5.0 Mustang & Super Fords
2007 Ford Mustang Shelby GT500 Convertible Castrol Syntec Top Car Challenge
Carlos Cortez's VTS-Blown Shelby Is Our Top Car For The Challenge
We meet hundreds of hard-core Mustang enthusiasts at the race and show events we attend each year. During these encounters-especially once we've looked at someone's 'Stang and listened to its owner detail every modification that's been done-said owner eventually summons up the nerve to ask us how can he or she get their car in the magazine? The truly brash go right for "How do I get my car on the cover?"
Of course, our usual recommendation is for you to email a few clean, well-shot photos (email@example.com), along with a descriptive write-up about your pride-and-joy and the experiences you've had with it. Our editors peruse this mailbox on a regular basis, and some of the Fox, SN-95/New Edge, and S197 'Stangs appear in the Showcase, while others go on to grace the pages of our mag in full-on feature stories.
Another sure-fire way for you and your 'Stang to make it into 5.0&SF is by entering the Castrol Syntec Top Car Challenge (www.SyntecTopCarChallenge.com), for a chance to be selected as our mag's representative in the performance/endurance showdown for enthusiast-owned, street-driven imported and domestic vehicles. While flying the magazine's colors in the challenge is an honor in its own right, being chosen also earns a lucky 'Stangbanger a full feature, as seen here. Carlos Cortez of Simi Valley, California, knows all about the honor, status, and responsibility that goes with being our top star, as he and his '07 Shelby GT500 are the enthusiast/Mustang duo that we've invited to the party.
"Thus far, the experience feels like being in a fraternity, or selected into the Hall of Fame," says Carlos. "Everybody wants to get their car in 5.0&SF, but it seems so hard for it to happen because there are so many other badass 'Stangs out there that deserve coverage," Carlos says. "I know how lucky I am to be in this position, and while I appreciate getting my car in the magazine, I really want to do well in the Castrol Syntec Top Car Challenge, and do 5.0&SF and the entire 'Stang Nation proud."
While the Pony you're looking at is largely "stock" at face value, a massive, twin-screw Lysholm supercharger-and the horsepower it makes-are two of the GT500's not-so-subtle qualities that we believe will make Carlos' ride a true contender among the BMW M3, Acura NSX, Toyota Supra, and Honda S2000 that also are entered in the challenge.
The supercharger system that sits atop the otherwise stock 5.4 actually is the first Lysholm twin-screw blower kit produced for '07-'10 GT500s. That's right, the kit is Numero Uno, as every piece of hardware associated with it was mocked-up, fabricated, and then final-fitted on Carlos' ride over the course of one year. "We dropped the car off at Vortech in January of 2009 and picked it up one year to the day in 2010," says Carlos.
"I got the car and looked forward to running wild with it. I used to road-race Porsches years ago, and I figured the Shelby would be a cool car to run hard through canyons near my house. I only had it for a few months when I was asked if my car could be used to design the twin-screw. It was kind of weird paying a note every month for a car I didn't even have, but the wait proved to be well worth it," says Carlos.
"When the factory supercharger was still on the engine, my car made just over 500 hp at the rear wheels with an aftermarket blower pulley, an Afco heat exchanger, and an after-cat exhaust I had installed shortly after I got the car," Carlos says. "Now, with the blower and long-tubes from American Racing Headers (and complete 3-inch exhaust) in place, 700-plus horsepower at the tires comes quickly and the car is an animal to drive."
"Even though we keep power dialed-back below 650 hp for cruising on 91-octane fuel, you can bet the big tune-up will be uploaded for the Castrol Syntec Top Car Challenge." Thinking a little insurance will be good to have when the wick is turned up, a Centerforce twin-disc clutch and a one-piece, aluminum driveshaft are slated as replacements for the OEM parts and will be in place in time for the challenge.
As we learned last year, a big-time dyno shot carries a lot of weight among the competitors, mag editors, and spectators, and horsepower data is really important when numbers are being crunched to determine the event's overall champion.
However, despite having impressive steam, it's not the only thing that comprises a competitive top car, either. A properly dialed-in chassis and suspension, and grip are just as important. The driving segments of the event are ultra-competitive, so Carlos isn't leaving room for error in that area.
Lowered for looks initially, the Shelby GT500 currently sits on coilovers, factory wheels, and stock 18-inch rubber at all corners. This gear will be replaced with Maximum Motorsports and Eibach hardware come challenge time, and super-sticky Falken tires will be added last, to ensure the 'Stang stays glued to Buttonwillow Raceway when it's being thrashed by Carlos, your tech editor, and our resident road-course expert, Tom Wilson, in speed, braking, and handling tests.
Enjoy the photos and captions of Carlos Cortez's beautiful, black rag-top Stallion, and join us in congratulating and welcoming him into the elite society of Mustang enthusiasts and their rides who are featured in our magazine.
'07 Shelby GT500
5.0 Tech Specs
Engine and Drivetrain
Bore 3.552 in
Stroke 4.165 in
Displacement 330 ci
Crankshaft Forged steel
Rods Cracked forged-steel I-beams
Pistons Forged aluminum
Compression Ratio 8.4:1
Heads DOHC Four-Valve aluminum
Intake Cast-aluminum with air-to-water intercooler
Throttle Body Vortech single-blade, 13.694 sq/in
Mass Air Vortech 110mm
Power Adder Lysholm VTS w/4.0 pulley
Fuel Pump Stock
Headers American Racing Headers
Exhaust American Racing Headers
Engine Management Stock Spanish Oak w/SCT tune
Chassis and Suspension
Control arms Stock
Control arms Stock