New Ford Shelby GT500 Packs a Monstrous 650HP and has a Top Speed in Excess of 200MPH


By now, you’ve read all about the revamped Mustang, including the high-performance Boss 302 and Laguna Seca versions. It all pales in comparison to the Shelby GT500 that Ford is planning to roll out at the Los Angeles Auto Show on Wednesday.
Powered by what Ford claims to be the world’s most powerful production V8 engine, the GT500 packs no less than 650-horses and 600 lb-ft of torque.
That’s no typo: the 5.8-liter supercharged V8 has 41 horses more than the McLaren F1, 24 more than the Mercedes-Benz SLR McLaren, and an amazing 70 more than the original Lamborghini Murcielago. On the downside, it falls one pony short of the Ferrari Enzo.
A top speed in excess of 200 mph (320 km/h) should make you able to keep up with almost anything on the road, bar a Veyron or a Koenigsegg.
“SVT keeps the Shelby GT500 on the cutting edge of technology and takes muscle car performance to new heights,” said Jost Capito, director of Ford’s Global Performance Vehicles and Motorsport Business Development.
“We encapsulated every aspect of performance in this car – whether it’s 0-60, top speed, racetrack or quarter-mile times. Beyond that, the daily driver also will find this car perfectly fits his or her needs.”
In order to achieve these numbers, Capito and his team carefully upgraded the V8 by installing a new TVS 2300 supercharger that feeds more air into the engine, cross-drilled block and heads and updated camshaft profile.
Such an engine must create tremendous amount of heat. Therefore the cooling system has been significantly updated and features a larger fan, a fan shroud with high-speed pressure-relief doors, a more efficient charge air cooler, a higher-flow intercooler pump and an intercooler heat exchanger with a 36% increased volume.
Ford’s engineers wanted to make sure that the Shelby’s power actually makes it to the rear wheels and doesn't destroy the rest of the powertrain. So they upgraded the dual-disc clutch, transmission and axle and fitted a new driveshaft made out of carbon fiber.
After testing more than 35 gearbox combinations for the six-speed manual transmission, they finally made their decision. The new box has reinforced gears, bearings and housing to handle the massive torque. That’s to be expected considering the performance: what’s surprising is that the chosen transmission enables the Shelby GT500 to be exempt from the gas-guzzler tax…
“It might just seem like we’re putting a bigger engine into the car. But it’s been a balanced approach through and through,” said Jamal Hameedi, SVT chief engineer. “We’ve completely redone the car to be even more sophisticated in terms of handling and control than the prior model.”
First of all, with that kind of top speed, you sure as hell want to make sure you stay on the tarmac and don’t become airborne. Therefore, the new GT500 offers 33% more downforce compared to the 2011 model thanks to major changes that have optimized airflow, minimized drag and significantly increased downforce.
You also want your 650HP car to catapult from standstill and not just sit there and shred its rear Goodyear Eagle F1 SuperCar G tires to pieces. An SVT-developed launch control that is integrated both with the ECU and the traction control system takes care of that problem. At some point, you’ll have to stop as well and a new Brembo brake system with larger discs on all four corners and six-piston front calipers ensures that you’ll be able to.
Now we’ve ticked the performance, engineering and braking boxes. Have we missed something? Oh, yes: the not-so-small issue of handling.
“We took a completely different approach with this car so drivers can choose their settings instead of a computer making the selection,” Hameedi explains. “Nearly every system the driver interacts with can be tailored to his or her situation including the Bilstein electronic adjustable suspension, launch control, AdvanceTrac and steering assist levels.”
Which means that you can keep the electronic helpers on, for maximum peace of mind, select an intermediate mode for some antics while retaining a safety net, or completely disengage all systems and whet your pants prove your driving skills.
Those wanting more can order the Performance Package that includes a Torsen limited-slip diff, or go all the way with the optional Track Package. The last option includes three separate coolers for the engine oil, the rear differential and the transmission, providing further cooling and preventing those critical components from overheating under extreme driving.
Now, we can’t just get our minds off that Enzo thingy: Mr. Capito, next time make sure you find an extra two ponies. It shouldn’t be that difficult. And then you could brag that your car is even more powerful than an Enzo.


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