The Ford Mustang Shelby GT500 is the most powerful Mustang from the factory ever. It has a supercharged 5.4-litre DOHC V-8 engine that produces 500 horsepower (373kw) and 480 pounds-feet (651nm) of torque. The cast-iron block four-valve engine is force-fed a mixture of air and fuel via a roots-type supercharger at 8.5 pounds per square inch of boost. This engine was first put into service in the limited-edition 2000 SVT Mustang Cobra R, a car that Car and Driver magazine ran from 0 to 60 mph in 4.7 seconds and from 0 to 400m in 11 seconds, and that was without a supercharger.
The 2009 Mustang GT500 options include HID headlamps and Interior Ambient Lighting Package, with lights fitted in the front console, footwells and cup holders. The driver or front passenger can choose from a 'rainbow' of seven colours - red, orange, blue, indigo, violet, green and yellow.
The ShelbyGT500's supercharged V-8 uses a T-56 six-speed manual gearbox. The evenly spaced gears mean less stirring is needed to find the "sweet spot" in keeping the revs "on cam" for power to pass, while at the same time making the most of the engine's broad torque curve.
Visually, the Ford Shelby GT500 concept has Le Mans-style stripes race along the top from nose to tail. GT500 nomenclature is prominent in the lower bodyside racing stripe. The Ford Shelby GT500 concept also has unique front and rear fascias, a heat-extracting hood, and Shelby and SVT badging.
SVT engineers retuned and upgraded key chassis components based on experience gained through the Ford Racing Mustang FR500C program. Improvements include revised shocks, spring rates and upgraded stabilizer bars. The GT500 also features a MacPherson strut independent front suspension with "Reverse L" lower control arms, and a solid-axle, three-link rear suspension with coil springs and a Panhard rod for precise control of the rear axle.
"SVT and Ford Racing will be working closer than ever as we go forward on future projects, especially Mustangs," said Thai-Tang. "The Mustang FR500C racing program is an exact demonstration of the capability we engineered into the mainstream Mustang to be capable of. The Mustang FR500C and Shelby GT500 both showcase Mustang's performance possibilities.
"For the first time on any SVT Mustang, the Shelby GT500's front grille has an off-center snake in place of the standard running horse. "GT500" is emblazoned inside the side rocker stripes, and the name "SHELBY" is prominently featured across the rear deck. The SVT logo is on the wheel center caps, a signature SVT location, as well as on the doorsill plates. To top if off, the gas cap medallion between the taillights reads "Shelby GT500" centered on the Cobra image.
The Shelby GT500's interior is wrapped in ebony black leather, including the top of the dash, door panels and center arm rest. The shift lever, shift boot and parking-brake handle are also covered in leather. SVT Red leather-trimmed seats and door panel inserts provide a marked contrast to the rest of the leather-trimmed cabin. Snake logos embroidered into the seat backs finish the package.
The Shelby GT500 can now be transformed into a fire breathing “Super Snake”. Shelby GT500s can have this package applied, and only a limited number of Super Snakes will be built per model year.
“The Ford Mustang Shelby GT500 is fast, but hard core enthusiasts asked us for a way make their Shelby a more aggressive, balanced performing track car,” said Carroll Shelby, founder of Shelby Automobiles. “Thanks to our partnership with Ford Racing, our Super Snake package will make their stock Shelby GT500 one of the most balanced, fastest, most fearsome muscle cars in the world. I’m going to hunt Vipers and Corvettes with mine”
Working together at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway and in Dearborn, Ford Racing and Team Shelby developed the aggressive suspension and engine package specifically for the car. Tuning options range from a warranted 600hp (447kw) to over 725hp (541kw). Each car modified at the Las Vegas Shelby Automobiles facility will be documented and receive a special serial number.
“Mustang enthusiasts are demanding more from both Ford Racing and Shelby Autos” said Jamie Allison, Manager of Ford Racing Performance Group. “The GT500 Super Snake package, with its higher horsepower levels and balanced track-inspired tuning, satisfies those demands and then some … in a uniquely Ford – Shelby way.