Ford engineers are out testing the next step in performance for the sixth-generation Mustang: the Shelby GT500.
The new model will fill the void left by the previous generation’s Shelby GT500 and is confirmed for sale in 2019, likely as a 2020 model.
Ford has already given us our first look at the vehicle by way of a teaser. The teaser reveals a more aggressive face than on the Shelby GT350R, including larger intakes in the front fascia and a nice power bulge on the hood.
From our spy shots, it looks like the front track has been widened slightly. The prototype is also wearing massive Michelin Pilot Sport Cup tires and features beefy Brembos with cross-drilled rotors. The rear is similar to the design of the Shelby GT350R but a larger wing is mounted to the trunk lid in some of the shots and a new diffuser has been added.
What’s lurking beneath the hood is a supercharged version of the 5.2-liter V-8 in the Shelby GT350 and Shelby GT350R. The supercharged engine is expected to feature a conventional cross-plane crank instead of the atmo engine’s flat-plane unit, and no doubt there will be upgrades to other internals to handle extra grunt; we’re hearing something close to 800 horsepower (the last Shelby GT500 had 662 hp) is possible. Leaked CAD images indicate a cool cobra snake logo will feature on the supercharger housing.
We’ve also heard that the new Mustang top dog will be fitted with the 10-speed automatic Ford developed with General Motors. GM has already fitted it to the Chevy ZL1 1LE and boasts that the unit is quicker than the best dual-clutch transmissions, including Porsche’s PDK. An alternative could be the 7-speed dual-clutch unit fitted to Ford’s GT supercar. We hope a 6-speed manual is also offered.
There will be loads of carbon fiber parts for the car, too. Items we know are coming are a carbon fiber rear wing, carbon fiber wheels, and carbon-ceramic brake rotors (perhaps as an option). We can also see an interesting design for the side skirts in the latest shots. These could also be made from carbon fiber.
Key competition include the aforementioned Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 1LE, as well as the Dodge Challenger SRT Demon. The rival models deliver 650 and 808 hp (840 hp with race fuel), respectively.
Ford has indicated that the Shelby GT500 will more closely target the Demon than the ZL1 1LE. It will still be able to attack a corner, but for the Mustang buyer looking to hone their track skills the GT350R will probably remain the better buy.