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Ford Slaps a Top-Speed Governor on the Most Powerful Mustang Shelby GT500 to Date

Car and Driver logo Car and Driver 3/13/2019 K.C. Colwell
Dearborn is still mum on nearly every critical specification of its new GT500 other than these: it is Mustang based. It will feature a supercharged 5.2-liter V-8 cranking out at least 700 horsepower. And now, that this, the most powerful production car Ford has ever created, is governed to 180 mph.

  • The 2020 Ford Mustang Shelby GT500 will be Ford's most powerful production car ever, but the automaker has been light on details about the forthcoming car.
  • We expect Ford's zero-to-6o-mph and quarter-mile claims to prove true, but we were taken aback by the information that the GT500 will have a governed top speed.
  • The GT500 goes on sale this summer.

Dearborn is still mum on nearly every critical specification of its new GT500 other than these: it is Mustang based. It will feature a supercharged 5.2-liter V-8 cranking out at least 700 horsepower. And now, that this, the most powerful production car Ford has ever created, is governed to 180 mph.

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a silver and black car: Ford Slaps Top-Speed Governor on the Mustang GT500© Ford Ford Slaps Top-Speed Governor on the Mustang GT500

If you're a little let down that Joe Walsh's (at least) 39-year-old Maserati will outrun the brand-new Shelby, don't be. The cost associated with engineering a 200-mph car versus a 180-mph car is not insignificant, and it likely allowed for the wiggle room to include such performance-enhancing features as a dual-clutch automatic transmission and a rear wing borrowed from the Mustang GT4 racer. This should make for the most track-capable Mustang of all time and something that should rival the Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 1LE's pony-car record at C/D's Lightning Lap. Also, some of you may recall the mild embarrassment Ford suffered when many media outlets, including us, could not confirm the automaker's claim that the 2013 GT500, with its 662 horses brought to you by a supercharged 5.8-liter V-8, was capable of 200-mph travel.

a car parked in a parking lot: Ford's GT500 Mustang will deliver the goods in corners, not just a straight line.© Ford Ford's GT500 Mustang will deliver the goods in corners, not just a straight line.

At top speed, the GT4-borrowed airfoil of the Exposed Carbon Fiber Track package contributes to a net downforce of 440 pounds. A Handling package–equipped GT500, with a Gurney flap attached to its hybrid spoiler-cum-wing "swing," develops about 220 pounds of total downforce. The base GT500 gets by with no downforce-aiding elements but the prize of being the quickest GT500 in a straight line, says Ford.

a close up of a car: Ford Slaps Top-Speed Governor on the Mustang GT500© Ford Ford Slaps Top-Speed Governor on the Mustang GT500

While we fully expect Ford's claims--under 3.0 seconds to 60 mph and a sub-11.0-second quarter-mile--to prove true, the difference between the base and Track package will likely be very close, as that package also includes carbon-fiber wheels from supplier Carbon Revolution. In our testing, we found the low rotating inertia to be a slight advantage. The front wheels feature a plasma-coated barrel, as they do on the GT350, to reduce the possibility that the front brakes' immense heat will compromise the wheels' integrity. The 20-inch GT500 wheels are also claimed to weigh the same as the GT350's 19s.

Ford utilized 3D printers to cut development time while engineering the front-end package for the GT500. The massive hood vent, which can be removed to maximize downforce, started as a vent the size of an iPad and quickly developed into the size of an iMac. The front splitter wickets, L-shaped add-on strakes to aid net downforce, were also developed in a fraction of the normal time thanks to 3D printing.

Ford Slaps Top-Speed Governor on the Mustang GT500© Ford Ford Slaps Top-Speed Governor on the Mustang GT500

Again, the specifics are few and far between with this one. When we know more, we'll be sure to pass the information on. The 2020 GT500 goes on sale this summer.

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