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Moderator Dude!
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My 2020 Shelby GT500 review!

At the end of the day, Jim Owens from Ford Performance asked what I though of the car. All I could summons was: “HOLY BALLS!” 😱

Here we go... I cannot believe this car is street legal, passes emissions and can be purchased! I have a garage full of Mustangs including a confidence-inspiring 2000 Cobra R and a seriously fast 750hp modified 2011 Shelby GT500. The 2020 Shelby GT500 isn’t on the same planet with the rest of my cars. Heck... it’s not even in the same solar system! Ford Performance set out to build the highest performance Mustang to date that not only will punish you with acceleration, but attempt to throw you out of the car with ludicrous braking as well as violent redirects in the turns! I came off the road course track and all I could say to myself was: “HOLY F - - - !!! This car is NUTS! I drove a carbon fiber track pack (CFTP) car on the Las Vegas Motor Speedway road course on a 70 degrees and sunny day. The Michelin Sport Cup 2 tires were built for the track and they were built well! They handled anything I threw at them with absolutely zero drama and 100% predictability. Whether catching the rumble strip or braking later than planned in a turn, the car simply pointed and went where commanded. Many maneuvers I did in the 2020 equipped with that wonderful independent rear suspension and fabulous magneride would have sent my 2011 GT500 with a solid rear axle off for a walk in the grass.

Another amazing attribute that must be mentioned... these cars were driven hard all day! Each of us got 3 laps in the car by ourselves with an instructor in the lead of each 4 car group. We mashed the gas and brake pedals all damn day! There was zero heat soak and zero brake fade. Even with the fuel tanks lower on gas, hard acceleration/braking/turning was not an issue. Previous gen cars would have seen heat soak, brake fade and fuel starvation issues. The 2020 GT500 handles the track with ease! This car can be run FLAT-OUT until you are out of gas and/or exhausted!

The 2020 is an amalgamation of purpose built parts and styling. This car is all business on the track... the business of kick’n ASS! The horsepower is fantastic! The selectable exhaust note is fantastic! The suspension is fantastic! The brakes are fantastic! The Recaro seats are fantastic! The digital dash is fantastic! Having said all of the above, the star of the “show” is none other than that magical DCT transmission! Son-of-a-GUN that thing is right in so many ways! There were many doubters/haters when the news of a paddle-shifting DCT-equipped Shelby started to circulate. My background is all manual Mustangs. I have 9 manual Stangs in my household. This was my first time ever driving a car with a DCT. I am here, with my right hand raised proclaiming that Ford and Tremec hit a walk-off homer with this new tech! I know the old school crowd clings to their 3rd petal and shift handle. Although I had an open mind coming into my day with the car, I thought I’d feel weird driving a Mustang without the classic setup. I can affirm that this car is absolutely astonishing and the DCT tranny is integral in making it so. Even if this car was available with a manual as an option, I can now attest that if you went with the manual, you’d be giving up so much of the performance and experience that IS the mighty 2020 Shelby GT500. This thing shifts fast and this thing shifts HARD when in track or drag mode. I equate the shifts to a crack of a whip... SNAP, SNAP SNAP!!! I was told that this new tranny has input from the steering wheel. If you want the hardest shifts, keep the steering wheel dead-set straight. Any deflection will soften the shifts to keep the rear tires firmly planted. I ran all 3 of my road course laps in manual paddle-shifting mode. It was an absolute BLAST! Both hands stayed in firm control of the steering wheel and I could keep total focus on my line as well as acceleration/braking zones. I then was taken for a hot lap by a driving school instructor. He left the tranny in auto-mode. He said paddle shifting is fun, but you cannot out shift auto-mode using the paddles. Operating the car in track mode with auto transmission mode puts all parameters dialed to “11!”

About the hot lap... HOLY HELL! That was the most violent thing I’ve ever been a part of in a vehicle by a LONG shot! The instructor took the car DEEP into the corners and then hit the brakes hard enough for me to test my seat belt! I’m surprised the 16.5” massive front rotors didn’t set off the airbags! The turns were wicked-crisp and he was mashing the go pedal before I though it to be safe... the car just went and went and WENT! HOLY HELL! That was better than any amusement ride! This car is street legal on street tires with a warranty? Surely this is a dream! My driver Jim said: “Don’t call me Shirley!”

After the road course, we hit the displays building and got a walking tour narrated by Jim Owens. This was well timed to get the heart rate down and blood pressure back in check. Jim walked through many of the R&D steps and reasons for various components on the car. It is truly amazing that the brake rotors on the 2020 GT500 are bigger than the actual wheels from the 1967 Shelby!

After the informative tour, we loaded in a bus bound for the drag strip. Official numbers time! The car does 0-60 in 3.3 seconds and runs the 1/4 mile in 10.7 at 134 mph. All this in stock form on street tires, with legal emissions and a warranty! We each got 2 runs on the drag strip with an instructor in the right seat. We were not given the opportunity to warm the tires with a line-lock burnout, but we did use “Drag Mode” and launch control. In “Drag Mode,” you get staged, press the brake with your left foot and press the gas to the floor with your right foot. Launch RPM was preset to 1500. Once the tree hits the 3 yellow lights, you release the brake and keep your right foot planted firmly to the floor! The car manages the torque based on traction to get you out of the hole. Once you are hooked-up, the shifts come hard as long as the steering wheel is straight. Turn the wheel a bit and the car’s magic will help keep you from getting bent out of shape. It was sunny, about 70 degrees and crazy windy in Vegas. The wind was blowing right down the track at over 30 mph in the face. Also of note, the air is thinner at this track as it sits about 2000’ above sea level. We were the last group to hit the drag track, so the morning’s launch area prep had decayed and it also had considerable rubber deposits. The timer was not in use, but I did check my mph each time I crossed the end and both of my runs matched at 126 mph. This was with 2 people in the car and AC on. The instructor did say the AC doesn’t make much of a difference.

A few thoughts in closing... my group had some GT350 owners. One said he races his car on road courses and said the 2020 GT500 is like the 350 on major steroids. It’s on a whole different level! The old saying: “Jack of all trades, master of none” simply has become obsolete with this beast. Whether at the road course or the drag track, this car simply dominates!

At the end of the day, I was inspired by the fact that Ford went all-in with this car. Some have claimed that the 60s/70s were the height of performance vehicles. It’s fun to take a nostalgic look back at the origins of these cars, but the machine that Ford Performance has produced for us enthusiasts can only be summed up as “Contained Violence!” The performance peak is NOW! Go get one!

193773


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193775


 

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Terrific write up, Tim.

Congratulations!
 

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#1 Mike!
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I'm sorry but we need more expletives!! This car sounds like something from the imagination of Carroll Shelby himself! I have no doubt that Ford has hit it out of the park concerning performance and just simply offering the best Mustang ever produced. I think the beauty of this iteration is that it does everything asked of it without fault. So many performance cars in the past did certain things well and other things not so well. From what Tim says, Ford has addressed those " not so well things" and given us a well rounded, all out performance car. Many folks who buy this car will never plumb the depths of it's abilities and that's probably a good thing as it sounds like only a professional driver can appreciate the full on capabilities of this car. Great write up, as usual, Tim. I can't wait to hear from Bossnine!! Personally, I don't know how Tim is going to survive the wait to put this car in his garage!!
 

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I'm sorry but we need more expletives!!
BWA-HA-HA-HA!

Tim, how was wheel spin on the Cup 2s on the drag strip? I know this engine is down on torque from our larger stroke engines at similar power levels, but curious how well it hooked up and stayed hooked up with the DCT.
 

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Moderator Dude!
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BWA-HA-HA-HA!

Tim, how was wheel spin on the Cup 2s on the drag strip? I know this engine is down on torque from our larger stroke engines at similar power levels, but curious how well it hooked up and stayed hooked up with the DCT.
Like I mention in the review, we were the last group to hit the drag track. They prepped the launch area in the morning, which had eroded by the time we got there. The launch area was also heavily covered in rubber from the day’s festivities. It was 70 degrees and we did not do a burnout to warm the tires. We were in DRAG mode, which has launch control. Up to the line... left foot holds down brake while right foot mashes gas pedal to the floor. The RPMs jump to the preset level, 1500 in my case. The sound is unique... bap/bap/bap/bap... when you release the brake, the computer feeds in power just ahead of the traction limits. There is tire spin off the line, but it is modulated/regulated. After a very short distance, the Michelin 4S tires were fully hooked and you could feel the power come on HARD! Then those glorious shifts... SNAP/SNAP/SNAP! No drama, no “up in smoke,” no side stepping, no missed shifts, just point and shoot! I got the exact same mph crossing the finish line on both runs: 126. That car is consistent and predictable.

So, that was the long answer to a short question. The Sport Cup 2s were used on the road course with the CFTP cars that have the extra downforce with the wing. The 4S tires were used on the base cars at the drag strip. There was wheel spin, but it was just the right amount.
 

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Sounds amazing. Thanks for the first hand details. 👍
 

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Awesome write up. Thanks!

Joe
 

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Wow Tim, what a bucket list moment. Great write up, I could feel the car while reading it.

So how did you get this opportunity of a life time?

I can't wait to get my GT350R on the track and feel some of this excitment.

Jim
 

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Moderator Dude!
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Wow Tim, what a bucket list moment. Great write up, I could feel the car while reading it.

So how did you get this opportunity of a life time?

I can't wait to get my GT350R on the track and feel some of this excitment.

Jim
Thanks Jim. As for how I got the opportunity. I asked the right guy, who put me in contact with the lady that was organizing it. I sent her my info and explained who I was. She replied back with “morning or afternoon?” I chose the afternoon so the temps would be higher.

I felt honored being a part of the 2020 GT500’s public debut. I was talking with some of the others there that day. There were some dealer reps and I also spoke with some GT350 owners. I didn’t find anyone else that already has a car ordered.

Thanks again to #fordperformance!
 

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Good review - thanks

126 is a far cry from 134mph. Tires and track prep shouldn't effect mph. Hopefully we actually see 134mph from the cars once they are delivered.
 

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Moderator Dude!
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Good review - thanks

126 is a far cry from 134mph. Tires and track prep shouldn't effect mph. Hopefully we actually see 134mph from the cars once they are delivered.
You might have missed it, but this track is at 2000’ above sea level, the prep had worn off and we had a stout headwind. Read the review I posted above your reply. That was done near sea level with a better prepped track. Tires and prep do affect mph. You’ve got to get hooked to get heading up to speed.
 

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You might have missed it, but this track is a 2000’ above sea level, the prep had worn off and we had a stout headwind. Read the review I posted above yours. That was done near sea level with a better prepped track. Tires and prep do affect mph. You’ve got to get hooked to get heading up to speed.
And you had an extra 200lbs +/- in the passenger seat than a solo drag driver would have!
 

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Good review - thanks

126 is a far cry from 134mph. Tires and track prep shouldn't effect mph. Hopefully we actually see 134mph from the cars once they are delivered.
2 passengers, 30mph headwind, and Vegas at 2,000 feet vs Florida at far less. Sounds about right. I think the lone driver setup and with a pro behind the wheel they were hitting 130 out in Vegas with a burnout and a better launch. There has been some footage released of the 10 second passes including those in Florida. Just watch your ear drums when it cuts to the "Stock" footage from Ford, guy didn't lower the volume.

 

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Thanks for pointing me in the right direction and for the review; congrats again on the opportunity. I was curious to hear what you'd say about the tranny; sounds like they nailed it.
 
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