that, despite all the testing and optimization, it was able to dramatically reduce the development time thanks to state of the art "digital and additive manufacturing prototyping tools". The result is being able to run more tests in less time and lower development costs that would be required to test all those systems and designs, according to Ford. Ford certainly seems to be invested in 3D printing and rapid prototyping if you have watched Ford's video about why it had to 3D print the manifold of Ken Block's 914 HP Gymkhana Hoonitruck.

Being a Mustang fan might make me a bit biased, but I think it's really cool to see that Ford is using the technology in mass produced cars as well (albeit, top halo versions) instead of only one-off builds. And Ford didn't just simulate and test prototype parts, of course. The normal regiment of track testing followed at various tracks across the US such as Virginia International Raceway (VIR), NOLA Motorsports Park and GingerMan Raceway.


Obviously, all manufacturers who are serious about building a proper track car go through similar efforts and tests, even if done with different goals or technology, but Ford had something to prove here IMO. The last GT500 was very much a boulevard cruiser. It handled well for what it was, but it was ultimately a tire-smoking, record-hp setting, bruiser of a pony car whereas this one? This one is a serious well-balanced performance car. Ford seems to have known this and it looks like they cut absolutely no corners. And the Track Pack-equipped GT500 is more than just well-balanced, it is (very) well-focused on track performance.

Unfortunately, Ford is still quiet on the horsepower figure, but it reiterated that the GT500 will be going on sale this summer so expect the official power specs to be revealed any time now. Also, expect this car to give no quarter.

Follow Ram's Eye The Track Guy on Facebook and Instagram!





Comments







Does An Aftermarket Grille Really Increase Airflow?
I put a Saleen S281 grille to the test to answer that question.

Stock Suspension S197 Mustang With Square 305/30/19's
What you need to fit a proper size square tire setup.

How Limited Slip Diffs Make You Faster on Track
What you need to know about how they put power down and pros and cons.

Can Telemetry Explain Schumacher's Talent?
A comparison between Schumacher's and then team mate Herbert's data.






Cayman GT4 Track Review
The first Cayman with proper (911-challenging) power.

Is an EcoBoost Mustang any good on Track?
Two days at the track in a Mustang short 4 cylinders.

2016 BMW M4 DCT Track Review
It's quick (properly quick). But is it fun?

Can a stock Golf Diesel handle a Track Day?
Not your every day track beater.




🔥 Most Visited This Week

Michelin Pilot Super Sports vs Firestone Firehawk Indy 500 - Street Review

I've been a huge fan of Michelin PSS tires and exclusively bought them for the Mustang over the last four years. So how did I end up here? This year, I was hugely interested in trying an "R-comp" tire. I had my eyes set on Bridgestone Potenza RE-71R's for two simple reasons: price and reputation. Although not a true "R-comp" tire on paper, it performs like one by the account of every single test and review I've read (down to wear rates...). They seem like they're easily the most affordable (from a big brand) R-comp tire and combine that with a reputation for having tons of grip, it was an easy top contender. I had my concerns, though. For one, I'm told and have read that they are an autox tire, not really designed for high speed, pressure, and temps associated with open track. For another, the Mustang is a heavy car (as far as track cars are concerned) being roughly 3,800 lb. (including driver), which will amplify the unwanted open track loads.…

Bridgestone Potenza RE-71R Track Review

For better or for worse, I have heard and read so much about RE-71R's. Everyone swears by the grip but complains about the wear. Generally speaking, the pros are:

1. They grip as well or better than most R comps.
2. They don't wear as quickly as R comps if driven occasionally on the street.
3. They work better in the rain than R comps.

The cons were limited to overheating quickly when used on track (being an autocross tire) and wearing too fast on heavy cars like mine.

In the popular 200 TW category, they are faster than the popular Hankook RS-4's and BFGoodrich Rival S's according to published Tire Rack Tests. According to plenty of reviews, they are also faster than well established R comps like R888R's (which don't seem to work too well on heavy cars anyway) and the venerable NT01's. But I was still hesitant for a while until I talked to a tire tech support gentleman at Tire Rack who has gone faster on RE-71R's than NT01s. In a Mustang (his own, not…

GTR vs Evo X vs STI: which has the best AWD system?

A few weeks ago, I made a post explaining mainstream AWD system types and how they compare, pros and cons, etc. including some simple diagrams to show where the power goes and how much. As promised, this post will focus on specific cars and what AWD systems they use, especially ones that that have more or less been defined by their AWD systems, and the best place to start may be with a bombshell; the Nissan GT-R.


Nissan GT-R (R35)

The GT-R has built a reputation around having monster traction and very approachable performance, thanks to its AWD system - Advanced Total Traction Engineering System for All-Terrain (ATTESA) - and what it can do for you. But the GT-R doesn't actually use the most mechanically sophisticated type of AWD systems discussed in the previous article, namely a "true" AWD with a centre differential. Instead, it uses a clutch pack to transfer power.


The R32, R33, and R34 Skyline GT-R's used a system that looked basically identical to the traditiona…

Stock Suspension S197 Mustang With Square 305/30/19's

If you've had any doubts about whether or not they will fit, fear not! You absolutely can run square 305/30/19's. I had a lot of doubts before pulling the trigger, even more so when the wheels where on the car. The tires do poke out a bit and I figured rubbing is all but guaranteed at full compression but I couldn't be happier I trusted APEX and those on here who have run it.

Here's what you need:

1. Camber plates: I have MM C/C plates and they are maxed out at -2.3 deg with the stock struts. I have been running them for years with many track days without issue.

2. 1"/25 mm spacer: I have Motorsport-tech 1" spacers and they look like high quality units. There is maybe a 1/4 inch clearance in the back so you can't go any narrower than 25 mm. http://www.motorsport-tech.com/adaptec/car/ford_s and you want Design 2.


3. Elongated studs: your best bet is to get the FPP hubs with elongated studs instead of reusing the old one. Bearings are consumables anyway so…