G-forces. A few of us like them. The acceleration and loops of a rollercoaster, the banking and turbulence of an airplane, or taking to the street course and dragstrip at Sonoma Raceway within the new Ford Shelby Mustang GT500. They’ll flip your abdomen, pucker your bottom – or tickle your fancy.
In my case, I used to be tickled to no finish. The GT500, versatile sufficient to get groceries or tear up the observe, was fairly thrilling over two days in wine nation. Ford invited a number of media and membership members, in addition to some sellers, to return expertise the automobile over a three-day interval. However fortunate me, I acquired to spend the “set-up day,” earlier than the crowds got here, shaking down the Shelbys with the instructors.
For sure, I acquired to really feel some real g-forces with my fingers on the wheel. Particularly, in Monitor Pack trim… Lighter than the run-of-the-mill Mustang GTs, at 4,200 kilos, with 20-inch carbon-fiber wheels; gigantic six piston, vented Brembo brakes; sticky Michelin Pilot Cup Sport 2 tires; an intuitive and super-fast dual-clutch 7-speed Tremec transmission; and most of all, 760 ponies making insane energy from a 5.2L Supercharged Cross Aircraft Crank V8.
Plus, it’s merely such a beautiful automobile, lovely in and out. The GT500 is muscular, flared and bulging in all the appropriate locations. The added trim, together with rear damper and entrance splitter, spotlight the look whereas including real helpful aero to the automobile. There was a wide range of colours and stripes amongst the 20-plus vehicles on the demo. You recognize that feeling like being a child in a sweet retailer?
For many people who’ve been round motorsports for extra years than we prefer to admit, Sonoma Raceway will all the time be “Sears Level.” Named initially for the land the place the observe sits, 30 miles north of San Francisco, it has performed host to many top-tier racing collection since its building in 1968, such because the Can-Am, Formulation 5000 and Trans-Am collection, and is now a preferred cease for IndyCar, NASCAR and the NHRA.
The very first thing we did was go over to the drag strip, residence of the NHRA Sonoma Nationals. We definitely weren’t going to make a cross ala John Pressure, however we have been going to get a really feel for the launch management and the brute horsepower that the GT500 lays down. It didn’t disappoint.
Occasions within the low 10s – from the showroom flooring – are fairly darned spectacular. My cross (which didn’t have the Christmas tree applied) was roughly 12 seconds at 130 mph – effortlessly.
On this hurried quarter-mile run, the automobile actually did do all of the work. All I needed to do was put the automobile in dragstrip mode, have interaction launch management (set to kick at 1,600 rpm), put my left foot on the brake, bury the throttle with my proper, launch the brake and dangle on. The twin-clutch Tremec seven-speed shifted on the best factors (chirping the Michelins by means of two gear adjustments) and the driving force aids saved the automobile comparatively straight.
The three.6 seconds to 60 mph with a strong energy band all the best way to 130 on the end was sort of like taking off on the Xelerator rollercoaster at Knott’s Berry Farm.
Then it was time to hit the street circuit, successfully extra my wheelhouse than the strip. We ran a modified model of the Sears Level circuit, which eradicated the carousel and ran us down the “chute” between turns Four and seven, the place we rejoined the circuit. For sure, 160 toes of elevation change, the excessive pace run up the entrance straight by means of turns 1 and a pair of and the zig-zag by means of 8-9-10 with tight hairpin at 11 gave loads of nice impressions of the Shelby’s race-worthiness.
As soon as once more, the Tremec seven-speed shifted quicker than I might suppose. As a traditionalist, I like manuals, double clutching and heel-toe shifting, however setting the automobile to trace mode made for a lot much less effort. There are paddles on the wheel, however for many, they may very well be thought of decorative. The massive brakes allowed for heavy, steady, late-braking, whereas the trans put the automobile within the excellent gear every time for momentum.
Placing the ability down was a thrill for certain. On the second day, which had us on a moist observe, popping out of the hairpin in direction of flip 12 and the entrance straight, I braked a bit of later and accelerated earlier. The automobile snapped a bit from the oversteer, which was shortly caught by the driving force – or was it these driver aids once more?
The steering does really feel a bit of gentle. The most important shortcoming, which frankly wasn’t that massive a deal, was suggestions from the wheel. There was sufficient, however between my butt within the seat and my fingers on the wheel, I used to be left wanting – barely.
The dealing with was pure magic, thanks partly to magnetorheological dampers. These shocks are magnetic fluid-filled and managed by an electromagnet that varies strain signaled by sensors on the automobile. It’s nearly like having the banned energetic suspension from a Williams FW14B Formulation One automobile. Contemplating the automobile nonetheless weighs in at 4,200 kilos, and with the massive horsepower, the steadiness got here off as stellar – suppose Porsche – because the automobile turned-in, apexed and exited the corners with lovely stability. Physique roll was minimal, with out feeling too stiff.
The extent of consolation, driving place and assist offered by the OEM Recaro seat was excellent. A pair weeks in the past as I drove the Original Venice Crew’s 1966 GT350R and commented that I had quite a lot of respect for the fellows that drove them in 250-500 mile races, the GT500 in my fingers on today was a literal 54-year leap into the long run. My mom might do a 500-mile race on this automobile and possibly not break a sweat. Think about what Ken Miles might have finished with such a beast…
To the parents at Ford and Shelby: Pat yourselves on the again. You’ve simply constructed the final word Pony Automobile.
2020 Ford Mustang Shelby GT500
VEHICLE TYPE: front-engine, rear-wheel-drive, 2- or 4-passenger, 2-door coupe
BASE PRICE: $73,995
PRICE AS TESTED: $93,970
ENGINE: 315 cu in, 5163 cc, supercharged and intercooled DOHC 32-valve V-8, aluminum block and heads, port gasoline injection
POWER: 760 hp @ 7300 rpm
TORQUE: 625 lb-ft @ 5000 rpm
TRANSMISSION: 7-speed dual-clutch computerized
DIMENSIONS: Wheelbase: 107.1 in/Size: 189.5 in/Width: 76.6 in/Peak: 53.7–54.three in
FUEL ECONOMY: Mixed/metropolis/freeway: 14/12/18 mpg
Ultimate Meeting: Flat Rock, Michigan, USA