The 2020 Ford Mustang Shelby GT500 is a towering achievement for Ford's engineers: Page 4 of 5

Ford's fastest-ever Mustang shows the value in carefully tuning even the best parts to get the most from them.
Image source: Ford Motor Co.

To bring all this velocity to a halt, Brembo supplied monstrous six-piston front calipers that have 20 percent more swept area than even the huge Brembos on the GT350. With the enlarged 420mm (16.53-inch) rotors, the GT500’s front brakes possess 30 percent more thermal mass than the GT350’s capable front brakes. The rear brakes feature an interesting production application for 3D printing: an unglamorous bracket for the wire running to the car’s electric parking caliper.

With stopping thoroughly sorted, Ford turned its attention to making a car this big and heavy handle like a sports car. Incredibly, they achieved that goal. A primary contributor to that achievement is a magnificent magnesium front strut tower brace that reinforces the front suspension’s stability despite the enormous forces at work.

Image source: Ford Motor Co.

Designing and casting the magnesium brace took the expected amount of effort, and was straightforward, Krenz reported. What was unexpected was the subsequent interaction between the magnesium brace and the steel strut towers to which it is bolted. The dissimilar metals caused corrosion to erupt in test cars, and not just in wet rainy climates. Just regular summer humidity was enough to cause corrosion. The Ford team found a solution with coated washers that isolate the two metals from one another, Krenz said.

The cornering force that is trying to twist the GT500’s body out of shape and is being resisted by that brace is generated through the car’s 20 x 11-inch wheels wrapped in 305/30R20 front and 315/30R20 rear Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 tires for maximum grip. The BWI Magnaride actively adjustable dampers and larger 36mm front and rear anti-roll bars help preserve an even keel when cornering or braking, without the pitch and roll exhibited by the previous edition or the various Challenger models.

Just as the braking is stable and confidence inspiring at the very limit, so the steering is remarkable precise, letting the driver place the car exactly where it should be, and with the stunning grip of the Michelins, allows the GT500 to carry unexpected speed into corners and maintain its composure.

Engineers attribute a portion of this precision to the carbon fiber wheels of the carbon option package. When wheels get as large as these 20-inchers, there is a substantial amount of deflection at the rim under hard cornering loads which contributes to vague steering response in most such cars. The added stiffness of the carbon fiber wheels is their primary advantage over the forged aluminum wheels on the base car rather than the reduced unsprung mass and rotational inertia, which are commonly cited as the benefits of such costly wheels.

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