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2020 Ford Mustang Shelby GT500: 12 Tech Tidbits

The science behind the speed

The science behind the speed

Cars don’t get into the 700 club—with factory warranties, at least—until a ton of serious engineering happens. Here are a dozen highlights of those efforts.


Supercharged

The blower’s 2.7-liter displacement is more than half that of the engine! It nestles as deep as possible in the valley of the vee, with the screws on the bottom pushing air up into the intercooler and then back down into the cylinders. No word yet on horsepower consumption of the supercharger, but suffice to say the cylinders are likely producing upward of 1,000 ponies in order to net out 700-plus at the crank.


Port Injected

The supercharger hogs all the room where the direct-injection fuel rail would go. An engine-tuning simplifier—not sending it to Europe, where getting an exhaust particulate filter to pass durability requirements would have been problematic.


Crated

Yes Virginia, there will be a crate engine offered. But not for a little while because work on that variant can’t begin until final certification of the production version is completed later this year. The Ford Performance Parts catalogue could begin offering other parts, however, like the stronger bolts and block for drag racing use.


Strengthened

Coping with in-cylinder pressures of more than 2,000 psi required longer, stronger cylinder head bolts, stiffer valve springs, hardened valve seats, and structural ribbing on the cylinder block.


Lubed

Handling what is expected to be much higher dynamic driving limits required a complex set of oil pan baffles, including some that are “active”—hinged to close at certain times and open at others.


Cooled

Air rushing into the gigantic central grille passes through the intercooler circuit’s radiator first, then through the A/C condenser, then through the engine radiator. An auxiliary side-mounted engine coolant radiator gets first crack at the cool air on the passenger side, while a matching radiator on the driver side cools the engine oil. The twin-clutch transmission gets a small horizontally placed radiator grabbing air off the splitter below the main radiator stack.


Braced

Connecting the strut towers for ultimate handling stability while clearing the gigantic supercharger is the job of a computer-optimized piece of magnesium sculpture.


7 DCT

Why not use the 10-speed automatic? The transmissions weigh about the same, and both have minimal parasitic loss. Torque capacity is the differentiator. The GT supercar’s twin-clutch transmission internals were already beefy enough, and reinforcing the 10-speed would have been costly and unnecessary. The seven-speed’s first gear is about the same as the 10-speeds second, the top gear ratios are roughly equivalent, and this engine hardly needs any torque multiplication to launch stoutly. Oh, and the extra gear ratio steps are unnecessary in a car with this one’s performance and fuel—ahem, “economy”—expectations.


Rotary Shifter?!

It doesn’t look sporty, but rather than looking at the shifter, look at the custom shift paddles, which are not shared with other Mustangs. They’re derived from the Raptor’s.


Vectoring Torque

To withstand the incredible torque routing aft, the GT500 gets a carbon-fiber driveshaft. (The GT350 doesn’t get this.) The differential features a Torsen mechanical limited-slip unit, running a 3.73:1 ratio. The rear halfshafts are also considerably beefier, but the wheel rims do not have knurling like a Nissan GT-R.


Chassis Tuning

The base car is expected to attract more sophisticated customers who don’t want to be punished, so its tuning is a little more touring oriented than the GT350 R’s. The track package/carbon-fiber package rides slightly stiffer.


Carbon Exposed

The pricey carbon-fiber wheels represent a giant step forward for this technology on the part of Australian supplier Carbon Revolution. These wider 20-inch wheels manage to weigh slightly less than the GT350’s 19s, but that wasn’t the hardest part. Developing a process to hand lay the carbon fiber so that it looks good enough to leave exposed took some real doing. That accounts for a good bit of the price, and Wheel Doctor can’t help you if you curb one of these babies. That’s why owners who drive their cars frequently tend to own a second set of tires and wheels, reserving the originals for show/track use.