If Carroll Shelby were still alive today, I’m betting the house he’ll absolutely love the new Mustang Shelby GT500. Part of it is because the new GT500 is the most powerful and quickest street-legal Mustang ever built. However, a huge part also goes to the new Shelby’s muscular and refined design.
Even Ford global market president Jim Farley agrees. “Carroll was always working on the next faster Shelby, I think he would love this Mustang more than any other,” he said. The visceral swagger is hard to ignore as Ford managed to blend the attributes of a race car, drag car, and muscular streetcar into a single compelling package.
Editor in chief Vincent Nguyen got some quality time with Melvin Betancourt, Ford exterior design manager of the new GT500. “For those who don’t know me, I’ve been working with the Mustang’s design since ’99 model year,” said Betancourt. “The only one I wasn’t part of was the 2010 model. I always seem to come back and it gives me great pleasure to be part of this team.”
The 2020 Shelby GT500 is designed to be the most aerodynamic Mustang to date
“In designing the new Shelby GT500, we were looking at the fluidity and slipperiness of the new body,” said Betancourt. “We drew inspiration from other ‘slippery’ machinery like boats and jet fighters.” This is the reason why the new GT500 has the aura of an ultra-fast supercar. With so much power on tap, it needs to slice the air with minimal drag while allowing the wind to push the car towards the ground.
“When you look at the front end, we have double the intake,” added Betancourt. “The GT500 has 50-percent more air intake than the GT350. Every millimeter of the GT500’s fastback design is aimed at improving airflow performance.”
The larger grille openings are not just there for aerodynamic performance. The car has no less than six heat exchangers to feed air while cooling down the enormous 5.2-liter supercharged V8 engine.
The new Mustang Shelby GT500 is equipped with an Eaton TVS R2650 supercharger
Since we mentioned the huge supercharged motor, it’s important to briefly discuss the new supercharger unit in the GT500. Ford had to use a bigger and higher-capacity blower in the form of Eaton’s TVS R2650. This unit is essentially an evolution of the previous TVS or Twin Vortices Series platform and features a patented rotor coating for enhanced efficiency.
Proudly engineered and made in the USA, the new Eaton TVS R2650 is 15-percent larger than the TVS2300 unit from the previous GT500. The four-lobe rotor design is twisted to a 170-degree angle to help the V8 motor in producing supercar levels of performance.
The hood vent opening is the biggest ever in a Ford vehicle
Besides the larger grille opening, it’s hard not to look at the new Shelby GT500 without mentioning the equally-massive hood scoop. “Since we’re allowing more air inside the engine bay, some of it has to get out,” said Betancourt. Measuring 31 x 28-inches, the louvered hood vent has a removable aluminum rain tray to further enhance downforce.
With a muscular hood and fenders, the new GT500 exudes confidence
“I wanted to show a view of the car with surfacing that exudes power, even when the vehicle is standing still,” exclaimed Betancourt. “Looking at the muscles on the hood, it emphasizes the performance of the supercharger that lives underneath.” Meanwhile, the front fenders in the GT500 are a full inch wider than previous models. “From the A-pillar forward, everything is new with the sheet metal,” added Betancourt. Looking at the rear fenders, you’ll also notice the voluptuous shape to further emphasize the girth of the vehicle.
It has specific aero packages to improve handling
The 2020 Ford Shelby GT500 is available with two handling packages. The first handling package includes a rear spoiler with a unique Gurney flap along with adjustable strut top mounts. The Carbon Fiber Track Package throws in a GT4-inspired rear wing, splitter wickers, and an integrated dive plane. Also included are 20-inch carbon fiber wheels with 0.5-inch wider rear wheels to enhance traction.
As a closing note, Betancourt enthusiastically discussed the large Shelby snake badges on the new GT500. In fact, those are the largest snake badges in production. “The snake is very important. We want to make sure when the car is coming towards you that you’ll see the snake in your rearview mirror, and as it overtakes, you’ll see it again,” concluded Betancourt.
We all know the 2020 Ford Mustang Shelby GT500 is quite a looker. But how fast is it really? And how good does it drive? We’ll have more about our first drive in the new Shelby GT500, which is coming very soon.