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Car Technology

How the 2020 Ford Mustang Shelby GT500 delivers its supercar performance

Ford’s new Mustang Shelby GT500 arriving for 2020 will have 760 horsepower and 625 pound-feet of torque. We’ve known that for a while but Ford has been coy about what those numbers will deliver in the sixth-generation Mustang. That changed Monday when Ford confirmed some of the first performance specs.

Thanks to its prodigious power, the most of any Ford road car, including the GT supercar, along with a quick-shifting dual-clutch transmission and huge brake rotors, the Shelby GT500 will sprint to 100 mph and back to zero in only 10.6 seconds. The car will also sprint to 60 in mph in the low three-second range and pass the quarter mile in less than 11 seconds.

This is all made possible by the bespoke V-8, which relies on a 2.65-liter Eaton blower pushing 12 psi to generate its 760 horses worth of grunt. The power is then routed to the rear wheels via a Tremec 7-speed dual-clutch transmission, carbon fiber driveshaft and a 3.73:1 Torsen limited-slip independent rear suspension. The last part of the equation is Michelin’s Pilot Sport 4 summer tires, or Pilot Sport Cup 2 superhero tires if the box for the carbon fiber track package is ticked.

2020 Ford Mustang Shelby GT500's 5.2-liter supercharged V-8

2020 Ford Mustang Shelby GT500’s 5.2-liter supercharged V-8

But there’s a lot more in the finer details. The transmission, for example, can shift gears in as little as 80 milliseconds, or faster than the blink of an eye. DCTs have two sets of shift mechanicisms, essentially an outer clutch-pack for odd-numbered gears and an inner for even gears. The lightning shift speed comes from one clutch-pack being engaged while the other is disengaged.

Ford’s design uses a wet clutch system with five friction plates in the odd-gear clutch-pack for a total of 155 square inches of surface area. In the even-gear clutch-pack, six friction plates provide 136 square inches of surface area. The seven forward gears feature triple-cone synchros and are controlled by an electrohydraulic shift mechanism using low-leak solenoids.

A computer controls everything, using inputs such as engine speed, g forces, and driver instructions. It controls the severity based on the selected mode of the Shelby GT500’s standard drive mode selector. In the case of the transmission, the drive modes influence transmission shift points and feel. The most extreme modes are Track and Drag. With these, the transmission is designed to give you an extra torque hit between shifts, a bit like powershifting in a manual.

2020 Ford Mustang Shelby GT500's 7-speed dual-clutch transmission

2020 Ford Mustang Shelby GT500’s 7-speed dual-clutch transmission

For quarter miles, you’ll want to use the included rpm-selectable launch control and electronic line lock. The latter holds your front brakes while the rear set are free, allowing you to warm up the rear wheels for maximum traction down the line. Ford said a mild version of the launch control is always switched on so you can have hard launches at any time without having to select a drive mode.

Finally, no serious performance car is complete without a serious set of brakes. The Shelby GT500 has a truly massive set of brakes, with the front rotors spanning 16.5 inches across.

If all of this sounds good to you, prepare to pay at least $73,995 when the 2020 Shelby GT500 reaches dealers this fall.



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