2020 Shelby GT500: The Predator
We’ve been teased for over a year by Ford on the details of their latest GT500 model. There’s been speculation by everyone from Joe Schmo to the leading authorities on Ford performance in the market but NOW, we know more than ever… including the horsepower numbers #bazinga!
Ford has put some serious time, money & brainpower into this car. Here’s what they have to say:
“[This car will be the] quickest accelerating, most aerodynamic production Mustang ever—and we did that by having our Ford Performance designers and powertrain and aerodynamics engineers function as a virtual racing team to test hundreds of designs, both digitally and physically, by way of computers and 3D printing.”
That sounds like a fun project to be working on.
We recently sat down with Billy Johnson, pro race car driver for Ford Performance, who helped the engineering team with R&D input on the 2020 Shelby GT500. He's had his hands on and driven the car many times and can attest to it's awesome performance, stating "That car should not be able to do what it does." Check out the video below:
The 2020 Shelby GT500 will be powered by a, aluminum alloy 5.2L cross-plane crank V8 engine and will be accompanied by an inverted 2.65L TVS supercharger on top. While the 5.0L is called the Coyote and the GT350’s 5.2L flat plane setup is called the Voodoo, this new cross breed is dubbed with a seemingly fitting moniker of The Predator. We dig it.
Ford released the numbers on this beast and they are *drum roll* 760 hp and 625 lb-ft torque. In comparison, that’s a smidge more than Chevy’s iconic Corvette ZR1 (755hp) and over 100hp more than their famed Camaro ZL1. It didn’t quite meet Dodge’s Redeye power of 797hp, but we aren’t too worried about that. We’re still super impressed.
Once the car is out, we can only imagine the numbers the car will make with just a simple pulley swap with bolt ons and a good tune (that’s where The Tune Shop will come in, wink wink).
The compression ratio is rated at 9.5:1 which is lower than the N/A models out from Ford but this is a boosted application and the CR serves it well. They also list the redline at 7500rpm and claim the quarter mile time to be under 11 seconds, but no official number yet.
This 760hp powerplant will be mated up to perhaps the most controversial detail about the car: the Tremec 7-speed dual clutch automatic transmission aka THE KNOB! Enthusiasts are heated over the fact that the new GT500 will not be available in a manual configuration (as of now, at least). While we’ve always loved our stick shift cars here at Lethal, our 2018 Mustang GT, Project Goldmember, has the new 10r80 automatic transmission and we have to say the auto life really isn’t so bad (especially for going down the track). We’re stoked to see how the DCT transmission performs and holds up to the abuse that these cars will surely endure. This is the first car to get the Tremec DCT but we see it becoming a VERY popular option in the future (Chevrolet's C8 Corvette was just unveiled with an 8-speed Tremec DCT, for example).
When talking with Billy Johnson, race car driver & vehicle tester for Ford, he said that "in terms of shift logic...it is definitely better than PDK*." With PDK, it is "faster to shift manually" but with the Tremec DCT the shifts are "within .1-.2 seconds." That's faster than most will shift themselves, let's be honest. He went on to say that "they are not automatic transmissions, they are unique... they are really, really fast" and added that "pretty much all professional race cars are using paddle shift transmissions." Another advantage? Not having to take your hands off of the wheel to shift gives you more focus & attention on actually driving the car.
Behind the DCT trans will be a composite carbon fiber driveshaft, great for strength and weight savings.
*PDK is an acronym for Porsche Doppel Kupplungs getriebe (strictly, Porsche-Doppelkupplungsgetriebe), which translates to Porsche double-clutch transmission. As the name suggests, it's Porsche's version of a dual-clutch transmission (DCT) and fundamentally operates in the same way as other DCTs on the market today. - autoweek.com
The 2020 GT500 will come with the active Magneride suspension we are [mostly] familiar with.
Here's an infographic from BWI Group, the manufacturers of the MagneRide setup:
AERODYNAMICS & COOLING
What about the heat soak on this supercharged setup? Ford has built the new Shelby GT500 with SIX (yes, 6!) heat exchangers up front exposed to the cooler air that will help to cool not only the supercharger but also the engine oil cooler and transmission cooler. This cooling setup is said to extract up to 230KW of engine heat, which is equivalent to the amount of heat needed for 12 homes. Impressive. The "auxiliary engine radiator and dual thermostat system provide additional thermal capacity in high-demand driving situations," says Ford. PLUS, there's a heat exchanger in the rear to help cool & maintain the differential's temperature.
Top that off with the new aerodynamic styling of the GT500 and we’ve got a really cool setup (pun intended). The new GT500’s airflow is increased by 50% (FIFTY!) over the Shelby GT350, with openings twice as large. The front splitter, belly pan with reverse wing and optional side splitters all work to channel the airflow more efficiently. There are also brake ducts on each side to help draw up to 100KW of heat from the 16.5" rotors.
There’s also a new hood! The hood vent in the center is a whopping 6.2 square feet, the largest ever on a production Ford. It also comes with a removable rain tray (wonder how many of those end up on eBay…) and self-locating flush hood pins for an aggressive look & safety. We imagine all that air flowing under the hood warranted those pins.
Oh and if you get the Carbon Track Pack option (discussed further down), the front will have splitter wickers with integrated dive planes for an extra oomph of aero. Those splitters are paired with an adjustable carbon fiber GT4 track wing that gives 500lbs of downforce at 180mph (which just so happens to be the top speed in the new GT500, as set by a governor). Don't want to splurge on the Carbon Track Pack? Have no fear! An innovative new rear spoiler design will come standard on the base 2020 Shelby GT500 and is affectionally called “the swing” by Ford's aero team. This new spoiler is a hybrid between a spoiler and a wing, hence the name, and is a result of the advanced simulations and prototyping process that Ford used to design the new GT500. If you meet the packages halfway and get the Handling Package that comes with the Gurney flap installed, the swing works to deliver 379 pounds of rear downforce at 180 mph.
WHEELS & TIRES & BRAKES, OH MY
The 2020 Shelby GT500 will come equipped with 20” flow-formed gloss black wheels wrapped in Michelin Pilot Sport 4S tires. The car will have 305/30/20s up front and 315/30/20s in the rear. That’s some serious meats. There’s also the Carbon Track Pack available which upgrades the setup to 20” exposed carbon fiber wheels wrapped in Michelin Sport Cup 2 tires (we’ll go over that package in a bit).
In our interview with Billy Johnson, he was extremely enthusiastic on the difference that carbon fiber wheels made on the track. The carbon fiber wheels are not only stiffer but also lighter in all the right places. You could have a set of aluminum wheels with the same exact weight as the carbon fiber wheels but the aluminum set will still have more rotating mass because of where the weight sits. The carbon fiber wheels will carry their weight in the center, in the hub. The aluminum wheels carry weight in the barrel which increases the rotational mass, hurting the gyroscopic effect and steering response. In fact, Billy Johnson & Vaughn Gittin, Jr. (famed drifter/driver) both got to take the 2020 Shelby GT500 for a spin up the hill at the Goodwood Festival overseas. Gittin, who is used to throwing around a lightened & gutted drift car, thought that the GT500 was of the same weight because of the way he could toss it around the track. Billy explained that this is due to a few things, mainly the chassis & suspension tuning and the use of the carbon fiber wheels.
We opted for the Carbon Track Pack so we'll definitely be interested to perform a track test to see the difference between the carbon fiber and standard wheels.
For stopping power, the GT500 comes fitted with a nice brake package from Brembo. Up front there are 6-piston Brembo calipers mounted to 16.5” 2-piece ventilated rotors. In the rear are 4-piston Brembo calipers mounted to 14.5” 2-piece ventilated rotors. Stout!
When asked why Ford discontinued the use of slotted & drilled rotors for a solid setup, Billy Johnson explained that the solid rotors are just more durable. The drilled & slotted setups not only caused more wear on the brake pads but also were more prone to cracking. The brake pads made today are of much higher quality than previous generations and don't require the outgassing that older cars needed.
Ford is infamous for offering multiple packages based on performance, technology & more. The 2020 Shelby GT500 is no different. Here’s a few of the packages we know about:
- 12 speaker Bang & Olufsen sound system
- Voice activated touch screen with navigation
- Blind Spot Information System with cross-traffic alert
- 3-setting memory seats (available only with power seats)
- Heated mirrors with memory settings, integrated turn signals & Cobra puddle lamps
- Adjustable strut top mounts
- Spoiler with Gurney flap
Carbon Track Pack (droolworthy!)
- Adjustable strut top mounts
- 20” exposed carbon fiber wheels
- Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 tires
- Adjustable carbon fiber GT4 track wing
- Rear seat delete
- Splitter wickers with integrated dive planes
- Carbon fiber instrument panel
- Recaro leather trimmed seats with suede inserts
- Wheel lock kit
Here's the official order guide for packages on the 2020 Shelby GT500:
While the ordering guides & all of the available color combos haven’t been released, we have seen a few! Here’s the options so far:
Red Hot Metallic Tinted Clearcoat
Twister Orange Metallic Tinted Clearcoat
Here's the complete color option guide, including stripes:
We cannot WAIT to get our hands on one, and we’re definitely getting the Carbon Track Pack. Our friend Billy Johnson, driver for Ford Performance, has been helping Ford R&D this car and said that it is an absolute MONSTER on the track and is a blast to drive. Those are definitely words of encouragement since he gets to drive some of the most badass Fords in existence, including the Ford GT at the 24 Hours of Le Mans races.
There’s still more to be learned about the car (track times, curb weight, etc.) and we’re curious to see all the specs. What are the weight savings of the Carbon Track Pack? What’s the 1/4 mile time going to be? How heavy will the car be compared to the Mustang GT or the competitor Dodge models that the internet has deemed “boats”?
Oh and the more important thing… What is Whipple Superchargers going to have ready for this car?? Dustin Whipple has teased that the blower is already in testing and is bigger than the current Gen 5 3.0L (oh and this new bigger blower will be retro-fitted for older applications, too…).
In late 2017 we started to see glimpses of what was rumored to be a 2019 GT500 model. As the months have passed, we have confirmation of a 2020 Shelby GT500 being released at the North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) show in Detroit, Michigan on January 14, 2019.
Ford’s special vehicles have been a huge hit in the aftermarket world. They usually bring us the new technology, more horsepower and with all that, BIGGER PERFORMANCE. Which is what we’re all after, right? Right.
From Ford's mouth
In a Motor Trend article, Ford Performance Director Hermann Salenbauch gave us some insight into the new GT500.
“[The] GT500 for the first time will be very track-capable, but it’s also very straight-lined…It’s an exciting machine…
There’s a little more weight on the front of a GT500 with a supercharger, so you have to deal with it. But I have excellent vehicle dynamics engineers that worked on that. It handles extremely well. It’s not just a straight line car.
It will have more power than we ever had. We told you 700-plus, and it’s not 701 or 701; it’s plus and a bit more…”
"And a bit more" is promising! Could this be the best Mustang yet??
History shapes the future
While most people associate the GT500 name to the 2000-up models, it’s history is deeply rooted in the Ford annals.
In 1967, the first GT500 appeared. Carroll Shelby added the GT500 to the Mustang lineup, equipped with a "Ford Cobra" FE Series 428 cu in (7.0 L) V8 engine with two 600 CFM Holley four-barrel carburetors sitting atop a mid-rise aluminum intake manifold producing 355 bhp at 5400 rpm and 420 lb/ft at 3200 rpm of torque. One 1967 Fastback was updated as a GT500 equipped with a 427 GT40 racing engine producing 650 horsepower, and was known as the "Super Snake”. While the cars were badass, Ford only produced them for a few short years.
Then in 2007, riding high on their resto-reboot styling of the new S197, they released the 2007 Shelby GT500. Powered by a supercharged 5.4L, the Mustang community had a new “Terminator”. The car made 500hp, upping the Mustang game, but still had it’s faults. Reviews came in that the car was too heavy, too expensive, had better performance comparable vehicles, etc… But the Shelby carried the heritage & could easily be modified to make over 600hp which, for a street car, was a lot at the time.
Over the next few years changes were made to improve the car, including a whole Mustang body overhaul in 2010. The GT500 still remained popular.
Then came the 2013-14 model GT500 which, when released, was the highest horsepower production V8 with 662hp and the world was ecstatic. Records were broken left & right and the aftermarket Mustang community praised the car. We LOVED our 2013 GT500, aka Snow White, and even took it to win the 5.0 King of the Streets competition. The cars were an amazing platform. In an article from Motor Trend in 2012, they reviewed the 2013 GT500:
“Ford has improved its monster Mustang in every way possible… This truly is the most potent factory pony car the Blue Oval has ever produced. Savor it while you can because this is likely the last major change we will see to the GT500 before the next-generation Mustang debuts with an independent rear suspension. Will that car make 700 hp? If it's still wearing the Shelby name, you can bet the answer will be a resounding yes.”
Perhaps they should go into fortune-telling since they predicted that one just right! The 2020 model is shaping up to blow our beloved 2013-2014 GT500 out of the water.
2020: Year of the Predator
Cyclone. Trinity. Coyote. Voodoo… Those are cool and all but the 2020 GT500 engine has a name too: THE PREDATOR. And if the rumors & specs we’ve read are right, it will definitely live up to that name.
As we mentioned earlier, the 2020 GT500 is said to have 700+hp (720 to be exact if the supposedly leaked spec sheet is legit, shown later in this article) out of a 5.2L motor with a big blower sitting on top. This makes it a strong contender in the current American muscle market where the Dodge Challenger Hellcat makes 717hp and the Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 makes 650hp. While some models, like the Challenger Hellcat Redeye and the Demon still best it by a little less than 100hp , we know that is only 1 factor in who is the king on the street & strip.
Nobody can keep anything a secret on the internet
It used to be that you had to head to your local newsstands and grab the latest issue of Muscle Mustangs & Fast Fords, 5.0 Magazine, Motor Trend or the likes to find out the news bits, rumors & specs of the latest Mustang but now the internet is teaming with leaked info, spy shots & more. Out driving in Detroit? You can quickly catch a spy shot with your phone of the latest prototype driving around decked in zebra gear, post it online, and within minutes it’s shared across the globe. Kind of like these shots from when the first bits of the new GT500 were dribbling out:
Or perhaps you were invited to a confidential Ford Dealer meeting where the car was quietly shown to those in the loop and you decided to defy the “no phones” rule and snap a shot which was quickly shared on ever Instagram, Facebook and News Feed across the globe. It was a first look at the GT500 in its entirety and everyone’s interest was more than piqued.
Mustang6G.com has also been a great source of all things leaked about the GT500. They received what is rumored to be the spec sheet for the new GT500.
Let’s start with one of the most pointed-out parts of the sheet… the weight! If this spec sheet is right, the new 2020 GT500 will weigh in at a robust 4,225 lbs. Let’s put this into perspective: a 2018 Mustang GT Performance Pack weighs 3,850 lbs. So where is the additional 400lbs coming from?? That must be a big blower! It’s hard to believe that weight is right, but even if it is, it will still be lighter than the boat that is the Dodge Challenger Hellcat (sorry Mopar guys, that’s a big b*tch, weighing in at 4,448 lbs!) The previous generation GT500 (aka 13-14) had a roughly 240lb difference from the GT so perhaps it’s not too far off? Guess we’ll find out in January!
Instagram user @gt500predator also offers some awesome sneak peeks, one being a video of the elusive Predator making a run down the straightaway of a large race course. The car definitely screams.
Mustang6G/Brian Williams also dropped a sneak video of a GT500 out testing on the street... Even at a red light, the car sounds mean!
Recently, Ford also released a bit of tech info about the GT500, albeit a small leak in regards to the GT500 but a huge leap towards the advancement of car-building technology.
Ford announced that 2 of the pieces in the new GT500’s brake systems are made from 3D printing technology. While they are small pieces (one seems to just be a bracket to hold a hose; pictured above), this step forward in technology means much more fo future endeavors. Instead of needing to tool up aging molds (or discontinuing parts altogether after 10 years, a common Ford practice), Ford will be able to just 3D print & manufacturer replacement parts. 3d printed supercharger, anyone?
In another step towards uncovering the truth, this bit of info was spotted in the latest issue of Motor Trend...
The asterisked info wasn't shown and probably says something along the lines of "tentative info" but still interesting nonetheless! Perhaps the rumors of a 7-speed dual clutch auto are true... and 750 is surely more than 707hp.
Rumor Mill: Patents?!?!
Ford filed some patents that seem to directly correlate to some rumors we’ve heard about the 2020 GT500 (some patents which even mention supercharger clearance…). If these patents made it into production, the new Shelby is sure to be a seriously technology-packed monster.
Active Brake Ducts - Key word ‘active’! These ducts would vector airflow to different wheels for optimal cooling (Road racers, rejoice!)
Strut Tower Brace - OK maybe not fancy new tech BUT it states it’s made of Magnesium and also that it can be set back towards the cowl to accommodate a supercharger. #hinthint
Side splitters - Again, not new tech BUT a new design that is listed as a new and improved splitter assembly incorporating a dive plane feature for improving stability and peak cornering speed of a motor vehicle, which includes a first AND second side splitter piece.
Active hood vent system - More actives!! This patent details a hood vent system that can open & close via a control module, which is hooked up to a plethora of sensors. Smart.
Active aero underbody shield - Seen on the fanciest of cars, this underbody system would be configured to open during vehicle braking to reduce downforce and therefore provide better lift balance adjustment for the motor vehicle.