The 2020 Ford Mustang Shelby GT500 is a towering achievement for Ford's engineers

Ford's fastest-ever Mustang shows the value in carefully tuning even the best parts to get the most from them.
The 2020 Ford Mustang Shelby GT500 poses with its 1968 Shelby GT500 forebear. (Image source: Ford Motor Co.)

“It was a lot of blood, sweat and tears from the team,” for the new 2020 Ford Mustang Shelby GT500 to achieve its astonishing levels of power, performance and capability, stated chief program engineer Ed Krenz.

The 760-horsepower, 625-lb.-ft. supercharged 5.2-liter double overhead cam V8 engine transfers power seamlessly through a 7-speed Tremec TR-9070 dual-clutch transmission to accelerate the car to 60 mph in 3.3 seconds and through the quarter mile in 10.7 seconds. Our own test runs at the LVMS drag strip testing the Shelby’s impressive launch control system produced a pair of 11.4-second runs, so we didn’t spend any more time in pursuit of a few more tenths of a second.

The car boasts an incredible list of top-drawer components, because nothing less would have a chance to produce these results. Those impeccable parts contribute to the car’s astonishing performance numbers. But more important is the integration of those parts into a functional whole that is easy to drive fast thanks to the aforementioned engineers’ blood, sweat and tears.

This is in contrast to similarly powerful ground pounders, most especially the previous-generation 667-hp GT500 and the famously powerful 707-hp Dodge Challenger Hellcat and its 797-horsepower Redeye and 808-hp Demon iterations.

Those are cars that boasted impressive power, but struggled to make use of their muscle. Ford cast the 2014 GT500 as a drag racer, taking journalists to a drag strip to test its mettle but avoiding road racing courses.

Dodge might have followed the example, because while the different versions of the Challenger are all amazingly fast at the strip – the Demon famously finished the quarter mile in less than 10 seconds, earning it a letter banning it from NHRA-sanctioned races for being too fast for a car without a protective roll cage – none of them stop or turn in a way that inspires any kind of confidence. 

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