Meet the NEW Mustang Shelby GT500


January 17, 2019 | Mike Smith

First Thoughts


Where do we even start? For a couple years now, Mustang fans have heard rumor after rumor about a new Super Snake being in the works. Slowly but surely rumors spread like wildfire, ranging from engine displacement and horsepower to 6-second time and whether a manual transmission would be an option. Then came the spy shots. There were pictures from every different angle. Each time the 500 wearing that familiar camouflage trying to hide body curves and front fascia design. Unlike in 1964, there was no chance of Buhlie Ford leaving one of these monsters in a Detroit parking lot for all the world to see. So, we waited.


Finally, the big day had come. January 14th, 2019 at the North American International Auto Show (NAIAS), Ford finally revealed the 2020 Mustang Shelby GT500. As the Cobra lowered from the ceiling it slowly took our breath away. The first thing you see is the wicked front fascia. The aggressive design of the fascia makes the front end look demonic, but in a good way. The closer it got to the floor the more details came into site. Like the jumbo Snake emblem on the front grille. The new Snake emblem is almost the size of an iPhone X. Then you see the removeable splitter wickers. You didn’t know you needed them in your life, but you are so thankful Ford did, because it just looks plain awesome.


Right above the splitter wickers, you notice large grilles in the bottom of the fascia. Obviously with a car this dynamic, you need massive amounts of air to cool things down, which these provide. Looking up at the hood, you can see another example of Ford trying to cool this beast down. One of, if not the largest hood vent ever seen on a Mustang peers back at you, like a dog showing its teeth, but in this case, a snake.


Your eyes pan around towards the side of the car, you see the jumbo 20” fully exposed Carbon-Fiber wheels that come as part of the Carbon-Fiber Track pack. The wheels are wrapped in a set of Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 tires, which are more than capable of holding the road when testing the sub 4 second 0-60 time (rumored). Behind the wheels you could start to make out the 16.5” 6-piston Brembo brakes (front) and 14.5” 4-piston (rear) lurking through the wheel spokes. Tons of horsepower is great, but sometimes you need to stop, and these brakes will definitely help with that. Supposedly Ford tinkered with the idea of larger brakes, but after testing, it is said that the 16.5” Brembo’s were the most efficient.


As you follow the lines towards the back of the car, you start to see the giant quad 5-inch exhaust tips. Keep in mind a regulation softball is 3.8 inches! With the kind of massive power this Mustang is rumored to have, you must have the pipes to deliver the message at each and every red light. Right above the exhaust you see heat-resistant trim. It’s almost as if Ford is saying, “Heck yeah this will shoot flames!”


The last thing that really catches your eyes as you survey the exterior of the new GT500 is the rear race wing. This wing was literally taken from the Mustang GT4 race car. It was obviously modified to fit the street legal GT500, but still that is still awesome. I guess when you have over 700 horsepower (projected) pushing to the rear wheels, you need a little bit of downforce to keep those Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 tires hooked to the pavement.


2020 GT500 Exterior Highlights:


  • Aggressive front splitter and fascia with jumbo snake emblem

  • Large breather grilles in lower fascia

  • Functional hood vent with removable rain tray and self-locating hood pins

  • 20” fully exposed Carbon-Fiber wheels wrapped in Michelin Pilot Sport 4S Tires

  • 16.5” Brembo brakes

  • Quad 5-inch exhaust tips

  • Rear GT4 race car wing

  • Optional Over-The-Top Stripe Packages: Vinyl or Painted


Notes: Ford did add a couple new color options to the line-up: Grabber Lime, Iconic Silver, Red Hot Metallic Tinted Clearcoat and Twister Orange Metallic Tinted Clearcoat.


The Interior


Once you’ve had a chance to catch your breath from the advanced feature on the exterior, you move toward the driver’s side window. As you approach the window one things becomes clear. Not only is this Mustang a beast, but it is also going to be comfortable and fun to drive. The first thing that catches your eye is the steering wheel. Appointed in Alcantara suede, the steering wheel has a familiar form and all the redundant controls needed so that you don’t have to remove your hands when taming this monster.


As pointed out earlier, one of the topics most talked about by Mustang fans was whether the GT500 would have an option for a manual transmission. So far there is no indication that it will, which is clear by the addition of magnesium paddle shifters located directly behind the steering wheel. The paddle shifters will give the drive the option of driving the 500 in fully auto or having some control over the Tremec seven-speed dual-clutch automatic, by manually shifting via the paddles. The transmission will be operated through a rotary shifter. According to Ford, the dual-clutch automatic will shift far faster than anyone can with a stick and even more quickly than Ford's own 10-speed automatic. Ford says that they have integrated some of the technology and experience used in the building of the Ford GT mid-engine supercar and the Mustang GT4 racing car transmissions.


The rest of the interior at first glance looks fairly familiar if you have seen the current GT350. The GT500 will offer the Recaro racing seats which some Ford fans have had issue with due to the lack of adjustability but seeing as there will not be a manual clutch to deal with, this should be a limited issue. The dash is accented with exposed Carbon-Fiber. It has a large entertainment screen similar to the GT350.


The last thing that catches your attention when you are perusing the interior is the rear seat delete option. This is a feature you will not see on your average Mustang. I guess when you drive a street legal race car, you need to get rid of the opportunity for back seat drivers! Besides, all the seats and the extra passengers do is add more weight and when you are trying to best your personal record, the last thing you want is more weight.


2020 GT500 Interior Highlights:


  • Alcantara suede appointed steering wheel

  • Redundant controls

  • Fully exposed Carbon-Fiber inlays in the dash

  • Recaro racing seats

  • Tremec seven-speed dual-clutch automatic with rotary shifter

  • Magnesium paddle shifters

  • Large entertainment system screen.

  • Rear seat delete






No one besides the people at Ford know 100% what the performance numbers are going to be. Ford wouldn’t even lift the hood at NAIAS to show everyone what was truly going to be under the hood. With that said, if you follow the breadcrumbs and sift through all the rumors, you can piece together a good idea of what we have to look forward to.


So far it looks like the GT500 will have a 5.2-liter (same base engine as the current GT350). It will be a supercharged, cross-plane crank V8 that’s good for at least 700 horsepower. Some r umors suggest that the 5.2-liter engine will crank out around 720hp where other rumors speculate that Ford is trying to threaten the Dodge Demon that pushes out around 800hp. If that rumor is true, that means Ford will be trying to a horsepower range of mid to upper 700s out of these 500 versions. To put that in perspective, the 2013 GT500 had 662hp.


As spoken about earlier, the 2020 GT500 will pair the supercharged 5.2-liter with a 7-speed dual-clutch transmission derived from the Ford GT. As with a proper track car the 500 will have the needed coolers to keep everything at correct temperatures when under track driving conditions, this includes engine oil, differential and transmission fluid coolers. Under the car you will find other advancements not commonly found on your average Mustang, such as a composite carbon-fiber driveshaft and adjustable strut top mounts. These advancements are meant to help the GT500 stay connected to the ground and to help drive the fully exposed 20” carbon-fiber wheels and Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 tires.


Don’t forget the 6-piston front and 4-piston rear, 2-piece Brembo brake calipers that are straddling 16.5” front and 14.5” rear, ventilated rotors. When driving at speeds of near 200mph, you are going to want the security of knowing you can stop. Lastly, the fully exposed Carbon-Fiber race wing. How could we not mention that one more time? Lots of cars claim to be from a race heritage, but just looking at the race wing assures you that this is no average sports car!


2020 GT500 Performance Highlights:


  • 20-inch exposed Carbon-Fiber wheels

  • Adjustable strut top mounts

  • Exposed Carbon-Fiber instrument panel

  • Exposed Carbon-Fiber GT4 track wing

  • Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 Tires - 305/30R20 front, 315/30R20 rear

  • Splitter wickers

  • Wheel locking kit


2020 Shelby GT500 Specs



2020 Shelby GT500

Vehicle Base Price (MSRP)



5.2L Supercharged cross-plane crank V8


TREMEC 7-speed dual-clutch transmission (DCT)


700+ HP (TBA)



Compression Ratio


Bore and Stroke


Fuel Delivery


Ford-Estimated MPG


Front Brakes

6-piston red painted Brembo brake calipers - 420mm (16.5-inch) two-piece, smooth, ventilated brake rotors

Rear Brakes

4-piston red painted Brembo brake calipers - 370mm (14.5-inch) two-piece, smooth, ventilated brake rotors

Base Curb Weight


Fuel Capacity


0-60 MPH

~3.5 sec (est.)

1/4 Mile

<11 seconds (est.)




Continue reading...

The 2.2 Million Dollar Super Snake
Find out what made the Super Snake so valuable.

Why Ford is Keeping the Mustang Brand
Ford is keeping the Mustang brand. How did Ford come to this decision and where does the brand go from here?