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Old 02-01-2012, 04:46 PM   #1
Car&Driver
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Info 2013 Ford Mustang Shelby GT500: How Ford Built the First 200-mph Pony Car


Who would have thought that with 50-mpg fuel-economy rules around the corner, Ford would be striving to push a version of the Mustang above 200 mph? It wasn’t long ago that such a top speed was strictly reserved for wedge-shaped exotica.

But 200 mph is exactly what SVT’s 650-hp 2013 Shelby GT500 aims to do. That it also neatly trumps the upcoming 580-hp Chevy Camaro ZL1—and even surpasses the 638-hp Corvette ZR1’s output—means there’s another battle mounting in the horsepower war.

Jamal Hameedi, Ford SVT’s chief engineer, says the one-upmanship is all innocent: “Our 2011 Mustang Boss 302 was so fast that it was nipping at the heels of our current GT500. We started looking for ways to maintain the GT500’s performance increment, and this model is the result.”

The new GT500 won’t go on sale until May, but we’ve uncovered the changes that produced this major performance leap.



With a 200-mph top speed as their goal, the SVT engineers altered the GT500’s gearing. They changed the final-drive ratio from 3.55:1 (or optional 3.73:1) to 3.31:1 to give the GT500 longer legs, and five of the six gearbox ratios are new. First gear goes from 2.97:1 to 2.66:1, which, combined with the differential change, reduces maximum rear-wheel torque by a couple of percent from the 2012 model’s, despite the engine’s 90-pound-foot bump. Hameedi explains, “We already had more first-gear torque than we needed, so this makes it easier to launch the car.”

Speaking of which, off-the-line performance is now aided by a launch-control *system. Engine rpm is adjustable from 2500 to 5500 to match the available traction. According to Hameedi, “Only a pro can beat it—and that’s on a perfect day.”

To transmit the extra output, the GT500’s dual-plate clutch has grown in diameter from 9.4 inches to 10.2, and the transmission feeds the power to the differential via a one-piece carbon-fiber driveshaft. This unit is stiff enough to resist vibration at 200 mph and also saves several pounds over the previous two-piece steel shaft.

During engineering tests at the Nardo track in Italy, this GT500 has already achieved 202 mph. The gearing changes and higher redline allow this Shelby to hit 60 mph in first gear and in no more than 3.7 seconds; we expect a quarter-mile time in the mid-11s.


Between 155 mph—the governed top speed of the current GT500—and the 200-mph max of the new model, aerodynamic forces rise by 115 percent. Enhancing stability was therefore critical, so the SVT engineers concentrated on the GT500’s front end. A new fascia and splitter produce about a third more downforce than the previous model had while maintaining good front-rear balance. Another aerodynamic goal was to increase airflow to the various coolers to dissipate the more powerful engine’s higher heat loads. But Ford was careful not to increase drag, lest the 200-mph target fall out of reach. In the end, the engineers balanced all of these tasks while slightly improving the GT500’s drag coefficient.


Keep Reading: In Depth: 2013 Ford Mustang Shelby GT500 – Feature


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